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one&other header_logoClearly designers of the One & Other (previous post) logo and header expect the “cross section” of people applying to stand on the fourth plinth to include: a woman on a Segway (those two-wheeled, self-balancing electric vehicles), a portly man with a walking stick, a pregnant woman, someone in a wheelchair, and Darth Vader. Oh and Gormley himself (C’mon Antony, admit it – we recognise your silhouette from Event Horizon)one&other header_bg

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Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Photograph: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

Antony Gormley has officially opened the application process to members of the public who wish to stand on the fourth plinth of London’s Trafalgar Square, as part of his new artwork One & Other.

Every hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days without a break, 2,400 different people will be able to occupy the plinth, and do whatever they like on it, as long as it’s legal.

“This is about, in some way, challenging the idea that only some people, people who are heroes or have served for their country, have the right to occupy plinths,” says Gormley.

According to the Guardian, 22,000 people have registered their interest so far. Which begs the question, what will people do with their hour as a living statue?

There will be the piss-takers; the dressing up enthusiasts; those who see it as a platform for showing off singing, acting or clowning talents; the campaigners; and, probably, a great deal of normal people who get up there with a book or an iPod, and simply wait it out, keen to simply become part of London’s artistic landscape for a while. At least, I hope that is the case.

But most, if not all, media coverage of the event will be given over to the outrageous: the nearly naked, the crazy, those with an incredible story to tell, and many other moments that are impossible to predict. It will be interesting to see if it really does represent a cross section of British society.

Antony Gormley’s One & Other will replace Thomas Schütte’s sculpture Model for a Hotel on 6 July 2009, and will be broadcast live on oneandother.co.uk and on the Sky Arts website.

More than 100 people have commented on Jonathan Jones’s piece, “Should Banksy be nominated for the Turner Prize?”, over the past two days, despite the fact we’ve heard his arguments before. The question of Banksy’s artistic worth, it seems, is something we are all still itching to debate.

Jones has confessed in the past to being “pretty harsh” about Banksy, and to publishing more articles about this “unimportant graffiti and street artist than I care to count”. Writing about Banksy is, Jones says, the “thorn of being an art critic in modern Britain”. “Cy Twombly is the only graffiti artist I care about” (3 June 2008)

However, it is a thorn that has generated a lot of material for Jones’s blog, culminating in the latest piece on his decision not to nominate the street artist for this year’s Turner Prize competition.

His reasons for considering the artist are twofold: one, he would like to be convinced of Banksy’s worth, and two, he would welcome the media attention such a nomination would surely generate. However, he concludes that Banksy no longer generates the same column inches as before, and finally says:

The reason I don’t like street art is that it’s not aesthetic, it’s social. To celebrate it is to celebrate ignorance, aggression, all the things our society excels at. For middle class people to find artistic excitement in something that scares old people on estates is a bit sick.

The vast majority of people responding to this piece argue indignantly in favour of street art, pointing out that it is not the same as “tagging”, and is aesthetic as well as social. An early comment by mroli (15 April 09, 4:12pm) reads:

Are old people on estates scared by street art? I don’t think they are. Certainly not the kind of street art that Banksy perpetrates. How on earth does it celebrate ignorance? How does it celebrate aggression? Don’t nominate him if you think he’s crap, but not nominating him because he is a “social” artist, that encourages discussion, is open to everyone, whose work is essentially disposable and yet adopted as permanent is madness.

Another comment accuses Jones of blatant self-promotion, for the article reveals nothing new about Jones’s relationship with street art, and instead seems to be a thinly veiled boast about his role in nominating artists for the Turner Prize shortlist.

And now, to bring up a blog entry Jones wrote about lazy arts reporting in September 2007, which was always going to come back and bite him on the arse. “Imagine how little news about visual art would appear in the papers,” says Jones, “if the following generic stories were banned:

  1. The most expensive work of art ever
  2. Anything about graffiti
  3. Lost masterpiece rediscovered
  4. Contemporary artists as plagiarists
  5. Art historian/archaeologist makes earth-shattering discovery Restoration stories”

Thirty-eight years ago, the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain) installed Robert Morris’s interactive artwork Bodyspacemotionthings in its Duveen Galleries, and all hell broke loose. Visitors went “beserk” playing on the walls, seesaws, stilts and tunnels, getting splinters in their bums and bruises.

Robert Morris: Bodyspacemotionthings

Photo: Tate

On May 22 this year, Bodyspacemotionthings is coming back to Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.

Assistant curator Kathy Noble told the Independent: “It was a landmark moment in Tate’s history. The idea was to encourage viewers to become more aware of their own physicality.”

Concerned art fans will be reassured to learn the new version of the work will be made with contemporary materials instead of the rough wood of the 70s.

This is a sly move on the museum’s part. Bodyspacemotionthings will doubtless be even more popular than Carsten Höller’s slides (2006), if only because of the controversy surrounding Morris’s original.

