Saturday, 26 March 2011

Liz Taylor (1932 - 2011)

Elizabeth (Liz) Taylor died on 23rd March 2011. I am not sure that I have ever actually seen a Liz Taylor film! However, I do know her as the star of many Andy Warhol pictures. So, here, in memoriam, is a selection of those pictures.

From top: Silver Liz, 1963; Ten Lizes, 1963; Silver Liz with Blank, 1963; Liz, 1963.
See Elizabeth Taylor obituary and appreciation by David Thomson.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Prix Pictet - photography awards

Mitch Epstein, BP Carson Refinery, 2007
The winner of the third Prix Pictet photography award is Mitch Epstein and the recipient of the Prix Pictet Commission is Chris Jordan.
The competition is described on their website as follows: 
Launched in 2008 by the Geneva-based private bank Pictet & Cie, the Prix Pictet has rapidly established itself as the world’s leading prize in photography and sustainability. It has a unique mandate – to use the power of photography to communicate vital messages to a global audience. The goal is to uncover art of the highest order, applied to confront the pressing social and environmental challenges of the new millennium.
The theme of this year’s competition was Growth (the theme of the first was Water and the second, Earth.)
The award winners were selected from an impressive shortlist of twelve, namely: Christian Als, Edward Burtynsky, Stéphane Couturier, Mitch Epstein, Chris Jordan, Yeondoo Jung, Vera Lutter, Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo, Taryn Simon, Thomas Struth, Guy Tillim and Michael Wolf
Selected images from some of the shortlist appear below. (See the Prix Pictet website for more).
Edward Burtynsky, Breezewood, Pennsylvania, 2009

 Chris Jordan, Midway, CF000228, 2009

Vera Lutter, Holzmarktstrasse, Berlin, VIII: September 1, 2003

Nyaba Leon Ouedraogo, The Hell of Copper (L'Enfer du Cuivre), Accra, Ghana , 2008
Taryn Simon, Exploding Warhead, Test Area C-80C, Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 2007

Guy Tillim, Daison Luke and Faness Bisamoro. Petros Village, Malawi, 2006

Michael Wolf, aod [Architecture of Density] 116, Hong Kong, 2009

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Working Against the System - Gallery North

Working Against the System, at Gallery North in Newcastle upon Tyne offers a perspective on the current state of British abstract painting. The gallery publicity states that the exhibition draws together eight artists using and abusing the recognised practices in painting. The artists are: Jo Bruton, Debbie Bell, Noel Forster, Yvonne Hindle, Jenny Jennings, Paul Peden, Katie Pratt and DJ Simpson - examples of work by all these artist appear below.
The exhibition continues until 8th April with an Artist Symposium on Thursday 31 March.

Jo Bruton, Sheri Champagne and Gypsy Rose Lee, 2007

Debbie Bell, Midnight Dancer, 2009-10

Noel Forster,Untitled, 2006

Yvonne Hindle, The Sky Terrafied,2007

Jenny Jennings, Exotic, 2009

Paul Peden, Head On, nd

Katie Pratt, Sascheckewan, 2007

D. J. Simpson, Pulse All Over, 2008

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

"Horses, horses, horses..." - Summerfield Gallery

horses, horses, horses, horses
coming in in all directions
white shining silver studs with their nose in flames,
He saw horses, horses, horses, horses, horses, horses, horses, horses

Do you know how to pony like bony maroney...
(Patti Smith: "Land", from Horses, 1975)
Fine Form: The Horse in Art, Installation shot, Summerfield Gallery: foreground, Andrew Logan, Life, Birth and Death,2006-8; back, left, Elisabeth Frink, Horse and Rider (Robed), 1985; back, right, Mark Wallinger, Half-Brother (Exit to Nowhere - Machiavellian), 1994-5

Fine Form: The Horse in Art is an exhibition marking the centenary of the Cheltenham Festival (15th - 18th March): it will be in the Summerfield Gallery, Pittville Studios and the Centaur at Cheltenham Racecourse until 30th April. The exhibition draws on the collections of the Tate, the Arts Council and Cheltenham Art Gallery & Museum.

The glittery-winged forms of Andrew Logan's Pegasuses, Life, Birth and Death, dominate the installation in Summerfield Gallery (see above) but are in fine company, notably works by Mark Wallinger, Tania Kovats, Elisabeth Frink, William Tucker and Christopher Le Brun, amongst others.

