ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Ulay at Richard Saltoun Gallery, The Joy of Sex Spiked, Luiz Zerbini at Stephen Friedman Gallery, Pat Douthwaite at The Scottish Gallery, Deborah Brown at Unit and…

Marion Jones

Of course the thing we’re really missing is the underground artist-led shows, the gatherings in the back streets and broken buildings (the few that are left) of East London or South of the river. The establishment galleries are able to set up shows and take them on line, to hang art on their walls and film and photograph it for on-line presentations, but the artist-led collectives, the things that tend to happen in empty shops and spaces hired for a week or two, we’re missing that entire layer, those vital breeding grounds, that whole underground word of mouth network where the really excite new art emerges, where artists meet and plot, the basement spaces, the learning places, the cutting edge back rooms that the establishment art world has little appetite for, the places and the show that really do excite. It will be interesting ot see what come out on the other side of all this…

And well, we could do it again, we could? Shall we? The Five Art Things thing? We said all this last week didn’t we? And the week before. Other than things happening on-line, we rather obviously can’t really feature or preview forthcoming shows at the moment – we did say all this last week with the previous Five Art Things post and all the “oh, I don’t know, this five art things to go check out feature is kind of shot to pieces now. The regular feature was supposed to be about five upcoming art shows that we were excited about, five recommended art exhibitions that are about to open, a selection of the five most exciting openings selected from the many (many) coming up….”.

Back in the old world of 2019 we were out at art shows three or four times a week, right now we’re doing very little other than working away in cold dark studios and checkout out art on line, but we said all this last week didn’t we? Did you check out last week’s Five Art Things? All we can really do is plough on. All we can really do is plough on with the on-line versions of Cultivate shows, with the making of our own art and with the exploring of art on line The Marion Jones piece up there is currently part of the ReCultivate show…

And so, as we said last week (and the week before), for now it has to mostly be about art events happening on line, and here, in no particular order are five on-line art shows that have caught our eye (andwe are looking at lots of things, clicking a lot of links). Once again we’re not talking a “top five” or anything like that, What we have here are five art things that have caught our eye , five art things, in no particular order, five thing that we that we recommend…

Five art things to explore then

1: The Joy of Sex Spiked – on-line now until February 14th -Hosted by Marco Plug,” An online insta show, 20 artists mutate the classic 1970’s book ‘The Joy of Sex.”. Looks like this one is going to unfold on a daily basis over the fourteen days it is happening for, daily postings on Marco’s Instagram feed, Early days yet, today is day two but it looks promising so far, as does Marco’s feed.

“In 1972  a crack commando unit was sent to prison for a crime they did not commit, meanwhile, in Surbiton behind net curtains Charles Raymond and his wife Edeltraud pose for a series of explicit photos. These become the source material for Raymond and Chris Foss to illustrate a ground breaking new book, ‘The Joy of Sex.’ The Joy of Sex ended up selling more than 10 million copies around the world – over five million in the United States alone, where it stayed in the New York Times best-seller list for a decade.  The book was revolutionary, sweeping away Victorian attitudes to sex.  Looking back now, it is problematic. Its attitude to promiscuity had to be revised in the second edition after the HIV/ AIDS crisis. Both editions failed to make any mention of the LGBTQ community other than under the heading ‘Problems’.

“The Joy of Sex Spiked,” is an online Instagram exhibition. This was meant to be a real world show but we’re not going to let a global pandemic thwart getting the art out there, even if it can only be digital for now. 20 multidisciplinary artists from around Europe been invited to revisit one of Chris Foss or Charles Raymond’s illustrations. Every day from the 1st February until the finale on Valentines day an artist will expose their reinterpretations of these seminal works.  “This book is a great example of compulsory heterosexuality. It may have spiced up my parents love life in the 70’s but it did nothing to correct their heteronormative parenting. For this gay teenager growing up in the 80’s this manual by omission failed to inspire, in my mind it created a “sex hierarchy” that graduates sexual practices from morally “good sex” to morally “bad sex”. “ Marco Puig Curator of ‘The Joy of Sex Spiked.’ View the show as it evolves here

