Every inventor is a potential dissenter? Geranium mines on Orkney? That’s what I heard anyway. Peter Maxwell Davies? Five Recommended Art Things? Back to the grindstone? The squares have been squared now, all about inserting titles this week, not quite so intense this time Five more upcoming art things to check out this coming week then. Hey, I know we said it last time, but we will really try to do it most weeks, and yes this admittedly rather fractured Five Art Things feature is intended to be a regular, almost certainly weekly, or something like something near weekly thing – an almost weekly round up of recommended art events. Five shows or exhibitions or openings or things we rather think might be worth checking out. Mostly London things for that is where we currently operate and explore, and like we said last time (and the time before that), these five recommendations come, as we already said up there, with no claims that they are “the best five” or the “Top Five”, we’re not one of those annoying art websites that ignore most things whilst claiming to be covering everything and proclaiming this or that to be the “top seven things” or the “best things this weekend”. This is simply a regular list of five or so art things coming up soon that we think you might find as interesting as we do, five art things coming in in the next few days in no particular order. We carry on doing this Organ thing for a number of reasons, one of the main ones being that if we don’t then no one will actually cover or document most of these things – as the other Sean once said, “London art critics, they don’t know shit from shinola”. Reason is treason, the only way forwards is backwards, shame about Blain Southern, do rather like listening to Sean Scully now and again, I shall miss Blain Southern though.
Two weeks ago we opened an art show of our own tw oweeks ago, a Cultivate show, the 152nd art show we’ve put on,, lots of people came, lots of art was explored, enjoyed, 38 artists together in one space, Nothing is Square, none of the so called London art press people acknowledged it, covered it, came to it, several of them responded to the press release by unsubscribing from the mailing list, one of them complained she only had a mailout and not a personal invite so she didn’t bother covering it so yes, as well as putting on the shows ourselves and filling our walls with artists, we have to write about the shows ourselves as well. When asked, the man in hat, the faddish one, asked “why should I bother actually coming out to art shows” so yes, we put on shows, we put on our own shows, we write about our shows, we write about a lot of art shows, if we don’t then who will? There’s all these exciting art shows happening in back street galleries every week, most of them, like the packed out show we put on last week, ignored by the self-appointed London art media, so we’ve self appointed ourselves and yes we will blow our own bleedin’ trumpets, here’s something Paul Sakoilsky wrote on his social media feed after an Organ review of his exhibition back in 2018 –
“I love Sean Worrall’s writings, his tireless writings in his ‘Organ Thing’ journal/blog. Here is a fine text about the exhibition at Angus-Hughes Gallery. At some point in the not too distant… one has the inkling (more than an inkling, I foresee it) his wonderfully written texts/reviews, will be an absolutely go to historical resource, and I look forward to some intelligent/clever publisher throwing him a book contract to put the best together under one cover, again one hopes, in the not too distant …” (Paul Sakoilsky, Artist, October 2018). Enough of all that and geranium mines on Orkney and here’s five…
Five recommended art things then, or maybe six, or even seven, in no particular order…
1: Rob Voerman, Colony at New Art Projects – Opening night, Thursday March 12th – “This exhibition is the first solo-show of Rob Voerman’s work in 14 years in the UK. Previously Voerman has exhibitions at the Architectural Association London and at Rhodes + Mann. His new exhibition includes new works, sculptures, prints, photo-works and light-boxes.
As an artist Rob Voerman focuses on a dialogue between architecture, power and nature while making a strong connection with the history of utopian thinking and ideas. His work and its political and social components both act on and reflect on the main ecological challenges of our time and society. By placing his work at the heart of society and in the present, he hopes his work can serve as a source of change – no matter how small. In this show Voerman explores the idea that we live in a time marked by the dangers of a possible breakdown of society as we know it. He examines collapsing democracies and the new power-structures that are currently weakening our existing social- and political structures. The exhibition refers to current political events: Brexit, The EU, Trump, Bolsonaro and the media- and to the social-media-landscape that is connected and influencing our political discourse and recent election results.
