Cathedral of Shit

has taken a well earned GAP year

Picture This

Posted by cathedralofshit on June 23, 2011

Claire Hooper has just been announced as the winner of the sea-change residency at Picture This. Is it just us, or has someone else noticed that this is the second time this year that a publicly-funded institution (which has just lost its ACE funding – we wonder why) whose director Lisa Panting is also running the commercial gallery – Hollybush Gardens – that represents this artist. Earlier in the year their artist Falke Pisano also had an exhibition at Picture This. Nepotism, conflict of interest or just clever to have your artist’s work produced and funded by an institution you run so that you can then sell it through the gallery you also run?

54 Responses to “Picture This”

  1. MoronPaley said

    There is no conflict of interest between my long years of receiving masses of ACE dosh and my running a purely commercial enterprise. I only pick the best artists and naturally what is good for my public gallery is good for my commercial gallery, it is a win win win situation for me my artist and my bank balance.

  2. am said

    They’re not quite straight. Still, difficult supporting film makers, frittering haberdashers and dumpy ‘shame’ mongers, take what you can, especially when you derive support from being on the outskirts of something anyway.

  3. Gnomemansland said

    The artist film scene has always been a hot bed of nepotism from the days back in the 1970s when the Arts Council used to hand out grants to a small and select hand picked coterie of filmmakers. Nothing much has changed with a tight knit group of people at the Lux, Film & Video Umbrella etc (many of whom have been there for donkeys years) controlling what goes on and who gets the awards. What has changed is that whereas artist film & video was once about as uncommercial and marginal as you could get it is now deeply fashionable and people likeTacita Dean make big bucks.

    • am said

      The point is not to do with alternativism, or a scene, it’s to do with the nastiness of a little gallery feathering its prickly little nest with bits of gold fished out of the public purse patently obviously.

      • Mastodon said

        Serious question, but does anyone know what specific regulations rule against this in the art market? Fine, it’s nepotism, insider trading, whatever you want to call it, but given that the art world’s one of the least regulated markets around – is there anything actually in place to prohibit it other than strong opinions and assumptions that people wouldn’t do so out of some wispy idea of morality? Seems to me that the more you look, the more of these cosy “win-win” relationships you find between public institutions and private enterprises.

    • Gnomemansland said

      The links between the subsidised sector and the commercial art world have always been murky but Picture This Moving Image Ltd is a registered charity and as such this is probably a conflict of interest in the same way that the Tate buying artworks from their board members is.

      • Mastodon said

        Nothing ever happens about though, does it? There was the big fluff a few years ago about Tate board members buying up Ofilis just before the Upper Room purchase, but in terms of actual penalties or prevention – nowt.

      • am said

        You might anyway think that a collector confronted with possibly fabric triangles/any other shapes/-cranky collaborative-moralistic-impoverished-twankyesque-drollery, pathetically quietly lurid and gentle-ickle-desparately old fashioned films (with charm), in tandem with some exhibition history would check the history (produced to support sales). You’d be bolstered by separate corroboration perhaps. Maybe an aggressive attitude is actually attractive to a sort of collector? And an amount of veering wildly from aggressive cheeky cash based posturing to prissy formality is a part of a charm. There ain’t no certainties no more, fings is permanently smudged a-coss of de lapses what is typical of society and curating, artists is all conspiring in some giant but delicately nuanced greasy but cooly smart-arsed fucking con, what’s to do wiv their practices and co-habiting other fings… woodenly: confer, her Bristol cohort and differently specialist in creative coalescing, Paul O’Neill.

  4. Derek Jarman said

    It’s the board that are culpable as much as Lisa Panting here – after all they are responsible for adhering to Charity Commission standards. Or perhaps working out that Lisa keeps giving shows and residencies to artists she represents. So hold your hands up Dr Paul O’Neill, Adelaide Bannerman, Ben Borthwick et al for waving this through.Great stuff!

  5. Gnomemansland said

    Well Serota did have to grovel a little after the Ofili affair and issue an apology or some such but I don’t think there was a penalty. The charity commission is a bit of a toothless wonder and unless someone reports Picture This to them nowt much will happen. Though will they bear the shame of being on COS?