Wallinger's Half-Brother (Exit to Nowhere - Machiavellian), 1994-5, is a life-size portrait of a horse comprised of separate forequarter and hindquarter, in explicit acknowledgement of the place of pedigree in the thoroughbred.
Mark Wallinger, Half-Brother (Exit to Nowhere - Machiavellian), 1994-5 (Tate Collection)
From the sublime to the ridiculous, Wallinger also shows A Real Work of Art, 1994, a tiny, diecast model of horse and rider, the jockey painted in the suffragette colours of green, violet and white in a reference to Emily Davison who threw herself under the King's horse at Epsom Derby in 1913.
Mark Wallinger, A Real Work of Art, 1994 (Arts Council Collection)
The work also refers to one of Wallinger's more ambitious and conceptual works wherein he bought (through a syndicate) a real racehorse which he named A Real Work of Art.

Tania Kovats became fascinated by the Uffington White Horse while undertaking a residency in Oxford in 2006: her collection, Museum of the White Horse is the result and comprises both a collection of objects (books, stamps, models, etc) and a sequence of pencil drawing of objects from the collection. (See also, appendix, below.)
Tania Kovats, Museum of the White Horse: from top, Small Finds (detail), White Horses by Jacky, 45 rpm single, 2007, Books from the Museum of the White Horse Library, Non-Fiction, 2007 (all, Arts Council Collection).

Finally, one of the most striking images in the show is a photograph by Tim Flach: Windows - Chestnut, 2008.

As it is not possible to read all the titles in the reproduction of Tania Kovats' drawing, Books from the Museum of the White Horse Library, Non-Fiction, 2007 (see above), and because I am an ex-librarian (see also, below) and a bibliographile(?), I have taken the liberty of compiling a bibliography for the drawing:
Tania Kovats: from the Museum of the White Horse Library, Non-Fiction, 2007, a bibliography. 
NB, while the authors and titles are accurate, the places and dates of publication may not necessarily match the actual editions drawn. Books are listed in the order that they appear in the drawing, left to right.

Miles, David et al (2004) Uffington White Horse and Its Landscape: Investigations at White Horse Hill Uffington, 1989-95 and Tower Hill Ashbury, 1993-4, (Thames Valley Landscape Monographs), Oxford: Oxford University School of Archaeology

Williams, Dorian (1975) Great Riding Schools of the World, London, Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Cahill, Marie (1991) The Owner’s Comprehensive Guide to Training & Showing Your Horse, London: Bison Publishing

Tippett, Frank (1975) The First Horsemen (the Emergence of Man), New York: Time-Life Books

Lock, Gary et al (2005) Segsbury Camp: Excavations in 1996 and 1997 at an Iron Age Hillfort on the Oxfordshire Ridgeway (Oxford University School of Archaeology Monograph), Oxford: Oxford University School of Archaeology

Gianoli, Luigi (1969) Horses and Horsemanship through the Ages, New York: Crown

Ingrams, Richard (1988) The Ridgeway: Europe’s Oldest Road, London: Phaidon

Coatsworth, Elisabeth (1973) The White Horse of Morocco, London: Blackie

Lady Wentworth (1958) The World’s Best Horse, London: Allen & Unwin

Dames, Michael (1978) The Silbury Treasure: The Great Goddess Rediscovered, London: Thames & Hudson

Jankovich, Miklos and Dent, Anthony (1971) They Rode into Europe, London: Harrap

Communicationes Archaeologicae Hungariae, (1982), Budapest

Appleton, J. H. (1975) The Experience of Landscape, London: Wiley-Blackwell

Vansittart, Peter (1985) Paths from a White Horse: A Writer’s Memoir, London: Quartet

Summerhays, R. S. (1975) Summerhays' Encyclopaedia for Horsemen, London: Frederick Warne

Laming, Annette (1959) Lascaux, London: Penguin

Hanbury-Tenison, Robin (1985) White Horses over France: From the Carmargue to Cornwall, London: Grafton

Burridge, Richard (2004) The Grey Horse: The True Story of Desert Orchid, London: Aurum Press

Summerhays, R. S. (1963) The Observer’s Book of Horses and Ponies, London: F. Warne


Hawkes, Jacquetta (1951) A Land, Cresset Press

Billington, Sandra and Green, Miranda eds. (1996) The Concept of the Goddess, London: Routledge

Coles, Alex ed. (2001) Archaeology: Mark Dion, London: Black Dog Publishing

Buchli, Victor and Lucas, Gavin (2001) Archaeologies of the Contemporary Past, London: Routledge

