I'm disarmed - It's 11:30 and my penises count is already up by 2 - yes I start Pulse festival with naked men - I'm wearing headphones and listening to a woman's voice in my head harassing them. During the weekend I go onto see work that explores death, suicide, eating disorder, sexism, the value of bread, the end of the world - the list goes on and on and the mind becomes filled with moments that include a Spanish woman dressed as zebra flamenco dancing whilst breast feeding plastic zebras, capitalism portrayed as a demented penguin plastic toy, women dressed as fish discussing their relationship, silent magicians playing Jenga, a frenzied dancing woman wearing sparkly pants in a cube, an audience member playing hangman on a white T shirt worn by a black man and revealing that the word was nigger. Highlights- or maybe more of a recommendation are the oddness of Figs in wigs, the magnificent Byron Vincent's show about depression http://www.byronvincent.com/ and if you want a cracking laugh out loud night at the theatre check out Police Cops - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rxulOPQGUMk it's a bit like watching live Will Ferrel and Robin Williams freestyle having being trained by Buster Keaton - you might just be converted if you don't love theatre. Also managed to fit in a talk with PhotoEast - http://photoeast.co.uk/ extraordinary images of Ipswich docks - the archive looks excellent. http://photoeast.co.uk/news/ipswich-maritime-trust-launch-digital-archive-alongside-photoeast-festival-2016/
Sunday, 29 May 2016
Wednesday, 25 May 2016
a busy day in Cambridge - starting out at the wonderful Maxwell Centre - cycling through the city one enters the site through boardwalks next to one of the many cafes - this one overlooks the landscape - it opens up to the what the future looks like - to a world of energy - I move through to spaces which enabling thinking - free coffee - cool social areas where people meet and talk - surrounded by good design. Then after a great meeting and checking out my work in the show into boundless space I leap - the exhibition of work created as part of the centres opening alongside the Nano project. Then it was off to check out some spaces for Art Language Location (ALL) where I hope to site work in non-art spaces within Cambridge. Popped into see lines of thought - a great little exhibition in the Cambridge University Library https://exhibitions.lib.cam.ac.uk/ it has some excellent examples from their collection of key moments of knowledge. I also went to the Whipple Museum http://www.hps.cam.ac.uk/whipple/ a space I had never visited which has some fantastical objects which verge on the bizarre. Finally a private view at the Darsham cafe https://www.darshamnurseries.co.uk/ so not a cafe - a great place to feel good and taste good food. They hosted the opening of PhotoEast http://photoeast.co.uk/ showing a set of Rodchenko's photographs - beautiful and challenging.
Friday, 20 May 2016
after meetings in London I got to see the conceptual art in Britain show at The Tate http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/conceptual-art-britain-1964-1979 a wonderful experience - it was like going back in time - a quiet gallery - 6 people in the space looking and reading and thinking about art - everything black and white, work heavy with thoughts and ideas
in teaching terms - the marks are in and we are now in the middle of hanging work on the Textiles course at NUA - we have created a great space to show work - it all looks good so far.
meanwhile another classic example of i couldn't give a F**K car parking and the poster for a show organised through the printmaking course at Camberwell.
Friday, 13 May 2016
Still looking through the images from Rome but after 2 days of student presentations and 3 days of assessing actual work the marks are complete (apart from recognition of external issues that might occur at the assessment board) - it's an interesting time - the marks are in but not public - the students have no knowledge of their marks but the digital black ink is on the forms in the appropriate boxes. https://johngraysondesign.wordpress.com/
The first event of The Norfolk and Norwich Festival - The Tempest at The Hippodrome (where a large pool of water that moves and has rain and normally holds water extravaganzas) - it was a spectacle with some great visual moments lodged in my head. Next is the James plays on saturday - 3 plays in one day - full on Scottishness.
A trip to London to I have my first 'mentor session' with John Grayson who is working on the next wave of Parallel Practices with the Crafts Council. His work is extraordinary in its extraordinary endeavour to elicit a response from its audience - hours of painstaking skilled work goes into each piece. The eye is drawn in by the craft skills employed in the making of the work and the humour embedded within these time bombs of pomposity bursting is a way in to engage the brain. I am already looking forward to our next conversation.
Managed to get to see a few shows Marian Goodman has the most sublime show of work by Ettore Spalletti often the space becomes the work and makes you re-see what you thought you knew. It is truly exquisite - especially the pieces that are so slight almost nothing happens and the site specific piece in a side space is transcendent - I chose not to find out how is was created (easily done by bending down) as I so enjoyed the otherness of it. http://mariangoodman.com/exhibition/3061/installation-views
Thomson & Craighead: Party Booby Trap is at CarrollFletcher - http://www.carrollfletcher.com/ I am becoming more and more attracted to the work shown there - favourite piece here was a fragrance made from the many elemental elements mentioned in the old testament - wonderful idea.
The Photographers Gallery is free before 12:00 and has on The Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize 2016 http://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/exhibitions-6 There is quite a wonderful homage by Erik Kessel to his dad - a moment when their two worlds beautifully collide even though they occupy different worlds, meanwhile the disturbing work of Trevor Paglen continues - just who is watching us? - the list continues.
White Cube had a fancy way of mapping drug consumption by Jac Leirner - Junkie lite for the IKEA generation. http://whitecube.com/exhibitions/
ICA has a great show upstairs by Martine Syms: Fact & Trouble. In the archive area it has PIL images from another time - metal box is just harrowing https://www.ica.org.uk/whats-on/exhibitions
finally - Richard Prince at Sadie Coles - crude marks on crude imagery - unsure if two crudes make it okay.
Saturday, 7 May 2016
7 days in Rome ....... where to start - for some reason I had never been so an extensive tour of the top tourist locations were on the list - with the exception of the Coliseum and St Peters in the Vatican (pay to go in the lift) I would not recommend them - mainly due to the mass of tourists and no thank you I do not want to buy a selfi-stick - or maybe I should get one.....
A few of the truly extraordinary experiences off the so called beaten track include....The mummified monks at Santa Maria della Concezione, the dazzling crypt under Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, the view at night of and from Giuseppe Garibaldi's mausoleum, the walk from and tasting deep fried artichoke for the first time. Also managed to see some exceptional contemporary art in the most extravagant settings - both the buildings and the amount of staff on hand in what were often deserted spaces. The Macro has two sites - both fascinating - one in a deserted meat market which had disturbing (in a good way) work by Michael Fliri http://www.michaelfliri.com/ The other is in a converted Perone factory - it had an eclectic show about time, highlighting work that was familiar but by Italian artists - it was also showing work by william kentridge of his Rome project - but the highlight was the bizarre toilets - fantastic https://vimeo.com/18862925
The Maxi has to be experienced - a truly challehging version of where and how art should be displayed but it often it just got in the way. Zaha Hadid's building has the greatest spaces and I know I will find myself talking about it for some time but I'm unsure if it works as a display space for art or maybe the tension it creates is the point - It had thoughtful work which focused on current issues in Turkey - the use of textiles was extensive - special mention to work of Gülşah Kılıç http://tersyontersyon.blogspot.co.uk/ a mock radical coat and the films of Burak Delier https://burakdelier.wordpress.com/. especially songs of the possessed and Crisis and Control. There was also a show by Jimmie Durham which was fantastically jolly hung within a room with challenging windows and floor and also a show from a firm of radical designers from the 70s called SuperStudio - some far out (in a good way) ideas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superstudio - it also has a great buffet lunch on Saturday. spent 20 minutes trying to find the Gavin Brown experience space and then we did and it was closed! - see last photo and the excellent signage - back to work