Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Best in Show: 2011

This is my third annual round up of the best art shows of the year (see 2010 and 2009).

1 Mark Leckey at Printemps de Septembre
2 Friedrich Kunath at Whitecube Hoxton Square
3 Christoph Buchel's Piccadilly Community Centre
4 Thomas Hirschorn at the Swiss Pavillion at the Venice Biennale
5 Wolfgang Tilmans at Andrea Rosen (chosen by Beatrix Ruf)
6 The launch of French Riviera gallery culminating in the brilliant Les Televisions
7 Without Sanctuary (thought this was far more than exhibition and shouldnt really be judged in these confines)
8 Ostalgia at the New Museum (glimpse of Michael Schmidt U-NI-TY installationbelow)
10 The New Psychedelica at MU (I know I curated this but I was so pleased with the outcome and it was so important to me it would be ridiculous not to choose it. Still from Carlos Laszlo's film below)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I've been MIA the past month... drowning in work, conceiving two exciting new shows for 2012, installing art collections, watching Black Mirror religiously, reading my favourite book of the year (designed by my new favourite designer Brian Roettinger) 'The Secret War Between Uploading and Downloading', and playing music for drunk women (see the bottom of this post)...

I have seen a few highly recommended shows though. A great solo show 'focal-plane' from Yuri Pattison at SON Gallery in Peckham which played around with the architectural arse-end of technology showing brilliantly presented films within ageing vitrines, and large photographic prints taped to the wall from odd locations Pattison had found on his world travels. The focal plane tumblr site to accompany it was a brilliant offshoot where you can get a feel of the works.

Paul Noble's mammoth show at Gagosian Gallery was completely different - a sea of super intense drawings from his fantasy city Nobson that you could stare at for years and not see every detail. There were some great giant pink marble faeces sculptures too.

After that dose of culture here are the top ten tracks that have feature in my music for drunk women sets... I say that proudly as I think this demographic has the best taste.

1 Pony by Ginuwine
2 Erotic City by Prince
3 Heads High by Mr Vegas
4 Gucci Gucci by Kreayshawn
5 Still Dre by Dr Dre
6 Orange Juice by EarlWolf
7 Ignition (remix) by R Kelly
8 Me Ting Deh by Lady Saw
9 (Not Just) Knee Deep by Funkadelic
10 Somebody Else's Guy by Jocelyn Brown

Saturday, December 03, 2011

The Anti-Library

I went to SPACE Studios yesterdays and saw a show that made me laugh a lot. It was a project that I was asked to take part in - an Anti-Library. The starting point was this quote by essayist Nassim Nicholas Taleb: "... a private library is not an ego-boosting appendage but a research tool. Read books are far less valuable than unread ones..."

On the specially created shelving space are book (not read by artists and writers including Jamie Shovlin, Aleksandra Domanovic, Tom Morton, Oliver Laric, Cally Spooner, Tom Ellis, Mark Essen, Yuri Pattison and many others. Each book had the name of the donor inserted accompanied by a text explaining why it had been donated in the giver's own works. Some of them were bloody hilarious and it was a very interesting insight into everyone's bookshelves (who doesnt like rummaging around bookshelves??)

Particularly entertaining choices included Harry Burden donated tome on castration, Dave Hoyland of Seventeen Gallery's self help book on friends of alcoholics and Julie Verhoeven's copy of Erica Jong's Fear of Flying with the cover ripped off. My personal choice was a dusty 60s copy of Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar (ug so dull, that whole rich teen girl depression thing. As I wrote when I was younger I wanted to be Anais Nin not Plath).

The show is open under Dec 17 and I really recommend having a rummage.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Musical Mornings After

Les Televisions opening at French Riviera rocked last night... Highlights from the brilliantly installed wall of screens included Jon Nash's brilliant Casablanca drift, Sebastian Brucker's acid flash animation, Hannah Perry's trio of cut and paste mini films, Leslie Kulesh's disturbing bump and grind avatar - basically the whole thing was good and brilliantly presented. I ended up playing way too long at the Marquis of Cornwallis across the road afterwards (as Yuri Pattison's snap above proves...). God knows what the super white regulars thought of my set of dancehall, r'n'b and old soul...

As I'm obviously too exhausted to think about art I'm just going to post three songs I played at the pub that I really liked each dedicated to some of my friends there. Or you could listen to my latest London Fields Radio show on mixcloud here

For Emily LaBarge:

For Stephen Dunne:

For Leslie Kulesh:

Thursday, November 24, 2011


This is obviously the week of videos. I went to the ICA for Bloomberg New Contemporaries (and almost vomited from a performance where people were drenched in perfume wandered around the gallery space. There was no escape from the reek). Savinder Bual's Train loop video, which was basically a glorified gif as well as a smart comment on the history of cinema, was a favourite for me.

