In his wonderfully titled biography of Joe Orton, Prick Up Your Ears, John Lahr records the doomed playwright’s excursion into ‘literary vandalism’: in the early 1960s Orton and his partner (and murderer) Kenneth Halliwell would steal books from Islington Public Library, modify the covers and illustrations, add blurbs, and smuggle them back onto the library shelves: In a critical study of the poet, a pot-bellied old man tattooed from head to toe and clothed only in a skimpy swim-suit stood stiffly beside the name ‘John Betjeman’ (above). The first volume of Emlyn Williams’ collected plays had a curious repertoire of ‘Knickers Must Fall’, ‘Up the Front’, ‘Up the Back’… ‘He Was Born Grey’…’Fucked by Monty’… In Alec Clunes’ biography his face was replaced by a skull with a hole in the cranium (above). (Lahr, John (1980) Prick Up Your Ears: The Biography of Joe Orton, Harmondsworth: Penguin, p94)
Read an interview with the artist: Cindy Sherman: Me, Myself and I, by Simon Hattenstone.
Gabriel Orozco opens at Tate Modern on 19th January and runs until 25th April. Orozco’s most well known works demonstrate his playful and conceptual approach as well as the diversity of his practice: La DS (1993) is a Citroen DS which was sliced into 3, lengthwise, the central section removed and the remaining 2 parts joined together; Yielding Stone (1992) is a ball of plasticine which was rolled through city streets collecting debris and impressions; Black Kites (1997) is a human skull onto which Orozco has painstakingly drawn a pencilled grid; Breath on Piano (1993) is a photograph of a mist of breath on a polished surface. Read an interview with Orozco in Bomb Magazine; Adrian Searle’s review of Orozco’s 2004 Serpentine show, Peter Schjeldahl’s review of the MoMA showing which preceded the Tate show.
Read feature by James Hall, review by Adrian Searle, and see slide show of exhibits.