The Artists Colouring Book of ABC’s launched at the Serpentine Gallery

13 December 2013 § 1 Comment

I dropped in to the Serpentine Gallery last night for a charity auction event in support of  the Kids Company Charity. A veritable who’s who of top contemporary artists were all persuaded to each donate a drawing representing a particular letter of the alphabet (the full list is below).

Grayson Perry

Grayson Perry produced a plethora of ‘P’ objects in a typically witty sketch, Harland Miller a wicked Devil cartoon, Tracey Emin lazily scribbled a cat (representing A for Animal – what?) Jake and Dinos Chapman went wild with O’s – in a design that also featured on hostesses dresses – and Keith Tyson‘s neatly drawn treasure map featured a prominent X (of course!)

Keith Tyson

Paula Rego‘s excellent contribution was a dark, contorted monkey whilst my money would have gone on bidding for a colourful Gillian Ayres or a great work from Joseph Kosuth – a ‘G’  with another ‘G’ in a thought bubble.

Gillian Ayres Festival

The end result was The Artists Colouring Book of ABC’s a fun book for adults and for children to approach the alphabet through an exciting interplay with art. Each original work was auctioned either by Sotheby’s guest auctioneer Henry Wyndham or offered in a silent sealed auction.

Jake & Dinos Chapman

Hopefully the end result was a success for the charity although the rent-a-crowd (from  the event planners who very kindly donated their time) to me seemed to consist of rather more B list wannabes out for a party than art collectors?

Serpentine Gallery

The book would make a great Christmas gift for parents who want to display their arty credentials amongst fellow parents or a cool adults gift, especially in the £250 boxed limited edition version that includes a Chapman Brothers editioned print!


The Artists Colouring Book of ABC’s  (buy here)

Size: 265 x 365 mm, 60 pages, 200gms. Paperback. RRP: £15.99

Charlotte Colbert, Alix Janta and Lauren Jones. A collaboration between AlteriaArt & Humpty Dumpty Publishing

A is for Tracey Emin
B is for Fiona Banner
C is for Alex Katz
D is for Harland Miller
E is for Chantal Joffe
F is for Gillian Ayres
G is for Joseph Kosuth
H is for Betty Woodman
I is for Gary Hume
J is for Pietro Ruffo
K is for Cathie Pilkington
L is for Mat Collishaw
M is for Paula Rego
N is for Keith Coventry
O is for Jake & Dinos Chapman
P is for Grayson Perry
Q is for Bob & Roberta Smith
R is for Gavin Turk
S is for Rachel Howard
T is for Polly Morgan
U is for Georgie Hopton
V is for Maggi Hambling
W is for Paul Fryer
X is for Keith Tyson
Y is for Yinka Shonibare
Z is for Marc Quinn

fiona banner flies in to tate britain

4 August 2010 § Leave a comment

The Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain have in the last few years paid host to some excellent sculptural commissions and they are always well worth a look. Last year the glossy black aluminium tubing of Eva Rothschild’s Cold Corners bounced around floors and walls, lightly but effectively filling the space. This summer, and until January 2011, the galleries are home to the latest works by Fiona Banner. Entitled Harrier and Jaguar they are her largest yet and occupy the gallery in a wholly different way.

The Harrier is suspended nose-down from the ceiling. On close inspection faint hand-painted feathery traces evoke its namesake – the harrier hawk. This particular bird of war clearly has been captured and trussed, ready for plucking and the pot. The Jaguar meanwhile has been stripped and polished. It lies belly-up, helpless and trapped, the reflections acting as a moving mirror of our ourselves and the surrounding space.

It is hard to put in to words the feeling that these giant planes evoke as you walk around the space. One moment they seem imposing, large and frightening before, from a different angle you suddenly realise that they look relatively small, comfortably contained in what is after all just a rather grand hallway.

One soon realises that it is this duality of experience that emanates throughout the display. There is a simultaneous repulsion and attraction in delicate balance, which shifts by degrees as we move around the gallery. After all these are fighter jets, built with one very specific purpose in mind, and yet there are here displayed for us to view – helpless, emasculated, strung up and laid out – as works of art and objects of beauty. The Jaguar reflects our gaze. We are not only looking at the object , but are inseparable from it. Unable to disassociate ourselves we are implicit in its very purpose and meanings. The difficulty in defining the feelings evoked is exactly what Banner had in mind, she says “this work is more about how people react, rather than a big black and white statement.”

It makes for uncomfortable viewing at the moments we observe these amazing objects for what they are – killing machines. At other times you marvel at their sheer aesthetic beauty. It seems appropriate to recall Marcel Duchamp‘s 1912 comment to Constantin Brancusi the sculptor, as he admired an elegant wooden airplane propeller “It’s all over for painting. Who could better that propeller? Tell me, can you do that?”.  Quite.

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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