11 July 2011 § 2 Comments
Amazingly I have now been blogging my way through the London art scene for a whole year now. I thank all those of you – some 20,000 – who have bothered to read my assorted ramblings.
Meanwhile, thanks to the nice people at WordPress, there are all sorts of reports and analyses to discover what the great British public (clearly in this case a notch above the average!) really are interested in. Which blogs were most read, the search terms you used to find the site and what you had for breakfast? I shall reveal all….
OK, not your breakfasts, but you get my drift – there is an awful lot of analysis available and there are all sorts of statistical traps to tumble in to, the chief one being that any ‘visitor’ analysis reflects what I have actually written about eg: Marc Quinn would not be on the list because I did not write about him. Another problem is that even if I wrote about ‘Picasso’ daily who who click my blog amongst the zillions of Picasso search results? Treat the ‘charts’ below with caution but you never know they may actually reveal something?
1. Most visited and searched of the year, by a mile, was Pordenone Montenari, an unfortunate recluse who was rocketed in to the news by an Indian fund manager who thought that he could make a quick buck by promoting him as a newly discovered genius – he isn’t (image above).
2. I spent a couple of spare hours compiling a brief list of art-related humorous quotes and jokes. Sadly it trounced many deeply considered blogs of serious critical analysis and was second most searched. Oh well…
3. Amazingly Wolf Vostell came in third. I wrote just one feature about him and commented that he was sadly ignored in the annals of post-war art. Obviously not by many hundreds of you! Exhibition curators take note…
4. Ah, then comes the first contemporary artist – clearly it will be Emin, Hirst or Banksy perhaps? No, it is Eugenie Scrase, the oft- ridiculed winner of TV’s School of Saatchi. Ignore the power of TV at your peril. Worth a flutter if she ever gets a solo gallery show.
5 & 6. Perhaps we shall now get on to some serious art? Nope. Next is Ben Wilson the ‘chewing gum artist’. Well, he is quite interesting. Picasso slips meaninglessly in at 6th before the next half-dozen places. These are taken by contemporary artists of which I have featured literally hundreds, many of them mentioned numerous times. I have covered all the emerging artists championed for example by Saatchi and the top commercial galleries. Are these the ‘cream’ of those featured? Is too little being written about them? Should we take more notice of them in the future?
9. Alison Jackson. Hilarious and sometimes disturbing photos that ‘depict our suspicions’. Wry comments on our relationship with celebrity.
10. Wangechi Mutu. Striking paintings and collages referencing cultural identity.
11. Michael Fullerton. A brilliant show at Chisenhale and with work in British Art Now 7, his star is rising fast.
12. Following closely behind was Ida Ekblad, young and inventive Danish multi-media artist.
13. Clare Woods paints the strange, dark world of urban undergrowth.
Following close behind are Littlewhitehead and Toby Ziegler. A little farther back is Damien Hirst – perhaps surprising he’s not higher, but then again he does get rather a lot of column inches written about him.
Biggest surprise? Perhaps the fact that Tracey Emin is not on the list – or in fact even in the top 50 artists – despite the fact that my Love is What You Want Hayward review appears on the first couple of pages on a Google search and that I have featured her regularly when in contrast eg: Olivier and Ekblad I featured just once. Emin perhaps is not what you want?
So there we have it. After a year of careful and deep intellectual musing on the complexities of the contemporary art scene what you really were most interested in were an Italian recluse and a few jokes. Now where did I hear about that one legged, reclusive, dwarf, artist?
3 December 2010 § 2 Comments
Following on from a similar look at the Saatchi Gallery’s Newspeak Part 1, here is an overview of the critics verdicts on the artists featured in Part 2 – both positive and otherwise. Sadly analysis fairly limited in scope due to relative absence of critical reviews of the show. The favourites are at the top of the list, the clunkers at the bottom, with about twenty artists ignored entirely.
Dick Evans has produced a dark brooding wave of black silicon carbide, reminiscent of Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa. Toss in a crushed can and some fag ends and it has an undeniably ‘dark brooding aura’ loved by Metro and the Mirror. The Telegraph use it as their leading image.
Anna Barriball aims to provoke mystery in the familiar. She succeeds. A wardrobe is covered in black tape – it becomes a memory or void. A door is covered with tracing paper, repeatedly rubbed ‘broods with an ominous glamour.‘ (Independent).
Anthea Hamilton’s assemblages extract the cubist elements from imaginary works to reveal them in their 3D strangeness. They work quite well and the Independent loved them, the Telegraph illustrated them.
Idris Khan’ s photographs overlay multiple images such as Becher’s iconic water towers to create impressionistic prints ‘amazing in their depth’ (Mirror). Delicate images have been created from soulless objects.
Anne Hardy photographs fictional scenes carefully built from scratch. Littered with ephemera they create an elaborate narrative of events, place and time. Mysterious and captivating, I agree with the Mirror’s approval.
Toby Ziegler ‘remakes a Seurat landscape … for the computer age’ (Telegraph). His geometric landscapes, devoid of humanity feature star-shaped leaves fall from pixelated trees. Every Saatchi visitor stopped, stared and photographed. Genuinely eye-catching.
Tessa Farmer in Swarm has created a glass case full of insects, which on closer inspection are ‘elaborately constructed fairies battling garden insects’ which the Mirror wonders are just bits of craft that has not yet reached the guft shop. Rather cruel – especially as it was chosen as the articles leading image. One up to Tessa I would say!
Jonathan Wateridge’s oversized canvases of plane wrecks, Sandinistas and astronauts play on the accuracy of traditional paintings whilst adding contemporary elements, somewhat as Ged Quinn, but were criticised by the Mirror for ‘not going far enough.’ Their physical presence and easy interpretation will nevertheless make them popular with the public and no doubt we will see his work sell strongly at auction.
Alexander Hoda creates assemblages of junk which are covered in black latex to – well – to something. Unfortunately Hoda does not really seem to know himself – the artists comments in the Saatchi guide are a mish-mash of different ideas including (but not only) ‘exploring relationships, desires, and urges, to perceive them in different contexts rather than something that’s conditioned to be guilt-laden or perverted.’ Pardon? They left the Independent, and me, rather cold. Metro concurred as did the Mirror – at length!
Carla Busuttil gets the ‘wooden spoon’ for ‘total lack of talent’ from Brian Sewell at the Standard. It is hard to argue. The deliberate lack of draughtsmanship or painterly efforts do not seem to have any real aim or purpose other than to provoke.
There we go – all rather underwhelming. Let us now look eagerly forward to the British Art Show , currently at Nottingham until 9 January 2011 and from thence moving onward to Plymouth, Glasgow and London. Held every five years it hopes to be an overview of the development of British Art. Early reviews seem to be good – personally I am itching to see Christian Marclay’s The Clock, where some three thousand film clips featuring the time are collaged in a compelling 24 hour film.