That Pablo Delgado show, Opens Tomorrow Morning, has almost come to an end, November 1st is when the delight to be found behind that yellow door ends (or maybe it actually opens that morning?).
The Pablo Delgado show is at the Howard Griffin Gallery, Shoreditch, East London, we make no apologies for bringing it up yet again here, it really is one of the art shows of the year (and I really haven’t seen that much coverage anywhere else). We bring up the Pablo Delgado show again today because last week’s coverage of Frieze and the whiney whinny-arse new Yorker who loudly proclaimed London, or at least East London, to be over, provoked quiet a reaction. Indeed the whole Frieze being covered here at Organ did. “Why the hell did you even go to that offensive money circus?” raged one e.mail from an artist who declared himself “very disappointed with Organ, of course these people are out of touch, you should have ignored it and gone to the car park instead!” .
Frieze can’t be ignored or dismissed though, of course it can’t, and we wanted to experience it for ourselves, to see what it was about, soak it up, engage with it, poke it a little, easiest thing in the world would be to sit on the sidelines, sit outside and snipe from the carpark without actually going. The Organ reviews (and the bag-loads of fractured photos) are a few pages back – Frieze time once more, brothers and Sisters, time to kick out the art fair jams… and – Frieze part two, back for more. A whinny-arse New Yorker, a giant cat, some washing machines and
So just over a week on and most of the post Frieze coverage from the art press has focused on who was there, what were they wearing, who bought what and how much they paid. I guess when it comes to those Hirst logo-festooned television interview boards then it is all about the money, and if he really did get a million a bit for them then, then (as Ray Davies once sang) Give the people what they want… We hope everybody gets what they deserve, what was an Oasis logo doing on there though? Surely Oasis a just little last century? And look mum, there goes a piece of the president’s brain It seems that “over at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, things were looking rather peachy. By Tuesday afternoon, an Alex Katz painting, Road (2015), had sold for a price in the region of $400,000. A large drawing by Robert Longo changed hands for $650,000, while Tony Cragg’s sculpture Runner sold for €300,000. Nearby, Sturtevant’s Warhol Licorice Marilyn (2004) found a new owner for $250,000 and” blah blah, never mind the actual art, soak up those numbers and frankly, couldn’t care less if you don’t like that Frieze was covered via the pages of Organ. Really couldn’t care less about what sold and who made what and how the “blue chip galleries” did this year. We went there to see what the so-called leading galleries had to offer, we were invited to, we took up the invite, would have been silly not to, bring on the lions and open the gates What we actually found was mostly conservative, mostly “nice” and mostly rather polite, nothing really massively excited, the bits that did have been covered here and here, a week and a bit on and nothing really really thrilled, then again, nothing really annoyed either, nothing really alienated that much, there was lots of art to explore, indeed it took three visits and six or seven hours to get through it all (without going anywhere near Frieze Masters), it was all very very nice. .
Point here was… what was the point? Is there ever a point? What the hell is the point? We were there to experience, to weave our way around the expensive shoes and the waves of perfume and to report back from behind the lines, to tip-toe through the ankle bitters and men on phones rebelliously not wearing ties. And, as already reported, there was some good art, we didn’t look at the price tags (although some of it clearly is just about the price tag), we explored the mostly polite art in the gleaming white cubes, we tried to engage with the people sitting with the cubes now and again. We concluded that most of the galleries seem (almost arrogantly) out of touch with anything besides the art the blinkered art system has feeding them, and that the fashionable thing seem to be as unfriendly and aloof, to dismiss the notion that there just might be something more exciting out there. It really wasn’t the purgatory the entry tunnel promised though, nothing to get that worked up or angry about, it was a couple of pleasant days out and if people feel the need to validate themselves by handing a “revitalised” (copyright the art media in general) Damian a couple of million for a piece to hang in their white yacht then really more fool them. There was nothing dangerous about Frieze, nothing challenging, nothing subversive, where once it might have been cutting edge it now feels like the out of touch establishment and well, it really was just rather nice and comfortably polite, no risks being taken, no one prepared to grab and exciting artist and… well, that would not be the polite thing… .