Arthus-Bertrand, Yann and Gourand, Jean-Louis (2007) Horses, London: Thames & Hudson

Deeping, George Warwick (1934) The Man on the White Horse, London: Cassell

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Exhibition Roundup - March 2011

An occasional, and highly selective, pick of current and forthcoming exhibitions.
George Shaw, Ash Wednesday: 8.30am, 2004-5 (see exhibition details, below)

I noted, in the February Roundup, a flurry of exhibitions which hark back to the 1970s: John Stezaker (Whitechapel Gallery until 18th March), Susan Hiller (Tate Britain until 15th May) and Anti-Photography (Focal Point Gallery, Southend, until 2nd April); now a further range of exhibitions: suggests that a full-scale reassessment of that period is under way:
Mary Kelly: Projects 1973 – 2010, at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester until 12th June, is the first major UK retrospective of an artist whose feminist practice has been hugely influential. Kelly is probably most famous for her extended study of the mother-child relationship, the Post-Partum Document (1973-79), but infamous for an exhibition of part of that project, at the ICA in London in 1976, which included her son’s soiled nappies.  The exhibition at the Whitworth includes examples of work from all stages of her career to date.

Mary Kelly, Post-Partum Document, Documentation VI, Pre-writing Alphabet, Exergue and Diary, 1978.


A major exhibition at the Barbican revisits the 1970s in New York: Laurie Anderson, Trisha Brown, Gordon Matta-Clark: Pioneers of the Downtown Scene, New York 1970s. Adrian Searle’s review in the Guardian gives something of the flavour of that period:

Back in the day, [Trisha] Brown had dancers performing on the flat roofs, fire-escape ladders and water towers of Manhattan. … [Laurie Anderson] photographed strangers who had assaulted her with sexual remarks in the street. … [Gordon] Matta-Clark… covered himself in shaving foam while roped to a huge clockface high above the Manhattan street... He devised dances in trees, imagined floating islands in the Hudson, and started slicing up buildings, excavating floors and hacking through walls in the Bronx.
Those were the days. The exhibition continues until 22nd May.
Trisha Brown, Woman Walking Down a Ladder, 1973

Completing the 1970s fest is the first major UK show of the politically engaged and sometimes angry work of the late Nancy Spero at the Serpentine until 2nd May. Read Laura Cumming's review.
Nancy Spero, Female Bomb, 1966

Just missing the 1970s is ‘… a multitude of soap bubbles which explode from time to time…’: Pino Pascali’s final works 1967-1968, at Camden Arts Centre until 1st May. The first UK show dedicated to this Italian artist associated with Arte Povera; Camden Art Centre will host an Arte Povera Symposium on March 12th.
Pino Piscali, Atrezzi Agricoli, 1968

The National Gallery is presenting a ‘complete re-examination’ of the work of the relatively little known Jan Gossaert (active 1503-1552) Gossaert (aka Jan Mabuse) is credited with transforming Flemish art by melding the technique of Jan van Eyck with Italian Renaissance conventions of the nude. Generally, this exhibition has received ecstatic reviews (eg Jonathan Jones, Richard Dorment), but Laura Cumming’s response in the Observer was distinctly cool. Jan Gossaert’s Renaissance is on until 30th May.
Jan Gossaert, Venus, c1521

Other big shows in London include Watercolour at Tate Britain, until 21st August, (see reviews by Laura Cumming and Adrian Searle) and British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet at the Hayward Gallery until 17th April (see below for reviews of its first showing in Nottingham).

Anthony McCall is showing Vertical Works an exhibition of his intriguing ‘solid-light’ installations, at Ambika P3 until 27th March. McCall has been commissioned to make work for the 2012 ‘Cultural Olympiad’: his proposal is for Column, sited in Liverpool, which should (on a calm clear day), comprise a spiralling column of mist rising to the height of a cruising jumbo jet and visible from 60 miles away!
Anthony McCall, installation, 2009

Two versions of the sublime are on show in Newcastle and Gateshead: John Martin: Heaven and Hell is at the Laing Art Gallery until 5th June. Martin (1789 – 1854) is probably best known for his giant, apocalyptic triptych of ‘Judgement’ paintings in Tate Britain. The Laing show is the first major examination of Martin for more than 30 years and brings together more than 80 paintings and prints and will travel to the Tate in September.
John Martin, The Great Day of his Wrath, 1851-3
Across the Tyne, in Gateshead, the Baltic is showing the work of George Shaw: The Sly and Unseen Day – a contemporary version of the sublime?. I first came across Shaw at Tate’s 2003 ‘triennial’: Days Like These, and was impressed by his atmospheric, photo-realist scenes of unprepossessing urban scenes – specifically the Tile Hill estate in Coventry – all painted in Humbrol enamels. The exhibition continues until 15th May.
George Shaw, Scenes from the Passion: Late 2002