Made especially for this show is a series of dystopian light boxes constructed showing views from places of power that examine the contemporary cityscape, money, status and dominance. These will be shown alongside a major new sculpture. His recent installations and pavilions are places to meet and to hold debates.
For Sonsbeek 2016 (NL), curated by collective Ruangrupa (Djakarta), he built ‘The Exchange’, an installation that functioned as a bank where newly designed money was dispatched to visitors. This currency connected the financial world to ecology as a proposal for a fundamental system of change. The money generated by this bank was donated to the great nature conservation project Masarang in Borneo and Sulawesi Indonesia. In 2020 Voerman will stage new projects in Reutlingen, Popfestival Lowland and museum De Fundatie in The Netherlands and in the middle east”.
Colony at New Art Projects will run until Saturday 2nd May. New Art Projects is at 6d Sheep Lane, Hackney, London, E8 4QS. Just beside Broadway Market, not far from the Regents Canal and a stone’s throw from Beck Road. And of couse New Art Projects is not far from Shipton Street Gallery at that Insert (Title Here) opening, just over the Hackney Road, Why go to just one show whe nyou can make it to two?
2: Turps Painters – Open Studios. – STOP PRESS: “PLEASE NOTE THIS HAS BEEN POSTPONED UNTILL FURTHER NOTICE” “Open Studios at the Turps Painting Programme opens on Friday night with a big party”, Friday 13th March, – “Come see behind the scenes of our alternative art school in South London. Look at new work and work-in-progress by the 25 painters on the Turps Studio Programme”. Participating Artists on the programme: Gina Birch, Tom Farthing, Ned Armstrong, Emma Seach, Eigil Nordstrom, Michael Coppelov, Karolina Albricht, John Wyatt-Clarke, Nicola Price, Kirsty McEwan, Molly Butt, Thomas MacGregor, Clare Rees-Hales, Andrew Hardy, Lottie Stoddart, Charlotte Worthington, Mengxi Zhang, Anna Tveritinova, Juliette Ezavin, Jo Mason, Siobhan Mc Auley, Daniel MacCarthy, Danielle Hodson, Laura Wormell and Amanda Houchen. Open studio events are always rewards, a chance to look under the usually tightly closed hood. Turps is at Unit 12, Taplow House, Aylesbury Estate, Thurlow Street, London, SE17 2UQ. The studios are open on Friday evening, Friday March 12th, 5pm until 9pm and then Saturday March 14th 11am until 4pm – still love those Gina Birch shoe paintings…
3: Ourtypes is a Ben Eine curated group Show at Jealous Gallery, the opening night is Thursday 12th March – Here’s the somewhat over the top hype on the show and Ben Eine, I mean, his work is neat enough, rather polite, and you might should you want to, maybe call him a rather predictable one trick pony, but hey, you can’t really argue with the big issue of Big Issue, here’s the slightly over the top hype – “Some of the biggest names in Street Art from around the world collaborate with OurTypes’ Ben Eine and The Big Issue to deliver a powerful group show exploring the notion of ‘UP’ The globally renowned artist has curated a one-off edition of the magazine sold by sellers to lift themselves out of poverty, bringing together over 60 different street artists from around the world.
Much of the artwork contributed within the 52 page magazine will feature in an exhibition at Jealous Gallery, Shoreditch, London, from Thursday 12th to Thursday 22nd March. Some of the biggest names in street art from around the world, including Pure Evil, Obey, Anthony Lister, D*Face, Fanakapan, Shok 1, Lauren YS, Okuda and Vhils to mention a few are collaborating with Ben Eine’s creative studio, OurTypes and exhibiting their work for sale. The majority of profits will go to The Big Issue.
