Andre Wallace

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Great Expectations?

First off this piece of hubris has hit the press this week - we are informed that at the Venice Biennale 2017 we will see:
The exhibition, which will open to the public Sunday, 9 April 2017, marks a new stage in the history of Palazzo Grassi and Punta della Dogana: for the first time, the two Venetian headquarters of the Pinault Collection will be entirely handled by a single artist. This is the first major exhibition dedicated to Damien Hirst in Italy since his retrospective in 2004 at the National Archaeological Museum of Naples." 
Also in the realm of unrealistic hubris, there was an article in the Sunday Times magazine of 13th November concerning the great gallery building program for second rate towns and why most of these have failed dismally. There is no simple answer to the problem as to why the Turner Contemporary in Margate is succeeding (apart from tourists) whilst the Public in West Bromwich went down the drain, the Hepworth in Wakefield is in financial trouble as is the Middlesborough Institute of modern art. The article however centres upon the financial plight of the New Art Gallery in Walsall which cost 21million and is likely to loose it's £430,000 subsidy from the cash strapped council. Rosie Millard writes, " Maybe the people of Walsall need reminding that in order to save their world class gallery, they need to patronise it. The council is to announce it's decision within weeks. And then there will be people crying over Wasalls peerless array of Monets Modiglianis and Picassos." 
So much for misplaced and misconceived economic regeneration courtesy of modern art. 

This week also draws attention to the Paul Nash exhibition at the Tate Britain which has been covered by all the usual commentators.  Waldemar Januszczak writes : "Nash becomes a typical British beachcomber, finding strange concurrences among pebbles, the bones and the driftwood. How determinedly he searches for the the transportive ecstasy that turns the ordinary into the extraordinary." Reminds one of the joke about the new student art teacher who put out a still life group in front of a class of 15 year olds to be greeted with a firm vociferous protest : " We done them shells already miss!".

Laura Cumming writes; " Everything Nash paints has that curious timelessness. The aeroplanes in his most famous masterpiece Totes Meer could almost be old ships  but for the markings or frozen waves but for a solitary wheel...... The picture was painted in 1940-1 but it could be set in a nuclear winter."

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