CHRIS FREMANTLE

Still Life 18 June 2018

Posted in Still Life by chrisfremantle on June 18, 2018

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Still Life 15 June 2018 (after Durer)

Posted in Still Life by chrisfremantle on June 15, 2018

What art have I seen? Positive Geographies

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on June 14, 2018

John Blackwood and Svetlana Popova talking about Liminal engaged in the discourse of Aberdeen and the last bathhouse in Berlin.

What art have I seen? Beuys Utopia at the Stag Monuments

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 26, 2018

Joseph Beuys: Utopia at the Stag Monuments at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac.

So what is the difference between Kienholz and Beuys? Both are constructing with everyday materials including furniture and other stuff selected for symbolic import. Both are speaking to the social. Kienholz’ Nativity or Beuys’ Feldbett?

Kienholz is utilising the detritus of urban society to assemble installations that comment on religion, race and sex. Beuys is using the most basic materials to provoke our understanding of the larger significance of life – fat, felt, electricity, ovens, clay, etc.

Beuys’ work suggests the potential for social transformation. Kienhol’ work on the other hand is mostly stabbing at hypocrisy with satire.

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What art have I seen? Ed Kienholz and Speigelgasse

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 25, 2018

Ed Kienholz at Blain/Southern. Boy Ed could be offensive. The ‘Black Leather Chair’ Proposal is really ‘in your face’ nasty, especially in the wording – see here.

I rather like proposals as a format (e.g. Peter Liversidge and Lee Lozano) and I didn’t know Kienholz had adopted that strategy. I also didn’t know about pricing method – a sum for the written proposal and plaque, a little more for a drawing, and then a sum to be agreed for realising the proposal.

Also saw Speigelgasse at Hauser & Wirth. All Swiss artists, following the influence of dada…

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Still Life Monday 14 May 2018

Posted in Still Life by chrisfremantle on May 14, 2018

What art have I seen? Verity Birt’s Her Feet Are Talons; Her Hands Are Unclean

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 10, 2018

Still Life Wednesday 9 May 2018

Posted in Still Life by chrisfremantle on May 9, 2018

What art have I seen? Gi cont.

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 3, 2018

Mitchell Library contains two temporary library related projects:

A public library of and for listening by Anneke Kampman and Katherine MacBride

Gi Form

Invitation to Forms with Kate Briggs, Joseph Buckley, Francis McKee, Vivian Sky Rehberg, Sarah Tripp, Nina Wakeford and Brighton Upton-Trust

What art have I seen? Gi

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 1, 2018

Deniz Uster’s Citadel at the Briggait, along with Nadia Myre’ Code-Switching and Other Work.

Rosie O’Grady’s May Day at the House for an Art Lover.

Duggie Fields at The Modern Institute

What art have I seen? Will Maclean

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on April 30, 2018
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What art have I seen? Ross Birrell The Transit of Hermes

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on April 23, 2018
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Still Life Wednesday 18 April 2018

Posted in Still Life by chrisfremantle on April 18, 2018
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Failure (ceramics)

Posted in Failure by chrisfremantle on April 3, 2018

“Anyone working with ceramics requires a wealth of knowledge, patience, and painstaking skills, but also the ability to cope with failure—using it to grow as artists.” Read the rest here

What art have I seen? Séan Hillen

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on March 22, 2018
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What art have I seen? Séan Hillen

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on March 22, 2018
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What art have I seen? Lee Lozano

Posted in Exhibitions, Strike, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on March 16, 2018

Lee Lozano Slip, Slide,Splice at the Fruitmarket Gallery. I bought her Notebook republished by Primary Information years ago, partly because I like scores and instructions and partly because we were working on Calendar Variations and I was looking for artists working with grass.

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What art have I seen? A Global Table

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on March 3, 2018

A Global Table at the Frans Hals Museum, Haarlem, Netherlands (thanks to the snow-cancelled flight.

The sound of cicadas is evocative and the Carribean accents confirm that although I’m standing in the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem outside Amsterdam, Shelley Sacks has transported me to an island far away. I’m standing listening to a man or a woman talk about being a banana farmer and the way that global trade affects their lives and livelihoods. In front of me is a mat of pressed banana skins, positioned like a portrait. If I put my nose close I can just get the musk, though the museum’s air conditioning has done for it really. I listen to the voice on headphones. There are twenty portraits around the room. Twenty different voices. Twenty different glimpses into lives and livelihoods. In the middle is a large round table, the centre of which is filled with dried banana skins. The table and benches invite conversation. Irreverently I wonder if the museum staff ate all the bananas, or did a local baker make a lot of banana bread? Gill makes good banana bread. I eat bananas because they are a good snack and don’t give me wind. They are part of my domestic life and Shelley’s installation asks me to relate my domestic to through a series of scales to another domestic and regional, linked by a global corporate system of trade. One of the banana farmers asks the Europeans (i.e. me but probably a bureaucrat or politician in practical terms) to help the banana farmers against the American multi-nationals.