The theme of the show is ‘UP’ inspired by The Big Issue’s mantra ‘a hand up not a hand out’, in reference to its efforts to empower those in poverty to generate an income by selling its iconic magazine. Eine has created three very special, and hugely collectible, front covers on the theme of UP. Each eye-catching and highly collectable design carries a version of his signature typography. In partnership with The Big Issue, Eine will be releasing a small run of limited edition prints, with a percentage of sales going directly to The Big issue to support their work in dismantling poverty.. Eine is one of the most celebrated street artists in the world and a pioneer of graffiti letterforms. He also designed an exclusive ‘CELEBRATE’ cover to mark the sale of the 200 millionth copy of The Big Issue in 2016 and has been a friend and supporter of the magazine ever since.
“Guest editing The Big Issue has given me the chance to represent street art from my perspective, covering topics as diverse as graffiti and prison to the London Mural Festival,” said Eine. “Getting ‘Up’ as a graffiti writer is driven by selfish motivations but it led me to street art, a platform where I can now speak up on important matters alongside all those involved in writing and selling The Big Issue.”
Big Issue Editor, Paul McNamee, said: “It’s a magazine to knock your socks off. Ben and his team at Ourtypes have put together a visual feast. They’ve spread their net around the world and come through with an incredible collection of artists. Each time we work with guest editors, it’s a huge thrill, but it’s also a leap into the unknown. “Ben has lit it like a bright burning kaleidoscope. It starts with three collectible covers and carries you all the way through pages bursting with ideas and images, to an incredible exhibition. Get The Big Issue and keep an eye on social media for more info as the week progresses.”
Amongst the must-see elements in the special takeover Big Issue are an interview with Shepherd Fairey, the artist who came to widespread fame after creating the Obama HOPE poster, the respected but normally shadowy 1UP collective, a look at the theft of ideas and intellectual property of street artists by major corporations, Blondie founder Chris Stein, plus some SIXTY original works by some of the biggest names in global street art. The magazine also includes an exclusive interview with Maeve Doyle, internationally renowned curator, artistic director of (sometimes very annoying) Maddox Gallery, podcaster and broadcaster for the BBC who has spoken to Eine about rebellion, the power of art and becoming a Big Issue guest editor. The Art Special Edition, available with three iconic covers designed and curated by Ben Eine, is on sale from Big Issue vendors across the UK for £2.50 from Monday 9th March.
Visit http://www.jealousgallery.com/artists/the-big-issue to purchase the limited edition prints and original pieces on show at the exhibition”. Jealous is at 53 Curtain Road, London, EC2A 3PT, over the road from the Old Blue Last.
4: Sarah Lucas, Honey Pie at Sadie Coles – From 16th March, “Sadie Coles HQ presents Honey Pie, an exhibition by Sarah Lucas featuring ten sculptures that extend her long-term Bunny series into dynamic new forms” – okay so the arts press probably will cover this one but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, we like Sarah Lucas, why wouldn’t we?
“The exhibition consists of several sculptures made from stuffed tights and found objects, alongside an equal number of works in bronze and concrete. First conceived in 1997, Lucas’s Bunny sculptures evoke female nudes reclining on chairs in states of abandon and vulnerability. Employing the same everyday materials, the soft sculptures in HONEY PIE develop this formula through anatomical contortions, flamboyant footwear and chairs of eclectic shape and size. Bright colours applied to the figures’ limbs give them the appearance of a surrealist chorus line, at once exotic and comedic. Lucas has elevated the works on a series of plinths that reinforce their individualism, resetting the balance of power between sculpture and viewer.
Lucas’s soft sculptures are mirrored in five bronze and concrete works. Employing the same figure-chair composition, these stand in striking contrast to the fleshiness and bold colour of the soft figures – as if animate bodies have transmuted into statues or icons. Cast from soft prototypes, the hard sculptures consist of polished bronze anatomies – extruded, tubular forms with high-gloss surfaces – each posed on top of a chair rendered in concrete and metal. “They’ve got more of a ghostly quality – like something left over from another age,” Lucas has stated. “It’s a mixture of the hard and the soft, and the colourful and the austere.”