Luiz Zerbini

2: Luiz Zerbini at Stephen Friedman Gallery until March 31st – “Brazilian artist Luiz Zerbini presents his second exhibition at Stephen Friedman Gallery, following his acclaimed solo show at South London Gallery in 2018. Juxtaposing organic and geometric forms, Zerbini’s paintings explore the relationship between colour, light and movement. Inspired by the Amazon and Mata Atlântica rainforests, the exhibition reflects the artist’s ongoing interest in the relationship between nature and humanity in and around Rio de Janeiro. The presentation is now available to view online and will open to the public as soon as government guidance allows”.

For now you can explore it alland mouse around in a virtual way or as I refer t odo, jsut view the work on a screen in a static kind of way with out all the mouse stuff via – don’t you just hate over-polished gallery floors! Hopefully we can really go see the art inthe flesh before it all ends on March 31st.

Luiz Zerbini

And on it goes, in it goes, over it goes, over and over, again and again while we long for a warm plastic cup full of cheap red wine and that unique hum of an art crowd you hear as you approach, that sound of a gallery on an opening night that you hear before you turn the corner. We’re at the point now where we’re even missing the annoyance of loud people standing in front of the art, even missing those people you try to avoid eye contact with. The last time we had a proper opening night and a full gallery was almost a year ago now, the old world was nearly twelve months ago…

3: Deborah Brown Platform – on-line via Unit London until February 14th – “We are delighted to announce that Deborah Brown’s Platform exhibition is now open. Deborah’s show features eight paintings – spanning a range of mediums and sizes – that consider the effect of pandemic-induced isolation on the human condition. Although these works have significant contemporary relevance, they are rooted in a pre-existing appreciation of the power art has as a form of human connection. In depicting solitary domestic settings, Deborah Brown is extending a hand to her audience, bridging the chasm between alone and together”. Explore the show on-line via this beautiful link

And alone and together is the thing right now, Deborajh might have a more inviting bath tub that the paint-stained tub here in our rather packed live/work studio we’ve been stuck in for so long now, it doesn’t matter where you’re stuck, stuck is stuck, and there’s something about Deborah’s stuck and her bath and…

Deborah Brown – Home Alone (2020) – Oil on canvas, 224 x 196 cm

4; Ulay From Berlin To Paris – on-line at the almost always rewarding Richard Saltoun Gallery Until 13th February – “This virtual presentation features two important pieces by the late performance artist Ulay: Irritation – There is a Criminal Touch to Art (1976) and Relation in Movement (1977), made in collaboration with Marina Abramović”. it is tempting to add some thought here, some editorial but then that’s the thing about the web, who really needs it when you have the links and the whole world window of a thing right there waiting to be opened up ans looked at and watched and read and explored from the safely of your living room chair (while father drinks another beer and claims to be one of the few that care). I mean, not that we want to encourage theft or anything, or even the Irritation of performance art and clandestine whatever. A rather recommnded on-line exhibition…

In the current social-political setting, in which movement is more limited than ever, and human bodies are restricted by physical distancing, ‘ULAY: From Berlin to Paris’ focuses on two different displays of ULAY‘s physical and mental stamina – one in Berlin and one in Paris.,,,, read on


and and and it goes some more, on it goes, you do wonder if the social-political, cultural, and artistic state of this time is better? or do you? Or do we? It goes, it goes, it goes. has the sun just come out?

Pat Douthwaite

5: Pat DouthwaiteOn The Edge – on-line via The Scottish Gallery, 4th – 27th Feb –  at An exhibition of works by one of Scotland’s most original and challenging artists, Pat Douthwaite, explore here

“One of Scotland’s most original and challenging painters, Pat Douthwaite’s work is not easily defined and she continues to intrigue and divide.  Her individualism, evidenced in The Scottish Gallery’s latest exhibition, speaks loudly and boldly.