French Riviera's next show opening on Wednesday is going to sate my current obsession with moving image for a while. A temporary TV wall will feature work from people like Hannah Perry, Jon Nash, Leslie Kulesh, Sebastiaan Schlicher, Kris Emmerson etc. I may even play a few records at the end of the night...

And for a more informative video Recreative's well made films about the Converse/Dazed Emerging Artists Award include a short interview of me blabbing away looking a bit hungover.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

All Fall Down

Went to Berlin last week and was completely blown away by a video installation in an exhibition about terrorism and c/o. It was called Xanadu by Robert Boyd. It consisted of an onslaught of images of war, terrorism, violence, rioting, extremism. While surrounded by the images you stand under a pink disco ball and let your barriers down to a disco soundtrack of a remix of Madonna singing 'Dont Cry For Me Argentina' and Olivia Newton John 'Xanadu'. It was one of the best things I've ever seen. My hair stood on end watching it. My sister burst into tears. I couldnt stop repeating Xanadu for 24 hours. I think it might have been one of the most powerful artworks I have ever seen.

Sadly there isnt a good example of the film online so instead here's a second runner up from the same show. Michael Kosakowski's distubring film Just Like The Movies which splices together all the times the twin towers were featured in 80s and 90s TV and film clips. In the exhibition it was shown on a simple TV screen but here it is with live piano accompaniment.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Nicolas Provost

I went to Artissima for the first time on Nov 4 (my fuller review is online at soon). One work I saw there that I really want to flag up is Belgian artist Nicholas Provost's silent piece 'Storyteller'. He had a show at Haunch a year ago I missed (oops) but here's a clip of why the work is so good - as brilliant 3D floating flipped out piece of genius.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Bad and Just Plain Evil

I'm doing my London Fields Radio show more regularly again. In honour of Halloween, Vol 3 of the show's theme is Bad and Just Plain Evil. Enjoy...

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Current Reading List

Has my brain melted post Frieze? As a break before I go to Turin to Artissima for the first time I have been diving into art-affiliated books with gusto. This is what I am currently reading:

Capitalist Realism by Mark Fisher
Recommended by Charlie Woolley and probably one of the most delightful and spot on books I've read. Everyone should read this.

Digital Folklore ed by Olia Lialina and Dragan Espenschied
Great introduction by Cory Arcangel. There arent enough books on this vein of art... (something I hope to rectify).

Judgement and Contemporary Art Criticism ed by J Khonsary and M O'Brian
A series of essays about the purpose of people like me. There this strange flurry of focus on people who write about art at the moment. My judgement is currently being reserved on the point of it all.... still an interesting read in places

Where Art Belongs by Chris Kraus
the semiotext(e) books are so well designed that I get a bit excited just holding one of these. This is really a selection of writings on different art subjects. It isnt Bob Nickas' 'Theft Is Vision' but enjoying it anyway.

Collage Culture by Mandy Kahn, Aaron Rose and Brian Roettinger
I was lucky to do a really fascinating Q&A after a reading of the book in London. Too many ideas to mention here but the heart is an attack against a mindless regurgitation of art's past.

1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
Parts 1 and 2 of this mammoth hardback have been devoured. Part 3 will be attacked soon. A fictional respite from all this non fiction.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Frieze Top Ten 2011

After seeing two different fairs, around 25 shows and some online art TV these are my highlights of Frieze 2011

1 LuckyPDF for Frieze Projects (a still of me karaoking away in Takeshi Shiomitsu's project above on day 2). Felt so fresh when you were there watching it happen, not like a fair at all.

2 Oliver Laric and On Value at Seventeen gallery

3 Structure and Absence at White Cube Bermondsey Street (esp for brilliant essay by Craig Burnett that accompanied it)

4 Marlene Dumas at Frith Street Gallery
(Image Marlene Dumas Forsaken 2011)

5 Phyllida Barlow at Hauser and Wirth Piccadilly (not strictly a Frieze opening but saw it that weekend and damn it was good)

6 Josephine Meckseper at Timothy Taylor Gallery

7 Des Hughes 'Angry Pins' at the Frieze Sculpture Garden

8 Adam Helms at Marianne Boesky's booth at Frieze

9 Sunday Fair - especially Christian Jankowski at Proyectos Monclova and Bianca Brunner at Boltelang

10 Raphael Zarka at Bishoff Weiss

And my prize for best booth goes to Ibid Projects booth at Frieze who ripped out the entire interior of their old gallery and rebuilt it in the fair!