Lucas has arranged the sculptures within a cruciform structure of concrete and MDF that splits the gallery into quadrants. In their style of presentation as much as their rhyming forms, the works look back to earlier shows such as Bunny Gets Snookered at Sadie Coles HQ in 1997 (where the Bunnies were scattered around a snooker table) or NUDS in 2009, where she first began to use plinths in the form of breeze block stacks. In the new show, plinths in various shades of yellow compound the painterly aspect of the sculptures. In contrast to the literal debasement of the original Bunnies (most of which were placed on the floor), the plinths raise the works to eye level or higher, amplifying the swagger and exuberance of Lucas’s cast of characters.
These attributes are reflected in the works’ titles. DORA LALALA resembles a contortionist winding her legs into a bow; SUGAR consists of a bouquet of breasts on nimble pink legs. The chairs and shoes are themselves multifarious in design and import – from the scrolling campery of an ironwork seat to the hyperbolic femininity of platform boots. At the same time, Lucas’s soft and hard muses continue to channel themes that have defined her work from the beginning – whether the anthropomorphic charge of found objects, the objectification of the female nude, or the elusive line between comedy and abjection.
The exhibition follows Lucas’s first retrospective in China, at the Red Brick Art Museum, Beijing, in 2019, and her first US retrospective at the New Museum, New York, in 2018 (Au Naturel, curated by Massimiliano Gioni and Margot Norton), which travelled to the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles in 2019. A concurrent presentation will be on view at Gladstone Gallery, New York, opening 06 March 2020”
Sadie Coles is at 62 Kingly Street, London, W1B 5QN, the show runs from 16th March until 7th May 2020.
5: The Nave present We Consume at Ugly Duck, 19th March until 22nd March – So we asked The Nave who or what they are? “We are a non profit collective of artists and activists who work together on creating projects to raise awareness about consumerism, finding sustainable solutions to keep our planet alive and engaging people to actively contribute in their everyday life! Needless is to say that financial help on this fields is very limited but we are the DIY renegade who know that money means nothing when you truly want to break through this obsolete system! Although any support and solidarity would be appreciated! Please check out what we have in store”
MARCH 15TH – STOP PRESS ONCE MORE: “With a heavy heart we have made a collective decision, amidst this pandemic to postpone the We Consume exhibition”.
About We Consume: “Our systems are broken. Outdated. Self-destructive. We sit in the driver’s seat with our eyes closed. More, more, more. From the day we are born, we are programmed to want. Endlessly. Food, drink, drugs, clothing, cars, houses, jewellery, screen time, fetishes… The things we acquire kept as treasures, as the world sinks in the polluted depths of our ongoing need for more. Society tells you the more you have, the happier you are but when did we put our need for excess over the lives of animals, nature, the earth, our children’s lives and our own lives? We know what is happening. There is no excuse. It is time for radical change. But how do we achieve this? The Nave brings together the avant-garde, underground artistic communities of London to create an exhibition that will take you on a journey through the current situation, implications and possible solutions to the consumer culture epidemic. The exhibition will include visual art, installation, immersive art theatre, performance art, dance, workshops, meditations and much more. In typical Nave style it will leave you impacted and lead you on a path to explore positive change” More details and full programme via that arch vessel oc consumer society that is Facebook, here’s the link to the Event page. . Ugly Duck is at 47-49 Tanner Street, London SE1 3PL
5: Geraldine Swayne, Annunciation at Charlie Smith – Opening Thursday 19th March – okay, we sneeked in an extra one there “SAVE THE DATE! We’re very excited to present Geraldine Swayne in her first solo at Charlie HQ!” said someone from Charlie HQ, and indeed we did jsut that and now we’re passing on the date to you, Geraldine is one of our favourite painters, here comes the press release –
STOP PRESS: THE GERALDINE SWAYNE OPENING HAS BEEN POSTPONED, SEE THE GALLERY WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION (Friday March 13th)
CHARLIE SMITH LONDON is delighted to present Geraldine Swayne in her first solo exhibition at the gallery. Swayne is well known for her intimate portrait and figure paintings in enamel on copper or aluminium. Her subjects engage in everyday activities – listening to music; sewing; putting on lipstick; drinking. Sometimes they are clothed, and often they are unclothed – sitting, lying, having sex, or being spanked. Engaging in everyday activities. In this exhibition, recalling earlier work, Swayne effortlessly scales up to combine small paintings with larger paintings. Her subjects are derived from various sources, including 18th century ceramics; anonymous vintage photographs; a cache of photographs found in a serial killer’s lock up; and her own iPhone pictures. The identity of the subject, therefore, is often unimportant, or at least less important than the feeling conveyed. It is the emotional and psychological register to which Swayne responds, and then mediates. As she has previously stated:
“I paint atmospheres. The insinuated, unspoken and unspeakable evidence of the human personality. The bodies and faces of the subjects I choose reflect an interior mystery, and I try to amplify this riddle in the rendition of the subject.”