Meanwhile, while Foxton’s mock us, while our spaces are pulled down, and while it may feel like a battle ground and a fight for survival now, the London undergrowth has been defiantly alive with exciting art and thrilling artists this year. Art on the walls, in the cubes, on the streets, art crossing over and all there waiting for you if you’re prepared to go and find it rather than wait for the feeders to (fail to) tell you. There’s been loads to engage with and feel positive about this year, here’s just four of those things the Frieze whinny whiney-arse from New York should have checked out this year before shouting his mouth off…
1: Pablo Delgado Opens Tomorrow Morning at the Howard Griffin Gallery right now and until November 1st – Delgado’s 2014 show at the Howard Griffin might have given us a clue to two, there just might be something that’s a little more than just another street artist with a graphic-y gimmick here. With is 2014 show Delgado “wanted to make an exhibition that looks as though it isn’t there, so when you walk in it doesn’t look as though there is an exhibition, you see nothing, but when you look around at the details you can see there are narratives and stories going on.”
And so what is behind that yellow door? If you have a chance to go they you should probably duck out of this review at this point. Stop reading, don’t look at the photos, don’t read any more, just get on that bus or overground train and go explore through the yellow door for yourself.
Spoiler warning out-of-the-way, this show is brilliant, a triumph, the temptation is to let out a loud delighted “Yes!” in the pitch-black darkness broken only by low-powered torch-light and the occasional paint can behind the door. And you do need a torch (provided at the door before you go in), we really are in the dark in here.. This is a show that throws up questions, that makes demands, a show that questions the audience and the notions of art, the gallery, a show that finds Delgado questioning himself,what the hell is going on in here? is this bit part of it? is it open? What is he about? Where’s the big owl? More here
2: ENGLISH MAGIC at New Art Projects – Back in August Fred Mann was “delighted to announce the first exhibitions at his new gallery, New Art Projects. English Magic will be made up of four solo shows by painters James E Crowther, Fergus Hare, Sarah Sparkes and Geraldine Swayne” .- “a strong show, a delightful show, a brilliant show, one of the best of the summer, four rooms, four very fine artists, an exhibition that works as one (brilliantly hung), four strong English painters, four exciting painters, magical, a far from dismal land, sometimes art can just lift things….More here
3: PLAY @ LONDON FIELDS, E8 – A maximalist art exhibition in a warehouse… Play happened back at the start of June, a last stand in a soon to be pulled down space something like forty-three or so artists gathered together under the umbrella of Cultivate and a weekend of painting, installation, performance and artist-led cross-pollination… more here
4: Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium – Felt up in a sex shop and Lucy Sparrow’s shop is fun, to dismiss it as just frivolous fun is to do Lucy a disservice though, this is fun, of course this is fun, but Lucy Sparrow’s complete take over of a sex shop in the heart of Soho deep in the west end of London is far more than just fun. Madame Roxy’s Erotic Emporium is an inspired piece of art installation that asks questions… More here
5: POP UP FUCK OFF – The last-minute plan was a simple one, the invited artists turn up in the morning, hang some work, get the space ready, clear out some of the rubble, make the place a little more presentable, open the gates for once last time at 3pm, welcome anyone who wants to come explore some art and then….. Nineteen or so rooms, some of them put almost beyond use by the developers already, some of them begging to be painted on, drawn in. Some rooms dark, lights ripped out, demanding film on the walls, some alive with the smell of freshly dug earth, with strange piles of boots and shoes, with bold installations, people creating things, positive statements, activity, spontaneous creativity and for one last day, a building alive and with a defiant heart. Don’t know how many artists turned up, the invites went out around ten days before the show, an almost word of mouth event once more…. more here
of course there was good art at Frieze, of course there was, and exciting galleries, the Box (from LA) stood out, Wilkinson were far more interesting than they ever are in their own space, Adam Pendleton’s installation…. but if you really want to find the exciting art, uunlike the the Frieze whinny whiney-arse from New York, you need to go get out there and get some dirt on your shoes and find it for yourselves… You have until November 1st to make that Pablo Delgado show..
Back out on the streets tomorrow, probably…