Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

Archive for May, 2011

Mostyn Just In…

Posted by cathedralofshit on May 28, 2011

Not only does PR Mostyn Open Prize Winners 20113 press release contain high quality gibberish, but also prompts the following…

1) is Richard Wentworth high on alcopops? “how great it is to see those 5 young creative lives flare up in a group flame – may they (and the others) burn very very bright.”
2) why can’t 3 judges actually judge and pick an outright winner without lame excuses?
3) Mr Wentworth, sculpture prof at RCA, Vasilis Asimakopoulous, sculpture graduate at RCA. Hmm.
4) Isn’t Fern Thomas, one of the winners, Karen McKinnon’s assistant at the Glynn Viv gallery?
5) Dont worry, it’s in Wales, no one gives a shit.

And, hang on, maths time. The Mostyn got nearly 1200 entries at £20 a pop = £24k

Minus the prize money = £14k

Even with 49 artists pocketing the ‘generous’ artist fee of £60 (£3k total) and with masking tape costs, a few nibbles and cheap bottled lager, that leaves £11k floating around Snowdonia.
At least they wont go short in Venice. Bring on the ash cloud!

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Experience my looming verticality!

Posted by cathedralofshit on May 24, 2011

Congratulations to David Kordansky who has compiled his press release for Art Basel by opening up his reader on critical theory and quoting randomly at length:
David Kordansky Gallery is very pleased to announce its participation at Art 42 Basel with a solo presentation by Kathryn Andrews in the Art Statements sector. Andrews focuses on the phenomenological experience of materiality, and its potential for creating systems, or economies, of representational relationships. The physical and symbolic qualities of fabricated and found objects exist in a dense matrix of cross-referentiality. Evocative of a nursery-like environment, Andrews’ project explores the legacies of minimalism and pop art from a post-feminist perspective.

Three sculptures fabricated from highly polished steel suggest children’s cribs or playpens, yet their materials––hard, cold and reflective––deny this implied use, and call to mind idealized forms that have historically been used within the contexts of minimalism and pop art. From the perspective of minimalism, the sculptures’ seriality and reduced geometry highlight ‘pure form,’ while the honed finish of polished steel refers to a pop sense of fetishized materiality. A vertical pole extends upward from one corner of each structure; hanging from these poles are clown suits rented from a Hollywood costume shop for a period of 100 years. The agreement of the rental marks the clown suit, and thus the artwork, as an active site of economic exchange.

These works are the latest in Andrews’ ongoing investigation of the potentials of the readymade, in which objects drawn from extra-artistic contexts are used to mark otherwise static sculptures with latent and/or potential histories. The readymade not only serves as a vessel through which materials are imported from the outside world, but as a conduit for pre-existing social relationships and symbolic forms. In keeping with this, Andrews has frequently turned to Hollywood prop and memorabilia shops as sources for artifacts. In sculptural terms, these objects have an everyday, even banal quality. However, when their true origins are made clear in the description of the piece, it becomes difficult to separate them from the images of popular culture that they connote.

The dissonance between object and image is of prime concern in a series of unique half-tone silkscreen prints framed in black aluminum, depicting mylar bows laid over fields of color. Andrew uses printmaking to explore the ways in which images function as symbols, and to examine how this communicative function is in turn dependent upon the image’s presence as a physical object. Though the prints themselves are flat, this quality is treated as a sculptural attribute in and of itself; the prints are often juxtaposed with three-dimensional elements, such as metal frames or pieces of foil that obscure parts of their images.

In the context of a nursery, the prints produced for this project seem to refer to birthday gifts. However, the absence of an actual gift (and by extension a gift-giver) forces the viewer to consider the material immediacy of the color and bows themselves. In the associative logic of the project, the patterning of color cues the striping of the clown costumes while the shiny depicted metal mimics the surface of the sculptures. It also creates a system of serial correspondences, in which forms and colors become components of a modular vocabulary whose grammar is repetition.