Douthwaite’s work is naïve yet intellectually loaded, personal while still resonating with cultural references.  It was not made for others but came from the deep-seated need of the creative to make, to express.  Each work stands alone, beautifully designed, enigmatic to a fault, undatable and present.  The extraordinary range of her subject matter, from myth, to real life crime, from fashion to fantasy, animal to erotic is always surprising and is unified by her own highly personal aesthetic which challenges the audience to love or hate.  She has always defied any attempt at taxonomy from those who have tried to make sense of her work.

During a fraught and difficult lifetime, Douthwaite’s oeuvre of idiosyncratic paintings and drawings are powerful and witty.  She regarded herself as being on the fringes of the art world, and markedly distanced herself from the establishment with her emotional intensity and uncompromising vision.  Despite the lack of a permanent base and studio, and a general mistrust of the art institution, she formed a close and trusting relationship with The Scottish Gallery and began exhibiting with them from 1991.

Douthwaite was born in Paisley into a conservative, middle-class family, growing up with the privations of Scotland at the time; from a very young age she was aware of feeling different and found her freedom and vocation in dance and art classes.  Throughout her life, she had an insatiable appetite for new visual experiences and immersed herself in esoterica, animals, ancient religions, folklore and intellectual life of a new place.  She was a great traveller, absorbing imagery and devouring cultures as far afield as Peru, Mexico, Poland and India.  Her wanderlust is a tribute to her intellectual curiosity but was at the same time symptomatic of her restlessness.  In the last ten years of her life, she seemed constantly on the move even though, by then, her world was restricted to the Borders, her homes always temporary and her life lived in anxiety.

Her mastery of technique shines in all her works, whether oil paint, watercolour or drawing.  She used sketchbooks when travelling, working chiefly in pastel and, while in the studio, she drew constantly on anything to hand, when short of good paper.

Douthwaite’s work at its best emanates the essence of raw femininity with all that implies of vulnerability, unacceptable drives and emotional demands.  On Douthwaite’s stage the female appears in many guises, as victim and predator, and she understands better than most that an impressive outsize persona can hide a shrinking core of anxious, insecure humanity.

Her individual work, such as The Fete, remains as cogent and relevant today as when it was made in the mid-sixties.  Douthwaite’s recollection of a conversation observed, no doubt, at a Suffolk village fete shows privilege and violence ingrained in country society, unchanged for centuries.  Her emotional honesty and unflinching eye often present an uncomfortable experience for the viewer as she exposes her subjects, like specimens in a jar, latterly often eschewing any setting or background”.

And over here we’re at work on the next on-line show, meanwhile, ReCultivate – and yes, like a broken record of someone blowing their own trumpets far too much we are going to point out the latest Cultivate on-line exhibition caan be explored here. 35 artists and over 170 very carefully selected and curated pieces of work, including the Mark Burrell piece at the top of the page… Next up, Self.


3 thoughts on “ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Ulay at Richard Saltoun Gallery, The Joy of Sex Spiked, Luiz Zerbini at Stephen Friedman Gallery, Pat Douthwaite at The Scottish Gallery, Deborah Brown at Unit and…

  1. Pingback: ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Lennie Lee at Our Wonderful Culture, a Rosaleen Norton film, Tonight the Air is Warm at Kristin Hjellegjerde, Philip Gerald at Public Gallery, Michaela Wetherell and Pink-Collar Gallery and… | THE ORGAN

  2. Pingback: ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Oozing Gloop, Commucracy Now, Ron Athey at Participant Inc, Band of Holy Joy and Notes From A Gallery at 46, Amy-Leigh Bird, Shaun Fraser, and Simon Kidd at No.20 Arts, Degree Zero, Drawing at Midcentury at MoMA and&

  3. Pingback: ORGAN: Five Recommended Art Things – Oozing Gloop, Commucracy Now, Ron Athey at Participant Inc, Band of Holy Joy and Notes From A Gallery at 46, Amy-Leigh Bird, Shaun Fraser, and Simon Kidd at No.20 Arts, Degree Zero, Drawing at Midcentury at MoMA and&

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