It would be great to be part of one of the conversations that happen around this table periodically.

Other works in the exhibition invite you to participate in a ritual with salt to recognise its role in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

; or tell you about the ‘policing’ of relationships between Dutch men and indigenous and mixed women in the Indonesian colonies; or explores the batik business in which the Dutch as all good merchants do took from the Africans all sorts of designs and then sold them the materials. These and other works in the exhibition all revealed or described situations, where Shelley Sacks’ piece opens up a dialogue. In her work no simple moral position is offered. Rather we are asked to engage with the lives of the banana farmers.

Sadly the complimentary part of the exhibition focusing on Food in Still Life painting had been replaced at the Museum. It had been replaced with paintings on the theme of humour. Actually this is an interesting juxtaposition. The exhibition blurb is,

Naughty children, stupid peasants, foolish dandies and befuddled drunks, quack doctors, pimps, procuresses, lazy maids and lusty ladies – they figure in large numbers in Golden Age masterpieces. The Art of Laughter: Humour in the Golden Age presents the first ever overview of humour in seventeenth-century painting.

These paintings offer a moral commentary on society. They do this with beautifully rendered scenes containing jokes and knowing winks. Sex is alluded to through visual language of hares and skewers and the audience is captured by knowing looks. Scenes are ripe with meaning and compositions juxtapose meaning in revealing ways. Not all the contemporary works dealt with their subject matter with such finesse.

What art have I seen? Hamburger Bahnhof

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on March 2, 2018

2018-03-02 14.09.09

Several amazing Robert Rauschenberg works.

Also major pieces by Joseph Beuys at the Hamburger Bahnhof including ‘Tallow’ originally made for Skulptur Projekte Munster and now in the collection. Caroline Tisdall’s description is much more evocative than the one on the archive website.

What art have I seen? Workspace at W OR M

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on February 22, 2018

Had my hair cut by Workspace’s Jimmy. Workspace has temporarily relocated to Peacock’s W OR M on the Castlegate.

Detail of Dunfermline life

What art have I seen? Mark Dion’s Theatre of the Natural World

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on February 16, 2018
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What art have I seen? The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on January 27, 2018

The Land We Live In – The Land We Left Behind at Hauser & Wirth, Somerset. Enormous exhibition curated by Adam Sutherland.

This exhibition is in parts a bit like a rural museum managed by volunteers with cases of curiosities (models of bird feathers probably ten times life size, a doorstop homage to Robert Burns, various other tchotchkis). The first room you enter had a number of artists’s projects that explored food production. Another had strange hybrid works including an applebarn doubling as a confessional. The end wall of that room had a video piece which included a shocking segment of a cow being killed with a bolt gun in an abbatoir.

Whilst it is great to see the exploration of the rural in art and craft, the curation in the end felt conventional rather than radical. It’s a question of balance – the room with the food production projects was too modest and the room with the arty installation pieces was too overblown. The shocking video was just shocking. In about 1970 Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison exhibited, as part of a group show at the Hayward Gallery, a portable fish farm. This led to a storm of protest because they proposed to kill and eat the fish at the end of the exhibition. What were catfish, a staple food in the US, were carp kept as pets in the UK. The Harrisons’ scale of production was also more interesting – enough to produce a feast. The food production in The Land We Live In might keep a family in lettuce for a couple of weeks – it’s is certainly not enough to supply the Gallery restaurant. That installation should have been a whole room producing vegetables and fish for the restaurant. How would we have felt seeing the fish swimming around and then having them killed for our lunch?

We had too much ‘big art’ and not enough big ideas.

What art have I seen? Soutine’s Portraits: Cooks, Waiters & Bellboys

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on January 3, 2018

What art have I seen? From Life

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on January 3, 2018

From Life at the Royal Academy – centred around Jeremy Deller’s Iggy Pop Life Class it also included the brilliant film by Cia Gou-Qiang – One Thousand Youngsters Drawing David.

Tended to agree with Timeout review that it was not brilliantly curated – last two rooms a bit of a guddle. Better to have more of Michael Landy’s portraits and fewer other bits and pieces.

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Tim Rollins, 1955-2017. RIP

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on December 31, 2017

I had the great pleasure to participate in a workshop led by Tim Rollins and organised at the Talbot Rice Gallery in conjuction with is exhibition. He was inspirational, a preacher for art and a leader of people.

Obituaries

Artnews – http://www.artnews.com/2017/12/27/tim-rollins-artist-activist-thrived-collaborated-dies/  

Vice – https://garage.vice.com/en_us/article/7xex4y/tim-rollins-dies-at-62

No Maintenance?

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on December 31, 2017

What art have I seen? David Bomberg at Pallant House

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on December 31, 2017

RIP Linda Nochlin 1931-2017

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on November 9, 2017

What art have I seen? Vertigo Sea

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on November 3, 2017
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What art have I seen? Dada Africa

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on October 23, 2017

At Musée de L’Orangerie ‘Dada Africa: Sources et influences extra-occidentales’. Also Monet’s ‘Waterlilies’.

