Sunday, 28 August 2011


Joseph Kosuth, Neon, 1965
It is the centenary of neon, more or less, as I have learned from a feature by Peter Conrad in the Observer. Neon was discovered in 1898, but it was 1910 when Georges Claude demonstrated a  commercial application for neon lighting, which he patented in 1911 - hence the cetenary.
Below is a selection of examples of both commercial and fine art neon.
Piccadilly Circus (1950s?) Photograph: Rex Features
David Noble, Night Scene, Butlin's Skegness John Hinde Ltd (1960s?)
Bruce Nauman, The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths, 1967
'Nathan's Famous' photographed by Kirsten Hively - see her Project Neon and Flickr site

Michael Craig-Martin, installation on Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2006

Ian Hamilton Finlay, Ici On Danse, 1996
Mark Kelly, Nothing Is So Important That it Needs To Be Made In Six Foot Neon, 2009
Stephen Atonakos, Incomplete Neon Square,1977
Tracey Emin, Love is What You Want, 2011
Martin Creed, Work No.240, Fuck Off, 1999

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Hirst's Spots

Gagosian Gallery has announced that it will present “The Complete Spot Paintings 1986-2011” by Damien Hirst in January 2012. The exhibitions will take place simultaneously across each of Gagosian Gallery’s eleven locations in New York, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Rome, Athens, Geneva, and Hong Kong.
Hirst on Spots:
I had an argument with an assistant who used to paint my spots. A fantastic argument. Because it's, like, nothing comes out of my studio unless I say it comes out of the studio. You've got loads of people working. You've got people you care about that you've known for long periods of time. When she was leaving, and she was nervous, she said, 'Well, I want a spot painting. I've painted loads for you. I've painted these spot paintings for a year, and I want one'. A year in the studio, getting paid a fiver, a tenner an hour, whatever it is. So I said, 'I'll give you a cheque for seventy thousand quid if you like. Why don't I just do that? Because you know you're going to sell it straight away. You know how to do it. Just make one of your own.' And she said, 'No. I want one of yours.' But the only difference between one painted by her and one of mine is the money.
I only ever made five spot paintings myself. Personally. I can paint spots. But when I started painting the spots I knew exactly where it was going. I knew exactly what was going to happen, and I couldn't be fucking arsed doing it. And I employed people. And my spots I painted are shite. They're shit. I did them on the wrong background, there's the pin-holes [from the compass] in the middle of the spots which at the time I said I wanted, because I wanted a kind of truth to it. Under close scrutiny, you can see the pocess by which they were made. They're shit compared to... The best person who ever painted spots for me was Rachel [Howard]. She's brilliant. Absolutely fucking brilliant. The best spot painting you can have by me is one painted by Rachel.
Hirst, Damien and Burn, Gordon (2001) On The Way to Work, London: Faber and Faber: "Interview 4: Outbuilding, Combe Martin, Monday, 30.08.09", pp82 and 90.
Below are some examples of Hirst's Spot Paintings.
Damien Hirst, Spot Painting
Damien Hirst, Aurothioglucose, 2008
Damien Hirst, BNPS-Skatole, 1995
Damien Hirst, Spot Painting
Damien Hirst, Controlled Substances Key Painting (Spot 4a), 1994 (Tate Collection)

Monday, 8 August 2011

Contested Terrains: Tate Modern ( - 16 October, 2011)

Contested Terrains features 4 artists working in Africa: Kader Attia, Sammy Baloji, Michael MacGarry and Adolphus Opara. The exhibition is in the Level 2 Gallery until 16 October.
Below is a selection of their work.
Adolphus Opara, Orisa Egbe Deity of Destiny (Mrs Osun Yita) from 'Emissaries of an Iconic Religion',  2009
Adolphus Opara, Chief Aderemu Awogemi Akeke. (Read Opara's account of this picture in The Guardian)
Kader Attia, Open Your Eyes
Sammy Baloji, Untitled 25, Memoire, 2006
Michael MacGarry, [AK-47]

Richard Wentworth in Conversation

See video of Richard Wentworth, artist and head of the RCA's sculpture department, in conversation with FuelRCA's Sarah Douglas at Futurising 2010, talking about art practice, work/life balance and art as a 'career'.
There is more interesting material on creative professional practice on the FuelRCA web site

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

John Hoyland, 1934 - 2011

John Hoyland died on 31 July 2011. Read obituary by Mel Gooding.
Below is a selection of his work.
John Hoyland, April 1961, 1961
John Hoyland, 22.3.1969, 1969
John Hoyland, Untitled, 11.2.75, 1975
John Hoyland, Untitled, 28.3.74, 1974
John Hoyland, Saracen, 1977
John Hoyland, Celestial World,  2008