    • Mastodon said

      Thing is, like I think Am is saying, it’s actually quite a tidy arrangement for all involved. Artist gets profile, commercial gallery benefits from the artist getting profile, collectors buy in with the security that the artist has a shoe-in to a profile building institution, and the institution gets to look like it’s right on the money by exhibiting an artist that the market is getting excited about.

      • Mastodon said

        So it’s only a problem because it’s a relatively hidden process to the 99% of the population who ask themselves how the hell all the shit that’s in our public museums and institutions actually got there. We get told it’s culture, whereas it’s actually the culture business.

  6. Mastodon said

    Am, sometimes I think your comments are copied straight from Google Translate – it’d be great to know the source language. But if you’re saying that there are some kinds of collectors that actually like to see these kinds of tidy tie-ins between a commercial gallery and a public institution, I think you’re dead right. It helps to soothe the gut reaction of how bad they feel the “work” is.

  7. switchbladescocialist said

    No need to call the charity commission, perhaps it was not cunning nepotism, just a clerical error caused by having 2 full time jobs:

    The current job application on the Picture This website states the director is paid £35K pro rata for 4 days – based on this information, that only leaves 1 day to run a commercial gallery (it may not be that hard, but fairly sure the recent art fair in Basel must have taken up a whole week at least)

    Everyone works very hard in the artworld when they not busy making smock dresses for sweet little Primrose, so how could that possibly work? By combining the two jobs into one of course.

    Stop moaning and get your applications in before the Picture This gravy train faces the Beeching Axe.

  8. Byron Getwunfree said

    The collective noun for the likes of Lisa Panting and Claire Hooper : C*nts

  9. Gifty said

    The boards of many medium/small scale organisations are usually just the Director’s mates so there is never any challenge about the graft. I do know of one institutional curator who was shown the door when it was found out they were acting as an agent for an artist they exhibited. There is one artist I know who got an very large Arts Council grant to complete a work for a public exhibition where the work was sold through a dealer before it went on display.

  10. am said

    Cos’s original point was dealt with, and issues about ‘The boards of many medium/small scale organisations’ are this blog’s natural habitat. I was making another point about an intellectual milieu: there’s a tight fit between works knocked-out at art fairs and the pretensions of artists working into or for a situation that conflates values of museum curators (at a level) with values of some collectors (at a level) – as if those contemptible values were readable off some kind of grisly wall-chart. The gallery represents all of that in fact at the entry level (witness their stand on the sub-level in Basel).

  11. Lookout said

    Heh AM don’t disagree with much of what you say in your comments above BUT you seem to think you are the moderator and arbitrator of what “the point is” – COS blog entries act as a springboard for discussion about the rot in the sector not a closed argument with only outcome.

    • Jane said

      You’re confusing defining the content of the post with saying whether the post is ‘right’ or not. Furthermore Am seems to be one of the only people on here who actually discussing things – as oppose to automatically hating anyone remotely successful or even ‘savvy’. Also, in spite of the crookedness, it’s worth mentioning that Claire Hooper’s last film was pretty good.

  12. NNG said

    In this thread:

    bitter bastards who are pissed off because they don’t know how to art world properly

    • Gnomemansland said

      So everyone who picks up on cronyism, double dealing, fraud and the general rotten state of the art world etc is really just a bitter twisted old failure watching with envy from the margins. We should apply the same logic to the bankers – after all it is only the bitter little people who didn’t know how to ride the gravy train and who came a cropper and now have to pay the full fare.

    • Byron Getwunfree said


      Bitter. Nope. Just some integrity. Of course we all know how the art world works, it ain’t rocket science my friend. But as you will learn these things have a tendency to come back to bite you. See: DickSmith Gallery, Fred, et al. Integrity my friend, you can’t buy it.

    • Byron Getwunfree said

      I have to admit that NNG’s comment it the funniest thing i have read all day even with appalling grammar. Yeah like that’s how we artists roll, innit, we know nuffin’ man. You got is sussed bro’.

  13. larry G said

    Look at all this comment! It’s almost as if people care, isn’t it?

  14. larry G said

    It’s simple. If you are on the board of an organisation, you shouldn’t be able to nominate your artists. Because this is an abuse of power.