Larry Clark’s Tulsa, published in 1971 opens with the following statement: i was born in tulsa oklahoma in 1943. when i was sixteen i started shooting amphetamine. i shot with my friends everyday for three years and then left town but i’ve gone back through the years. once the needle goes in it never comes out. L.C.  
Tulsa has been cited as one of the most influential photobooks of recent times, its autobiographical, intimate and seemingly authentic representation of drug addiction seen as groundbreaking. Clark went on to make Teenage Lust (1983) and A Perfect Childhood (1992), both controversial for their explicit representations of youthful sex, but achieved wider notoriety with his film Kids (1995). What do you do for fun? is a selection of vintage and new work at the Simon Lee Gallery until 2nd April. See feature by Ryan Gilbey.
Larry Clark, from Tulsa, 1971

Other current photography shows, include:
Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, culture 3, sheet 72, 2010
Sohei Nishino: The Diorama Map Series at Michael Hoppen Gallery until 2nd April. The making of the monumental Diorama Map of London, below, is described on the gallery website as follows: When photographing London, Nishino walked the entire city on foot for a month, wandering the streets and recording from every possible angle, from building tops to get an overview of the Gherkin, to shooting in step with the Queen’s Guard marching on the Mall. In total he used over 300 rolls of black and white film and took over 10,000 pictures.
In the following three months Nishino selected some 4,000 of these photographs, hand printed in his own dark room, which he then meticulously pieced together with scissors and glue in his Tokyo studio. The result was an aerial view of London, which was then reshot as a completed collage to produce a final image in photographic form.
Sohei Nishino, Diorama Map London, 2010
Slinkachu: Concrete Ocean is at Andipa Gallery until 2nd April. Slinkachu creates miniature installations in urban street which he photographs and then abandons.
Slinkachu, Chicken Tikka Disasta
The Format 11 photography festival in Derby (see also below) includes a host of exhibitions with an enormous range of international photographers represented. See the festival website for details. The event continues until 3rd April.

Finally, Construction & its Shadow is a display in the sculpture galleries of Leeds Art Gallery, curated by Andrew Bick. Andrew is a long time friend and associate of art and design at the University of Gloucestershire where he is currently a tutor on the MA Fine Art course. The display draws on the collections of Leeds Museums and Galleries and the Arts Council Collection and examines the Construction and Systems groups of British artists active in the1950s and 60s. It is an outcome of research Andrew undertook during a Henry Moore Institute Research Fellowship in 2008. The display will continue until 5th June; a symposium on Construction & its Shadow, co-hosted by the Henry Moore Institute, will take place on Wednesday 11th May 2011.
 Construction & its Shadow, installation shot

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

FORMAT 11: International Photography Festival - "Right Here, Right Now"

FORMAT 11 International Photography Festival in Derby will run from 4th March to 3rd April. The theme is Right Here, Right Now: Exposures from the Public Realm - that is, street photography, or photography in public places.
Alessandro Marchi
An exhibition, Right Here, Right Now in the Quad Gallery will survey contemporary street photography featuring more than 20 photographers, including, Brian Griffin, Joel Meyerowitz, Zhao Liang and Raghu Rai.
Take to the Streets - Magnum will be a large scale outdoor exhibition in Derby Marketplace featuring the work of 7 Magnum photographers: Constantine Manos, Richard Kalvar, Raymond Depardon, Chris Steele-Perkins, Bruno Barbey, Trent Parke and Alex Webb.
A number of exhibitions will be taking place at Derby Museum and Art Gallerty, including Bruce Gilden: Head On and Mehraneh Atashi: Tehran’s Self-Portraits. A little further afield, Raghu Rai: Invocation to India is showing at New Art Exchange, Nottingham until 20th April.
Mehraneh Atashi
Raghu Rai
Events include a conference on 4th March at Quad, which will address the topics: Beyond Street Photography and From the Decisive to the Indecisive. Speakers include Sophie Howarth, Nick Turpin, Michael Wolf (see also, below, and short video of him talking about his Google Street View work), Bruce Gilden, Geoff Dyer and others.
For full details of these events and many more go to the Format Festival website.
Bruce Gilden
See feature by Sean O'Hagan