Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

Archive for October, 2009

Fools in old-style hats and coats

Posted by cathedralofshit on October 29, 2009

Away from the metropolis plod has finally found an artist to prosecute. Graham Ovenden cofounder (with Jann Haworth and Peter Blake amongst others) of the hateful, reactionary ‘Brotherhood of Ruralists’ , has recently pleaded not guilty at Truro Crown Court to 16 counts of making indecent images of children and two counts of possessing 121 indecent photographs and pseudo photographs of children etc. Ovenden’s ouevre has long attracted the attention of paedophiles and policemen in equal measure as they feature sexualised depictions of prepubescent girls. They also attracted curators at the V&A, The Tate and the Metropolitan who stupidly bought them some years back.

The images found by police included Photoshop manipulations hidden in a file labelled ‘destroy it.’ Ovenden’s defence to the police during interview was a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: ‘it is but skin and film, an ulcerus place, while rank corruption lies within’. Nice!

Ovenden has been taunting ‘the authorities’ for years. He was last investigated in the early nineties when officers from the Obscene Publications Squad of the Met ‘busted’ what they believed to be a major child pornography ring (the aforementioned Brotherhood of Ruralists). Ovenden was collared with 28 boxes of negatives, 67 videos and a large quantity of photographs. Evidence of his and his peers tiresome carry-on were diluted with VHS episodes of the BBC period drama ‘Little Dorrit’, ITV’s ‘Miss Marple’ and ‘Star Trek II’ along with photographs by George Bernard Shaw and a portrait of the Archbishop of Canterbury by that notorious nonce Lewis Carroll. A petition in his defence was then signed by Sir Hugh Casson (Prince Charles’ watercolour tutor), Laurie Lee (best known for his book ‘Cider with Rosie’ – his own euphemism for adolescent sex), Peter Blake (yawn) and Lucinda Lambton (descendant of Pocahontas and wife of fascistic journalist Peregrine Worsthorne). A successful prosecution seems likely in the current climate of moral panic. Wonder who’ll support him this time?

Ovenden’s daughter (and subject before she developed breasts) is Emily of the ‘Mediaeval Baebes.’


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For Immediate Release.

Posted by cathedralofshit on October 29, 2009

A suggestion from a reader (wow – readers! How times change).

Press releases. Now, not to step on the toes of the formidable BANK and their Gallery ‘FAX-BACK’ service, but this reader sent us a suggestion to pluck a few of the worst press releases out there, and flag ’em up…

And I quote from said reader:

“i know its shooting fish in a barrel, and its a bit cruel to pick apart the writing style of some unpaid intern- but what about a top 5 awful press releases?
This one is truly abysmal then again so is the show.

Keep up the good work


So, send them in – we’ll form a list. Perhaps a prize to all those who send in shocking Press Releases? A fortnight for two in Peckham? Second prize, a one week internship at Museum 52.

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Btw, BTW, FYI, Fyi, fyi, wtf, Wtf, WTF?

Posted by cathedralofshit on October 29, 2009

All this moaning about wasting money on art in times of recession – get over it we say!
I mean it’s not as if the beloved Arts Council spunk one million pounds a year of taxpayers money on an Institute that hasn’t had a director for a year, has had three changes of the way its initials are capitalised over 10 years and has a programme which can at best be described as dodgy on the occasions when they deign to hold exhibitions. Oh, my mistake, it does!
Iniva, which was recently inIVA and before that INIVA (re-branding’s not easy and it sure ain’t cheap) continues to plod along doing “exhibitions, publications, multimedia, education and research projects, designed to bring the work of artists from culturally diverse backgrounds to the attention of the widest possible public.” Its current show is N.S.Harsha who has recently been seen at the Serpentine and is currently enjoying a solo show at Victoria Miro – just the type of marginalised, little-seen artist who is the public don’t often get to see. Unless of course they’ve visited the Serpentine or Victoria Miro recently that is.
It almost makes you want to see Ed ‘Slasher’ Vaizey in.

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And the Award Goes To….

Posted by cathedralofshit on October 27, 2009

Matthew Higgs.
Now, we like Mr Higgs, don’t get us wrong – his slightly discomfiting way of talking about art, his programme, and the giant leg up he gives young artists.
But we’re quite excited by something that, really, should make us spit venom. The The First Annual Art Awards at the Guggenheim Museum in association with White Columns is an art awards ceremony modelled on the Oscars. Ain’t that enough to make you weep? It’s also a work by Rob Pruitt. And I’m crying again.

We wanted to hate this far more than we do – but categories have good and worthy nominees, and some great shows have been selected. You can see the nominees here.

Whilst we’re happy to get swept along in a little congratulatory behaviour (honest, we’re already rootin’ for our favourites and getting involved. Best artist… Mary Heilman? Dan Graham? Louise Bourgeois? Urs Fischer?), some elements make us do a little bit of sick. Awards presented by Nate Lowman and Mary-Kate Olsen? Gag. Sponsored by Calvin Klein (cue unsavoury thoughts about Lifetime Achievement Award winner Kaspar König in a pair of CK Briefs). Greugh.

How about an award for the “Best Sporadically and Often Factually Incorrect Blog”. We reckon we’d be in with a chance….

