Sunday, 15 December 2013

Martin Sharp, 1942 - 2013

Martin Sharp, Mister Tambourine Man, 1967
Martin Sharp died on 1 December 2013.
Hearing of the death of Martin Sharp took me back to hairy, adolescent days, to what was undoubtedly a formative engagement with visual culture.  As a schoolboy ‘agent’ for selling posters (‘Big O’?), recruited from/suckered in by the ads at the back of New Musical Express I pored over the catalogue in which Sharp’s Dylan and Van Gogh posters stood out. But the one that made the deepest impression was his Max ‘The Birdman’ Ernst: this was certainly my first introduction to the work of Ernst – though it was some time before I twigged that the image was not actually the invention of Sharp but culled from Ernst’s brilliant 1933 collage novel Une Semaine de Bonté. Though my taste later turned more to Ernst than Sharp those early posters (and Cream album covers) made a deep impression.
Read obituaries by Marsha Rowe, Richard Neville (ce-editor of Oz, for which Sharp was art editor) and in The Telegraph.
Martin Sharp, Vincent, 1968
Martin Sharp, cover for Cream's Disraeli Gears, 1967
Martin Sharp, Jimi Hendrix, 1967
Martin Sharp, Max 'The Birdman' Ernst, 1967

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Pauline Boty - Pallant House Gallery

Pauline Boty, The Only Blonde In The World, 1963
Pauline Boty: Pop Artist and Woman is at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester until 9 February 2014.
Boty was one of the stars of British Pop Art - alongside Peter Blake, David Hockney, Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips and others. Her premature death, at 28 in 1966, and the chauvinism of art history mean that she is less well known than she should be. Hopefully this exhibition (first shown earlier this year at Wolverhampton Art Gallery) will help to remedy this.
Read an interesting spat about the show's title and its curatorial perspective between Fisun Güner and the exhibition curator Dr Sue Tate here. Read a review of the Wolverhampton showing by Alastair Sooke and an article by Robin Stummer.
Pauline Boty, 5-4-3-2-1, 1963
Pauline Boty, Colour Her Gone, 1962
Pauline Boty, Bum, 1966
Pauline Boty, Nude Woman ina Coastal Landscape (nd)
Pauline Boty, It's A Man's World II, 1965
Pauline Boty, Countdown to Violence, 1964
Pauline Boty in her studio in 1964 with her now lost painting Scandal '63

Photorealism - Birmingham Museum

John Salt, White Chevy - Red Trailer, 1975
Photorealism is at Birmingham Museum until 30 March 2014.
Guilty pleasures: I know that photorealism has been unfashionable pretty well from its origins in America in the late 1960s, that its artists tend to be unhealthily pre-occupied with a narrow range of arguably clichéd and sometimes kitsch motifs: cars, motorbikes, diners, food, shiny things and, in the case of John Kacere, a lifetime's dedication to painting women's bottoms and crotches. Perhaps the only honourable exception to this relentless celebration of banality is Chuck Close who has tirelessly and inventively explored the representation of the human face in ways which are interesting both as overpoweringly intense portraits and as quasi-abstract paintings. But, but ... I rather like this stuff!
Read a (generally negative) review by Alastair Smart, and listen to a (generally sceptical) discussion on Radio 4's Saturday Review (starts at 35mins).
Ralph Goings, America's Favorite, 1989
Robert Bechtle, Alameda Chrysler, 1981
Richard Estes, Telephone Booths, 1967
John Kacere, Serina '72, 1972
Audrey Flack,  Shiva, 1972-3
Rod Penner, 212 / House with Snow, 1997-8
Raphaella Spence, Vegas, 2011
Chuck Close,  Self Portrait, 1977