Andre Wallace

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Heavy Fog on the Thames

Today 24th brings the news that there will be mist and fog surrounding Tate Modern next spring courtesy of a Japanese artist Fujiko Nakaya. The first BMW Tate Live exhibition, to be an annual event, opens in spring. Live installations will be created in and above the Tate Modern's underground Tanks space, which the gallery said will "provide visitors with a distinctive location in which to engage with new art in a new way". In short more of the same old same old state art trivia. It remains to be seen whether the fog will actually appear as it failed dismally to do when another artist attempted it for the Cultural Olympics at great public cost.

Then there is Waldemar Januszczak in this weeks 27/11 Sunday Times complaining about the new design Museum. It has moved from its old haunt in a Thames warehouse to the new Commonwealth Institute in Kensington and he says has lost its purpose on the way. He has a pop at traditional craft objects, inclusion, film, video, a robot called mimus, etc etc,  all of it predicated on the global village. He writes ;" thus refugee Republic is a digital Syrian refugee camp that can be explored interactively by gliding around it with a mouse - in which parallel reality can that ever seemed like a good idea." And this ; "more offensive still because it is a crime against reason is the taste for objects designed to look as if they are not designed at all. Thus species II from a creative grouping that produces furniture that is removed from the idea of comfort, is an armchair that looks like a mountain range." 
This actually points to something which is becoming increasingly common throughout the entire culture. From news that is complete lies to cyberattacks there is more and more evidence of projects that are the result of puerile crap thinking. Usually by so called university products to whom common sense is an alien concept and cannot judge the worth of any idea. 
Laura Cumming in the 27/11 Observer is upset by physical confrontation in the work of Monica Bonvicini at the Gateshead Baltic. She concludes her assessment of the exhibition with this accurate criticism; ," And this is tiresome, in the end. Bonvicini has made some staggering works – above all, the glass-and-steel ship that shivers on the fjord before Oslo Opera House, reprising Caspar David Friedrich’s painted shipwrecks – but scarcely any appear in this show. Here she is just asking for trouble throughout, until the affront starts to grate. The drill swings violently into action, the live wires crackle, the door slams repeatedly in your face." 
The art of insulting the viewers sensibility as it were!

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."