Such relationships are made particularly manifest by a large-scale work that incorporates both two- and three-dimensional elements. A mural-sized image of larger-than-life candles provides the backdrop for a polished aluminum chair; ‘seated’ in the chair is an ominous polished baseball bat. Furniture used as a staging device is a running theme in several of Andrews’ newest works, in which found and fabricated objects are perched on chairs and benches. The casual domesticity of these basic forms is juxtaposed against a range of props, like the bat, that demand to be read as symbols. The resulting tension forces symbols into a temporarily equalized relationship with familiar, utilitarian things. As a potential container for a body, the chair also suggests that the ultimate support for symbolic images is human subjectivity itself.

Inspired by vinyl wallpaper used in actual nurseries, the mural, like the clown costumes, opens up the project to contingencies beyond the context of an art exhibition. The candles might be the most symbolically active agents in the installation, provoking an exaggerated series of metaphorical readings. But their monumentality is in fact a decoy: they have been printed on the thinnest of substrates, and the very functionality of birthday candles––to mark time––is predicated upon self-destruction. This sense of implied violence is amplified further by the chair and the bat, whose threateningly upright orientation provides an uneasy visual counterpart to the candles’ looming verticality.

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I Hate Iceland

Posted by cathedralofshit on May 24, 2011

The eruption of the Grimsvotn volcano is, we are told, a work of former break-dancing champion and artist Olafur Eliasson. Eliasson is, unusually, not exhibiting in either Venice nor Basel this year and has decided to close the skies over north western Europe in protest. Our reporter at Edinburgh airport has sent us the following report: Sky News / I Hate Iceland.

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Well thanks for wrecking my evening…

Posted by cathedralofshit on May 24, 2011

Anybody else enjoy Jonathan Jones’s emotional Richard II-styleeee “I am a man, I have feelings etc” meltdown on Guardian arts blog yesterday evening? Nope, you were probably watching television or doing normal things. But not our man, Jones. He began with a review that slagged off off Mark Leckey’s Serpentine show with a stream of largely incomprehensible shouty statements about not liking green and hating Leckey. The bloggers Ortho and stodulky pointed out that this was a bit odd because back in 2008 Jonesy had raved about Leckey in a review for the same paper. Jonesy then explained that after that first review he had changed his mind and had a bit of a row with Leckey. The Guardian bloggers put two and two together and came up with, erm, four, and suggested that the “row” might have explained Jonesy’s dramatic change of mind.

Cue total breakdown from our man Jones in a series of increasingly moving blog-postings that culminated in three crazy ones which followed each other without any intervention from the other bloggers
Our favourite one was this:
Now look.
I respect comments and reply to them. But see here. I am – as you can see – in the room. I am not a distant, absent figure
And you are basically implying, unless I misread you, that I have a personal agenda for this review, it, that it is corrupt.
Well thanks for wrecking my evening”
What we want to know is exactly what room was our avuncular critic in? His front room in his boxers with a bottle of Bell’s half-drunk,bashing the keyboard through the fog of indignant tears? Who knows, but its compelling stuff. Come back Jonesy! We love you! Well we don’t really, but at least you’re not as bad as those jokers at The Observer.


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Soft drinks provided

Posted by cathedralofshit on May 20, 2011

Yep. That’ll do it.

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Final word on Ai Wei Wei and Art HK (hopefully)

Posted by cathedralofshit on May 19, 2011

Over here at CoS Towers we’ve got absolutely no desire to get into an argument about contemporary Chinese politics with anyone – and actually admire the Lisson for outlining their position on Art HK in the press release they sent out yesterday.

But – and we promise this is the last we’ll say on it – exhibiting in Hong Kong right now isn’t totally straightforward if you have an issue with China’s human right’s record. Yes, it is a special administrative region in China with a better human rights record, greater democracy and a tolerance of dissent that is absent on the mainland..But increasingly both Hong Kong-based commentators and Chinese dissidents are arguing that Hong Kong’s autonomy is being steadily eroded by Beijing. Dr Wang Dan, who was one of the leading student organiser of the 1989 Tiananmen Square was recently banned to travelling to a funeral of a dissident in Hong Kong and argued, “incident further proves that ‘one country, two systems’ is a lie, and we can officially announce the death of the system”.