  15. GAY JOPLING said

    Is everyone commenting here a stuckist?

  16. Jan Hammer said

    dont worry, picture this will go down the plug hole within a year, or become part of Arnolfini or Situations, where the arse licking can continue uninterrupted

  17. Hobby Rigger said

    Lisa Panting has played the oldest and dirtiest trick in the book, yes it’s completely wrong and yes it should be regulated. They are a charity
    and this action only makes Lisa Panting better off. It is disgusting and gives the art world, arts institutions and the arts funding a very bad name.
    It also gives little hope to aspiring video artists with these closed world cliques of Picture This and Lux etc. Ultimately there should be some regualtion of ANY publically funded arts organisation and Lisa Panting should hold up her hand and make an apology. Picture This really doesn’t deserve any funcding at all if this is how they choose to operate – their motivations are completely wrong and not about actually helping any artists with good work (which I am sure is what they would have originally put in their Arts Council application. Now she’s leaving maybe she could go into business with Samir Ceric and rip off loads of other artists with her bullshit.

  18. Gnomemansland said

    Putting aside the nepotism at Picture This for a moment – an interesting aside is that the Sea Change Residency was part of a collaborative venture between Picture This, Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network, and Lighthouse. These collaborations in the artists’ film & video sector are becoming very common. For example Lighthouse (part of the above consortia) has recently announced Voices of the Sea a “unique commissioning opportunity created by a partnership of Brighton & Hove based arts organisations in the UK: Fabrica, Blast Theory, Brighton Festival, Lighthouse, Photoworks, the University of Brighton and Musee de Beaux Arts Calais in France.” Each organisation presumably putting £10 in the kitty.

    Whilst some might argue that it is good to see such collaboration it is also indicative of the way in which funded organisations in the sector have in recent years colluded and controlled the production and exhibition of work by hand picking a select group of artists to support, patronise and promote. Not only that they often seek to micro manage the work being made so in Voices of the Sea “The commissions are inspired by The Boat Project by Lone Twin, beginning its maiden voyage in 2012 and visiting Brighton as part of Brighton Festival. The commissions are part of RELAY, a programme by Turning Point South East (a network of visual arts organizations). Like The Boat Project, RELAY is connected to the Cultural Olympiad 2012.” and then later still “We are seeking to commission a work which creatively signposts the route between the two locations. It may take the form of a sound-walk, it may take the form of a mobile or pervasive media project, or it may exist in another form, as defined by the artist.” You wonder ultimately why they don’t just commission themselves.

  19. Esther J said

    Given the number of comments, I am surprised neither Lisa nor Picture This have used their right to respond on this site and put the record straight. Have they been given the chance?

  20. Shibboleth said

    How the fuck is Lux a closed world clique? If you have a video -thats any good, hold on I’ll go back and underline that – thats any good- of course they want to see it and distribute, why would they not want to? Because your works so radically different from anything in their programme? you just don’t make work that the ‘art world’ gets? its too epic to grasp? its too small to fit on their monitors? what have they done to you?

    • LAZZA said

      Exactly. This is an accusation levelled at lots of organisations who open their doors to artists, but of course opening those doors means still having quality control. Therefore, being turned down from one of these actually very inclusive and brilliant organisations like LUX hurts. The sad truth is, if you are turned down, YOU PROBABLY AREN’T VERY GOOD.

  21. spoonfed said

    Great to see Lux interns on here – well done Lazza and Shibboleth just another five yaers of volunteering and arse licking and you will get a part time job yet with the Lux or another brilliant organsiation in the sector (unless of course YOU AREN’T VERY GOOD). Perhaps during that time you will do some research into the whole history of the Lux and how it operates and just who decides what work gets selected and shown.

  22. spoonfed said

    From the Lux website:
    ‘Will LUX distribute my work?

    The LUX collection is a curated collection, so all works are actively acquired by LUX staff – there is no open submission.’

  23. Jeramy_Duller said

    Yes lux interns Sibboleth and Lazza – if you knew em properly then you’d see that the clique thing is spot on!
    That’s exactly what they do – they like certain types of work and they choose only that, actually rather narrow
    by a few staff for their particular view on what video art is – which is actually rather old fashioned and increasingly
    off target.