Whilst we’re on this subject (of us) – it’s been suggested we have more pictures. Here’s out first. It’s Biesenbach – Curator of the Year nominee, trying to win his category with a 100 yard hypnotic stare. Look away before you turn to stone!
Klaus Biesenbach

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Artists Taking The….

Posted by cathedralofshit on October 27, 2009

Ding ding!
Despite the strangely ominous tone of the Olympic handover ceremony from Beijing to London which involved a special London double-decker that opened its bat wings to reveal several dancing dwarves and David Beckham, the Arts Council/Cultural Olympiad joint commitee has leapt on the 149 bendy-bus to hell once more.
Well sort of.
The London section of the junior-school-prize stylee titled ‘Artists Taking the Lead’ involves the roofs of 40 bus shelters which will present the creations of busgoers previously handed LEDs. This means that on your way home you can not only reflect on why you haven’t got a proper job that would allow you to afford a taxi, but you can also look at the terrifying and insane visual expressions of the rest of London’s bus-going constituency. It’s fair to say that the winning artists, Alfie Dennen and Paula la Dieu, were the outsiders in a list that contained heavyweights Martin Creed and Nitin Sawhney. At least we don’t have to listen to some postmodern Asian tabla or see Creedy’s paper balls. And Alfie and Paula are sweet and upbeat and write nice things on the Arts Council’s microsite.
And yes, we don’t really give a toss because we take taxis everywhere – but good luck to the rest of you.

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Friends in high places…

Posted by cathedralofshit on October 20, 2009

There have been some reports of upset over this year’s Frieze booth prize award. Every year a gallery wins a £10,000 award for the best stand. Simple. The prize, judged by Peter Eleey (Curator at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis), Susanne Gaensheimer (Director of the Museum fur Modern Kunst, Frankfurt/Main) and Margot Heller (Director of the South London Gallery, London) was awarded to multi-millionaire Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn.
Sources of consternation cite the fact that the prize was allegedly awarded on the strength of the Hammons work in the stand. However, Salon 94 doesn’t even represent Hammonds, so the £10k gift, small change to Greenberg, was essentially awarded to a millionaire selling work they’d had to buy directly from the artist. Oh dear….
The work sold for a cool £1.5 million.

However, the plot thickens. Another version of Flight Fantasy, the work in question, is also owned by the Walker, where Peter Eleey is curator.

Also, gallerists commented on Gaensheimer being glued to her phone during judging. That’s right, CoS is here to point out bad manners and general rudeness too….

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Oiticica foul play?

Posted by cathedralofshit on October 20, 2009

We were very sad to hear that fire has destroyed more than 1000 Helio Oiticica works last week.
Some rumours since the news broke are that foul play was involved – possibly an insurance scam, or very simply just shoddy care of the collection.

All that remains is that which is on loan and in collections. In other words very little.

Very sad….

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Anita Zabluwhatever

Posted by cathedralofshit on October 20, 2009

We are LOVING Anita Zabludowicz’s blog. She’s started adding ‘snaps’ to it, which adds infinitely to the complex texture of her literary skill.
Originally, we wrote a hilarious and clever little piece on her content, spelling and punctuation disabilities (is it a disability? Can we get one of those natty little parking passes for spelling errors?), but in the end nothing beats just READING it.

Go on, dive in. I hope when you climb out you don’t feel too dirty.

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Stop! Frieze! etc etc

Posted by cathedralofshit on October 20, 2009

We had a great time at Frieze. Oh we love Frieze… all that harsh lighting… the look of fear in gallerists’ eyes…
Are they going to lie about sales this year, “it’s been Amaaaaazing”, or will they dejectedly look at their feet and say “it’s been, y’know, okay. We’ll probably sell works after the fair”? And then weep.

It seemed the American collectors were returning, and perhaps this will herald back the American galleries again for next year.

We don’t have much gossip from the Fair as we were mostly drunk, away, or busy. We did enjoy the slight frenzy and disbelief brought on by the publication of Art Review’s fun but interminably ridiculous Power 100 issue.
Regardless of who was at what number, the sense of “It’s silly really and means nothing what number am I at?” hovers around those in the list.
We’d like to see it manifest in a different way. A literal physical way. Arm wrestling perhaps? Our money is on Maureen Paley (thousand yard stare) or David Kordansky (pumped, man). Or maybe Jay and Larry (err, just pretty big men). Perhaps HUO could consider a 24 hr wrestling match for his next Serpentine snore-along…?

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Zoo roundup….

Posted by cathedralofshit on October 17, 2009

We finally made it yesterday to Zoo, previously the younger fair held at the Royal Academy. This year it had moved to more spacious surroundings in the East, in three old warehouses, which were decidedly Manolo-unfriendly.

Zoo this year was a slightly confusing mix of curated exhibitions by some of London’s not for profit organisations and former Ancient and Modern director Rob Tufnell, who is forming a solo career, leaving Andrew Ridgely to run the gallery. The stands were chock full of what one collector described as ‘a return to being able to find some real bargains’. The solo setion was a little confusing and the quality was questionable.

One highlight was seeing Bistrotheque’s David and Pablo manning their own coffee stand. As they apparently had all week. It’s nice to see the bosses getting their hands dirty, and we’re sure, knowing the prices of their cocktails, that it’s not because they can’t afford the staff….

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