His argument generated plenty of publicity. Another commentator writing in the Hong Kong Journal, Frank Ching, recently argued: “More than 13 years after Hong Kong’s reversion to Chinese sovereignty, there has been a visible narrowing of the autonomy promised to the former British colony.”

So, basically, it’s complex. This isn’t a problem if you haven’t got an issue with China’s human rights abuses – and plenty of commercial galleries haven’t. Peculiarly, it’s more of a problem for those galleries who have, to their credit, gone on the record as disagreeing with China’s human rights record and in particular, the imprisonment of Ai Wei Wei. Which goes to prove, it’s not easy having a moral compass and working in the commercial art world – good luck to those, such as the Lisson, who seem to.

Now, back to the real issues. In Brian Sewell’s fantastic new Emin review – the words thaumaturge, concupiscence, aedicula, ekphrastic, panjandrum. There’s a man that knows (and ignores) his audience. Highly recommended.

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Posted by cathedralofshit on May 18, 2011

This is a great idea. Charge artists ‘as little as’ £50 (up to £145) a week for representation and dress it up as philanthropy. The genius behind this scam, in his own words: “Samir Ceric, ‘Kingmaker’ of creative talent and the colourful founder behind Salon Contemporary (including Artist of the Week, Curator of the Month and Best of British competitions), Wolf & Badger and First Wednesdays (erm, is this a bit like First Thursdays only, erm, a day before?), now launches DEBUT Contemporary, having already discovered some of the big names of the new Young British Art movement in the past decade….”
And you thought Harry Barry was a cunt? More here, suckers:

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Why Weiwei?

Posted by cathedralofshit on May 17, 2011

It’s a misunderstanding to suggest that we were ‘calling on’ galleries to boycott the fair – although that would be an understandable position and what logically Charlie Finch’s position would lead to. We were simply highlighting that the taking part in lots of high-profile media interviews highlighting Ai Weiwei’s cause and then jetting to Art HK to capitalise on his increased notoriety might be… er… a little… hypocritical?

That said, participating in Art HK is looking increasingly like participating in a Middle Eastern arms fair and claiming the weapons you’re flogging are merely for “crowd control”…



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Ai Weiwei

Posted by cathedralofshit on May 16, 2011

The overwhelming response from Ai Weiwei’s galleries HERE.
We look forward to seeing what kind of stand they make next week at the fair. In both senses of the word.

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Brothers In Arms II, The Sequel.

Posted by cathedralofshit on May 12, 2011

Good on the Lisson Gallery, Anish Kapoor, Patrick Brill and Mark Wallinger for highlighting Ai Wei Wei’s plight. It would possibly, however, also be an idea to highlight that Ai Wei Wei’s imprisonment is not some sort of one off as some of the reports mistakenly seem to imply. He is one of scores of activists who have been detained. Others include Li Xiongbing, the Beijing human rights lawyer who has been missing since last week and Zhang Jialing, a former journalist who covered the detention of Ai Weiwei and has ben missing since April 28th.And bloggers have also been banged up – for example Liang Haiyi and Ran Yunfei. China’s detention of Ai Wei Wei is, according to Amnesty Internaional’s Sam Zarifi, “part of a wider trend of repression of lawyers, writers and government critics” that seems to correlate to Chinese nerves over a repetition of the events of the Arab Spring happening in their back yard. Whilst somehave been released – such as the lawyers Tang Jitian and Jiang Tianyong, they have been warned not to talk about their time in their own incommunicado detentions. And their willingness to go along with these instructions suggests that these detentions were harrowing.

Another related point: will any of the galleries participating in Art Hong Kong, due to open later there this month, have a think about their presence there signifies? UK galleries slated to be there include Lisson, Simon Lee, Victoria Miro, Pilar Corrias and Sadie Coles whilst international galleries include Gavin Brown, Blum & Poe, Tanya Bonakdar, Chantal Crousel and Emmanuel Perrotin. Surely instead of museum’s shutting down for one day as Kapoor suggests, a refusal to hang works in their booths would be far more effective?

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