What art have I seen? Nazimî Yaver Yenal at Istanbul Research Institute

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on October 4, 2017

What art have I seen? Istanbul Biennial

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on October 3, 2017

What art have I seen? Istanbul Biennial

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on October 3, 2017

What art have I seen? Jac Leirner

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on September 20, 2017

At the Fruitmarket, Edinburgh. Art made from the everyday. I think that resistance affects how long a piece of wire can connect a socket to a bulb?

What art have I seen? Soul of a Nation

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on September 9, 2017

Soul of a Nation at Tate Modern

Lorraine O’Grady, ‘Art is…’ (detail) 1983

Compelling exhibition bringing together many distinct groups of artists (East Coast, Los Angeles, Abstraction, Graphic Design, etc) tackling vital and complex questions starting in 1963 at the height of the Civil Rights Movement. Aspects such as self organising galleries are common to many artists groups. Addressing lynchings and the bombings of churches not so much. You couldn’t have a more complex exhibition on ‘representation’.

What art haven’t I seen? Martin Puryear

Posted in Exhibitions, Failure by chrisfremantle on September 8, 2017

David Braine 1940-2017 RIP

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on September 3, 2017

The Archive of Failure

Posted in Failure, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on August 16, 2017

What art have I seen? Life of John the Baptist

Posted in Exhibitions, Sited work by chrisfremantle on July 31, 2017

Faith

Andrea del Sarto’s Life of John the Baptist at the Chiostro dello Scalzo. Last here 18 years ago. Just as good.

Salome’s Dance

What art have I seen? Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden

Posted in Exhibitions, Sited work by chrisfremantle on July 26, 2017

Detail from The Emperor

I have a particular love of artists’ personal projects (Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Little Sparta, Charles Jencks’ Garden outside Dumfries) and Niki de Saint Phalle’s Tarot Garden is no exception. Quirky and deeply personal under a veneer of playground fun.

The Devil

Fascinated to read that Tinguely did a lot of the welding for the armatures and that the ceramics were largely made, fired and glazed on-site.

The Moon

What art have I seen? Piero Gilardi

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on July 20, 2017

The rules of hospital art: ‘If you can’t clean it, you can’t have it’

Posted in Maintenance by chrisfremantle on July 19, 2017

The ambitious programme for the new Children’s Hospital in Dublin here highlighted in the press with the importance of maintenance, “If you can’t clean it, you can’t have it”. Clearly this strategy aims to focus on the needs of the patient and is being led by the Youth Council. They want a building that doesn’t look like a hospital, but can they use the constraints of cleaning and maintenance creatively? For more on that thought read my blog on the London Arts in Health Forum.

What art have I seen? Collection Gori

Posted in Exhibitions, Sited work, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on July 18, 2017

What art have I seen? Hokusai

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on July 7, 2017

What art have I seen? Dreamers Awake

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on July 6, 2017

Dreamers Awake must be the largest exhibition comprising only women artists that I’ve ever seen – good on White Cube for mounting it. As the reviewers have said, Surrealism is very much associated with men but this shows that it’s a thread running through the 20th and into 21st Century.

Daniel Dennett on the Dignity of Being Wrong and Art-Science of Making Fertile Mistakes

Posted in Failure by chrisfremantle on July 5, 2017

“The chief trick to making good mistakes is not to hide them — especially not from yourself. Instead of turning away in denial when you make a mistake, you should become a connoisseur of your own mistakes, turning them over in your mind as if they were works of art, which in a way they are. … The trick is to take advantage of the particular details of the mess you’ve made, so that your next attempt will be informed by it and not just another blind stab in the dark.”
https://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2013/05/29/intuition-pumps-daniel-dennett-on-making-mistakes/

What art have I seen? Raphael Drawings

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on June 29, 2017

What art have I seen? Aleksandra Mir

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on June 28, 2017

Aleksandra Mir’s Space Tapestry: Earth Observation and Human Spaceflight at Modern Art Oxford as well as Kazem Hakimi’s Portraits from A Chip Shop (also at the Fire Station).

What art have I seen? Random Archive at Bury Art Museum

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on June 24, 2017

Random Archive at Bury Art Museum – excellent, challenging and provocative installation including the rant above. 
Drifts into the permanent collection, elegantly curated mix of new and old including Paul Scott’s ceramics. One wall has work from a life drawing class which would appear to take place in the space (evidence in the form of easels). In fact there are tables for art classes pretty much everywhere intimating a very used and animated space.

What art have I seen? Patricia Cain’s ‘Seeing Beyond’ at Gracefield Arts Centre

Posted in Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on June 15, 2017


Patricia Cain’s Seeing Beyond at Gracefield Arts Centre and the Seeing Beyond the Immediate seminar in partnership with Upland.
The exhibition emerges from a residency and includes works by Wilhelmina Barns-Graham. It explores the relationship between figuation and abstraction through the eyes and hand of the artist. 

Touring to Hawick and Glasgow.

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