    • Which video/film artists don’t LUX distribute that are good. Let’s name names?

      Why is the video/film they distribute old-fashioned and off target? Come on. Back it up…?

      • spoonfed said

        I’m not sure naming names of artists that Lux distribute who are crap and those that they don’t distribute that are good is that helpful (though it would be fun of course as we could all pile in and argue the merits of A versus B) it is the way the operate presently that is the problem. The Lux grew out of the ashes of the old London Film Makers Co-op (LFMC) and London Electronic Arts (LEA). The LFMC had always had an open submission process – you made something they would take it. LEA were rather picky but you could still submit stuff and they both had summer festivals in which anyone could submit work and open screenings, the LFMC staff were appointed by the membership etc. The Lux inherited the distribution catalogue of the LFMC and LEA and so picked up classic stuff like John Smith’s The Girl Chewing Gum. Since the Lux centre closed down what the Lux has been doing is plugging this old back catalogue releasing DVDs etc and adding a very select bunch of new artists to the collection (as they like to call it). They operate pretty much as a commercial gallery would, you can’t summit stuff, there is no panel or anyway for some young artist to get there stuff into the collection unless as JD points out above you are handpicked by one of the small group of curators who work there. Artists they do pick get to be Lux associates and are pushed and promoted. Almost everything they do is completely the opposite of what the old LFMC and LEA were set up for. If they were honest theory should just send back their Arts Council grant and go commercial.

      • Shibboleth said

        Aw now you’ve gone and got all grown up and reasonable.

    • Shibboleth said

      Yeah what is this crazy new stuff that make ryan trecartin look like bill viola? I wanna know! Doh! course I do. I’m interning at Lux

  24. Shibboleth said

    So whats your story Spoonfed? can’t find a distributor for your tantrum trilogy? Stick it up on YouTube and lets all have a look. And then, in my capacity as Lux Intern, I’ll sidle up to one of the big powerful honcho’s there and say “Heffe, so sorry to interrupt your conference call with David Blandy but have you seen this….’

    • spoonfed said

      ‘Tantrum Trilogy’ mmm sounds good Shibboleth – you of course avoided the main issue. In your naive half whit way you asked ‘How the fuck is Lux a closed world clique? If you have a video -thats any good, hold on I’ll go back and underline that – thats any good- of course they want to see it and distribute, why would they not want to?’ to which I quoted from the Lux site ‘The LUX collection is a curated collection, so all works are actively acquired by LUX staff – there is no open submission.’ So even a twat of the first order could work out that no matter how good or bad the ‘Tantrum Trilogy’ is it makes no difference as the Lux won’t look at anything submitted anyway, Get it now??

      • Send me your videos. I’ll look at them. I’ll give you a mark out of ten and a pat on the back and any other kind of external approval you need.

  25. Fumer said

    Wow, it’s like being in a crack house with no drugs – all the junkies start bitchin’ at each other while waiting for the dealers to show…

    Come Temple of Turd, get some fresh shit…

  26. anun said

    I was short listed for interview for this prize and I although I did not win it, I feel that the selection was made fairly, I understand that Lisa Panting was not involved with Claire Hooper’s interview.

    • Miranda Slanda said

      And did she leave the room for the duration of the Falke Pisano exhibition at Picture This?

    • Gnomemansland said

      Heh we thought this story was dead but this is great “I was short listed for interview for this prize and I although I did not win it, I feel that the selection was made fairly, I understand that Lisa Panting was not involved with Claire Hooper’s interview. ” If you are really a happy unsuccessful candidate why do you feel the selection was made fairly, on what basis can such an assertion be made just because Lisa Panting was not involved with Claire Hooper’s interview? Indeed who told you this and when? If Panting was not in the room at the time of the interview what part did she play in the short listing and the interviewing of other candidates and most importantly the post interview behind closed doors discussion? At what point did she declare her conflict of interest?

      • Miranda Slanda said

        And I presume Lighthouse and Film London took some part – colluded – in the decision?

      • Jermy Duller said

        This comment is obviously from Lisa panting as actually no one talks like this!

  27. Gnomemansland said

    See Claire Hooper has also been shortlisted for the Jarman Award

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