UBS Openings: The Long Weekend will run for four days from 22 May.

Ian Bruce's studio in London

The Pink Portraits by Ian Bruce

Ian Bruce is an artist and portrait painter working in London. In this video interview, which can currently be seen HERE, he talks about his latest project – a series called The Pink Portraits.

The portraits all feature people in a state of transition: a clown who has just changed into his normal clothes backstage (but still wears the face paint); a burlesque dancer whose stomach still bears the marks from her bone corset; and Ian Bruce himself as a transvestite stripped of his wig and dress, but still bearing traces of his female alter-ego, such as red nail varnish.

My Windows Movie Maker died a horrible death yesterday, so I had to put the video together in a dodgy online editing suite called JayCut – hence the poor quality and rough cutting. An improved version will be embedded here soon.

Introducing Annette Messager– my new favourite artist. Ok, I’m a little late to the table with this one, since her retrospective at the Hayward Gallery, London, opened at the beginning of March. But I have to say it’s the best exhibition I’ve seen in a long time.

Annette Messager: The Messengers

The striking image used to market the exhibition drew me into the Hayward.

Messager uses all manner of materials – soft toys, stuffed animals, fabrics, photographs and words – to create a feminine, and often strangely beautiful, body of work.

 

The eyes on this promotional poster turned out to be part of a small series, called My Trophies. Messager covers large-scale photographs of parts of the body in doodles, which are reminiscent of tattoos and children’s book illustrations.

Other works worthy of note:

  • Chimaeras – This work meets you at the door, and looks like a spooky nightmare full of evil fairies and bats with human faces.
  • My Vows (Mes voeux)– I have seen this before at the Centre Pompidou, Paris, and it still impresses me now. Hundreds of photos of body parts are hung together to form a circle. The act of layering up the photos makes the chins, ankles, noses and, yes, boobs, seem like a collection of objects.
  • Casino – A sheet of red fabric waves over glowing, aquatic blobs, as if the sea has been turned into a womb. One of the most original works of art I’ve come across.

Annette Messager: The Messengers is on at the Hayward until Monday 25 May.

Read Adrian Searle’s review in the Guardian

Pussy Power is sitting in her studio at Warehouse B16, The Old Peanut Factory, wearing a feathered eye mask and smoking a rollie. Behind her, the wall is covered in black and white photos of French actress Sarah Bernhardt. In the corner, a row of bunting made out of porn mags hangs across the biggest pair of pants I have ever seen. A cast of a pelvic bone made out of Dolly Mixtures next to them on a table. Pussy Power greets me warmly, and invites me to take my shoes off (because of the carpet) and come in.

Pussy Power

Why do you call yourself Pussy Power?

The art I make under the name Pussy Power (which includes sewing, painting, drawing, performance, writing and making ukeleles) is about trying figure out what kind of a world I’m bringing my daughters up in. It’s also about trying to figure out what feminism is, as it seems to have become a dirty word. Pussy Power embodies feminism for women who love men and have a sense of humour.

Tell me about the pants.

I have two daughters – one’s twelve, one’s seventeen – and I worked out I’ve washed over 10,000 pairs of knickers. It makes me a bit of an authority. So I got the biggest knickers in Britain, asked people to get in them and gallop up and down. They are officially the biggest knickers in Britain – 8XL, I think. I searched online and found the Big Bloomer Company, who sent them to me beautifully packaged up in red tissue paper. And I have written on them:

The thing about these Hackney Wickers
I’m told is they’re wearing no knickers
So why not try these
They come to your knees

What about the bunting?

I started off doing graffiti porn because I was interested in the fact that graffiti has become like wallpaper: people aren’t shocked by it anymore. I call it c**t bunting or the fanny banner. People say, “Oh yeah, porn is hilarious,” but let’s not get so ironic and cool and edgy that we forget these are people. I get inside the picture with these women and look out at you, laughing.

And the pelvic bone?

The pelvic bone (which is cast in clay, and covered in white sugar and Dolly Mixtures) highlights an injury I had to my pelvis when I was pregnant. I had a trapped nerve. I knew a woman who took an overdose because of the pain of it, so I’m trying to raise consciousness.

How long have you been working in this studio?

I decided last december that I wanted to get a studio and answered an ad on Facebook. I had no idea Hackney Wick had a reputation as an artistic community; I just wanted a studio. I’ve lived in Shoreditch for 8 years and watched it become more and more trendy. It pushes studio rents out of my price range. I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m part of a community of artists but it’s nice to be in an environment where you feel like anything goes – whatever daft idea you have.
 
You can read the full story of the Biggest Knickers in Britain on the Pussy Power website.

pussy.power@mac.com
www.pussypower.me.uk
www.myspace.com/pussypower_me
www.facebook.com/pages/Pussy-Power/15204671729