Converse/Dazed with The Whitechapel about to emerge

The exhibition is up - and I think Freire Barnes did an incredible job on the install. For some glimpses of the show which is open until October 23 look here. I really support and admire all five artists in the shortlist (the winner will be announced tonight): Gabriele Beveridge, Ellie Harrison, Bruce Ingram, Sam Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski, Richard Parry (the latter whose image is above).

Monday, October 10, 2011

Berlin Signing In

Cecile B Evans (who did a performance in a sex kino in Berlin that I was very sad to miss last week) created this video piece which I think is amazing. This David Lynch style slow mo sign song is a cover of the song beneath it...... genius

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Frieze Week ahoy

Frieze week is about to begin. Obviously there are tons of things on every single night and I'll write a round up at the end on my thoughts. However these are some open for all options to come to:

Sunday 9 - Thomas Dozol 'I Is Now' @ White Cubicle Toilet Gallery at The George and the Dragon 8-11pm

Thursday 13 - Seana Gavin 'Alternate Dimensions' @ B Store 630-830pm
(Image Seana Gavin 'Lost in Space' above)

Saturday 15 - Oliver Laric and On Value @ Seventeen Gallery 6-8pm

Also check out Paul Pieroni at Lucky pdf at Frieze itself on Thursday (or enjoy all online), Cory Arcangel at Lisson Gallery and definitely visit Sunday Art Fair.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Video of the Year

I went to the Printemps de Septembre in Toulouse last week. I liked Mark Leckey's installation so much that at one point I started having an almost drug-like reaction in front of the video. The video 'Out Demons Out' was at the heart of the project, though the sound felt very different in the space. For the rest of the layout you'll have to go see the show. The wall texts are below.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Open Sesame, Open Source

I did a talk last night for Its Nice That magazine on open source art projects, alongside amazing graphic designer Ken Garland. Its was really enjoyable and enlightening (and I'm never going to look at political graphics in the same way again).

In hommage to the open source sense of collaboration and information access here is a list of all the links and subjects I discussed:

Roland Barthes ‘The Death of the Author’ 1968

Hennessey Youngman on Relational Aesthetics

Introduction to (1994-1999) by Natalie Bookchin and Alexei Shulgin

Olia Lialina 'My Boyfriend Came Back From The War' 1996

Douglas Davis' The World's First Collaborative Sentence' 1994

Natalie Bookchin 'Mass Ornament' 2009

Graffiti Research Lab at Ars Electronica, Linz (complete with a dose of Alicia Keyes)


Oliver Laric 'Missile Variations' 2009

Aleksandra Domanovic 'Nineteen Thirty'

Thursday, September 15, 2011

If I wasn't here I'd be there

If I was in Geneva I'd go to HARD HAT to see this HR Giger show.

If I was in New York, I would go to Maccarone to see this Bjarne Melgaard show with work by William L Pope etc which opens Saturday night. (I have a big thing for Shelley Duvall post childhood)

Monday, September 12, 2011

3 things in London this week

1) Mike Kelley at Gagosian Britannia Street
(Photo of Kandor 10B (Exploded Fortress of Solitude) (interior view), 2011, by Fredrik Nilsen above)

2) Paul McDevitt at Stephen Friedman
(La Ligne Claire, 2011)

3) Rhododendron at SPACE studios

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Niall O'Brien

Niall O'Brien and I collaborated on a four postcard art project for Abe's Penny which is just beginning to be circulated. Subscribers to the project get a postcard a week in the mail (though they are also archived online which I'll collate here). Niall's brilliant work is on show in NYC at No 10 Gallery (it opens Tuesday Sept 13).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Top 10: Editions

I spend way too long online daydreaming about editions to buy... so just to make things even more difficult I thought I'd share my top ten reasonable online art purchases (£60 even), in no particular order. I know there's a lot of monochrome...

1 Jack Strange 'Boneless' for the Zabludowicz Collection above.

2 Jake and Dinos Chapman 'I do not recall distinctly when it began, but it was months ago I' from Counter Editions

3 Marlene Dumas 'Faceless' for ICA

4 Matthew Chambers 'Untitled (Kane)' at 2nd Cannons

5 Brion Nuda Rosch 'Mask on Mask' for Artspace

6 Paulina Olowska 'Rosellini Edition' from Camden Arts Centre

7 David Noonan 'Untitled' for Chisenhale Gallery

8 Boo Saville 'Ghost' for Other Criteria

9 Mike Nelson ' Towards A Non-Denominational Altar' for Tate

10 Rachel Harrison 'Chanel No 82' for the Whitechapel Gallery