newspeak at saatchi – who do the critics love?

6 August 2010 § Leave a comment

The agony is over, here is what you have all been waiting for. As promised yesterday this is the result of my scrupulously unscientific survey to discover which artists shown at Newspeak (part 1), were most highly – and poorly – regarded by the critics. Saatchi has chosen his top artists in the UK, and here are the critics top nine of those. So this is la creme de la creme? See what you think.

1 William Daniels (5). Paintings of his own still-lives that have been themselves created with paper and household bits and pieces. They question originality, authenticity and cultural worth. ‘Outstanding’ (Standard). ‘Heartfelt and uncanny’ (Independent). ‘Delightful and very, very collectable’ (me!).

2.Littlewhitehead (4). It Happened in the Corner. A group of life-sized hoodies gather threateningly, backs towards us, in a  corner of the gallery. ‘Ominous and unsettling’ (Guardian).  Personally I ignore  hoodies gathered in corners and this time was no exception.

3= Ged Quinn (3.5). Allegorical landscapes in the style of Poussin/Lorrain containing strange references from recent history. ‘Thought-provoking, witty and multi-layered’ (Guardian). These works allow repeated close examination and have great appeal.

3= John Wynne (3.5). An army of loudspeakers occupy a whole gallery, building in to a monumental pile in the corner. A pianola plays its punched card at ultra-slow page and random sounds are interspersed in the soundtrack. A delicate balance between order and disorder, both visually and aurally, that is totally captivating.

5= Eugenie Scrase (3). Well who would adam and eve it? The School of Saatchi winner has slipped in with her ‘readymade’ park railings that bend under the imagined impact of a lump of tree-trunk. Brain Sewell in the Standard hits the nail on the head when he says ‘wait and see’  whilst the Guardian agrees –  is she a ‘Duchampian magpie or a total chancer?’ She is definitely a very lucky girl – will it hold?

5= Hurvin Anderson (3). His large canvases flirt between abstraction and figuration. There is a sense of disorientation and displacement and they ‘evoke colour and space in a way that recalls Peter Doig’ (Independent). I can already see these on the wall at Christies in a few years time!

7= Barry Reigate (2). Cartoonish paintings with Basquiat, Koons and Walt Disney all rolled into one. Messy, undeniably eye-catching but a bit ho-hum.

7= Goshka Macuga (2). Mme Blavatsky (a 19th century theosophist) floats, parlour-trick style, above two chairs. To quote the Saatchi, she ‘..emits a transendental aura, channelling the dark art of inspiration from beyond’. Macuga is a well-established artist who does not need our help, and with this waste of space she wont get it!

7= Rupert Norfolk (2). With Guillotine has ‘rendered duplictous a machine designed for cutting things in two… little short of genius’ (Independent). Also has a neat checked rug with trompe-l’oeil creasing.

Please see next post for the bottom of the chart!

The Publications were: The Times, Sunday Times, Independent, Guardian, Standard, FT and Daily Telegraph. The number of positive reviews to a maximum of 7 are shown in brackets. I will update the chart after Newspeak (part 2) opens at the end of October.

If you liked this post please make a comment or like it. If you like the blog please subscribe for regular updates (top right of page). Many thanks! akuta

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