Technically, Swayne’s style is uniquely fluid and transfers expertly from miniature through to monumental. And her approach to her practice as a whole is instinctive. Underlying her work is an ongoing exploration of humanity, subtly played by presenting us with, at face value, the familiar. But Swayne loads the unfamiliar into the familiar; and extraordinary into the ordinary, as if conveying messages or annunciations from elsewhere that are channelled from the macro, via the micro, and vice versa” Charlie Smith London is at 336 Old Street, London, EC1V 9DR. The show runs until April 18th
And yes, if we have to do it ourselves, we will…
6: Cultivate presents Insert (Title Here) – Opening night Thursday March 12th, 6pm until 9pm at Shipton Street Gallery, Columbia Road, London E2 – Everyone welcome, none of that get on a list or give us all your details annoyance, none of that jumping through hoops just to get in nonsense. Entry is free, just turn up, bring some drink if you wish, come look at some art, come meet people, come hang out and enjoy yourself…
Where were we? Halfway through three shows and the fourth and almost certainly final month-long Cultivate Columbia Road takeover, Shipton Street Gallery closes for at least a year and probably forever once we finish our Cultivate residency in March. We already have our strictly regimented grid-like very square opening two week group show in place, Nothing is Square pt2 has just closed, we’re then changing everything over and we’ll open a second group show called Insert (Title Here) on Thursday March 12th
Insert (Title Here) will bring together six artists, mostly painters, although we have already handed over the plinths to self-declared “Artist, taxidermist, antiques collector and fetishist” Mia Jane Harris. The walls will mostly be about paintings, Cultivate founders Emma Harvey and Sean Worrall will be joined once more by the painterly colour of Yulia Robinson, a painter we’re rather excited about at the moment, she’ll be following up her Cultivate solo show from late last year, we shall also have the intrigue of John Gathercole – John Gathercole has been working professionally for many years, selling and showing internationally, including both Tate Modern and Britain. Painting is his first love but initially found success as the founder of the Kreative Union of Neo-aesthetic Terrorists, (the K.U.N.T ists, a play on the German word for art). An anti aesthetic anti art punk collective that lampooned the art world, there’s an Organ feature on John here. And we shall also be joined by Martin Jackson and his rather stylish silver floral Columbia Road odes as well as…. PARTICIPATING ARTISTS: EMMA HARVEY, JOHN GATHERCOLE, MARTIN JACKSON, MIA-JANE HARRIS, SEAN WORRALL, YULIA ROBINSON
Shipton Street Gallery is on Shipton Street, just off Columbia Road and indeed Hackney Road, London, E2 7RZ. Insert (Title Here) opens on Thursday march 12th, 6pm until 9pm and then over two weekend, Saturday/Sunday March 14/15th and 21st/22nd 11am until 5pm or by appointment.