CHRIS FREMANTLE

What art have I seen? Everybody in the Place

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 11, 2019

Jeremy Deller’s Everybody in the Place, an Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992 at The Modern Institute

Busy for a sunny (taps aff) Saturday in Glasgow – lots of artists sitting in the dark being reminded of their youth (Ally Wallace, Rowena Comrie).

Interesting proposition that Social Media has replaced music as the mode of existence of young people…

But seriously, compelling argument for the role of late 80s music in the counter culture flowing from Europe to the US and back again. Continued relevance in the ongoing rise of the Right.

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What art have I seen? Chick Chalmers

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 7, 2019

Chick Chalmers An American Roadtrip at Gallery 10, Edinburgh. On the recommendation of Alex Hamilton.

What art have I seen? Who’s afraid of drawing?

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on May 1, 2019

Works on Paper from the Ramo Collection at the Estorick Collection.

Drawing from Italy between 1910 and 1990. Abstract, figurative, with words and in relation to sculpture.

Talking to my cousin last night, we discussed how small exhibitions, well curated, can have more significance than their scale.

This exhibition covers periods where Italy was having huge influence on the world, at the time of the Futurists after the First World War, and again in the 60s when, alongside Arte Povera, Italy was a political maelstrom and fashionable too. Another cousin (it was an evening of cousins) said, just think about photos of young Italians on beaches in the Sixties, the height of chic, and it was the same country that had the largest Communist Party outside of the Soviet Union.

And then there was fascism, Futurism slipping into questions of power and technology, Il Duce, etc.

It’s all there in the selection of drawings: designs for facades of Fascist headquarters, pseudo neo classical Saints, but also found and distressed objects as drawings, satire, cinema, mathematics… all life in fact. Every approach to making drawings. As the curatorial statement says,

Drawing – considered as any kind of work on paper, regardless of technique – is the load-bearing skeleton for much creative experimentation, a medium favoured by painters and sculptors that often represents the first visualization of an idea.

What I didn’t see was any reflection on collecting, which could have been brought out in the relation between the permanent (Estorick) collection and the visiting (Ramo) collection. This could have happened by highlighting which artists exist in both suites, leading to hurried journey’s between floors, but also by some comparison of the conditions of collecting, the motivations of collectors.

Having been listening to the Collect Wisely podcast with Pamela Joyner, the concerns of collectors, their ambitions and motivations, are vital to understanding the body of the collection.

What art have I seen? London 2026: Recipes for building a Food Capital

Posted in Exhibitions, Food by chrisfremantle on April 10, 2019

London 2026: Recipes for building a Food Capital at the Roca Gallery.

Lucked out to be able to join a tour by the curators from Department 22 (Clare Brass and Dejan Mitrovic).

Varied and interesting collection of architecture and design proposals. All are more or less real now but the conceit is that they need to be more real in 2026 when London’s population hits 10 million.

Symbiosis is a key theme, along with making food processes visible.

Interesting how energy bars are the cutting edge of experimenting: as evidence of the reality of the proposals we were offered both insect protein and algae based commercial products…

Also Joan Snyder’s Rosebuds and Rivers at Blain Southern

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What art have I seen? Dorothea Tanning

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on April 9, 2019

Dorothea Tanning at the Tate Modern. Jake asked if in an exhibition of Max Ernst there would be so much reference to his wife – seems unlikely. Mostly we don’t know about the women in male artists’ lives, unless they are ‘muses’ or lovers. Tanning’s narrative in the interpretation panels is woven with Ernst’s.

Beside this it is also interesting that all the publicity images are from the first phase of her work, which is most obviously part of the Surrealist tradition we are familiar with. There is mention of the fabric sculptures, but no images of the later much more optically complex and freely painted works. These explore the fragmented sense of subconscious experience. Rather than glimpses through doors, we have actually fragmented elements merging in complex patterns and forms. The resolution of this in the room-scale installation of fabric forms is truly Lovecraftian.

What art have I seen? New Contemporaries

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on April 2, 2019

Karolina Bachanek

New Contemporaries at the Royal Scottish Academy. Many talented, ambitious and provocative recent graduates from Scottish Art Schools. Very much the spirit of the age. Bachanek’s (Gray’s) environment made of supermarket and other plastic bags creating a seedy chill-out space – mind/life of a dosser or reality for an art school graduate? Plants that don’t want to be touched. Amateur research library as art.

What art have I seen? Leonardo Drawings

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on April 1, 2019
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What art have I seen? Oral Suspension

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on March 15, 2019

Photo courtesy of Look Again Festival

David Blyth and Nick Gordon collaborated on this at once jokey and nuanced exhibition in Look Again‘s new space on St Andrew Street. It’s great to have a space on a street in central Aberdeen, but this exhibition should have been in the Aberdeen Art Gallery in terms of its scale and ambition. Open at exactly the point the City further cut its commitment to the arts, this shows what outstanding work is happening in the North of Scotland: an ecosystem being damaged by short term thinking.

Nick Gordon is a graduate of Gray’s, a sculptor and part of the group running a new printmaking workshop on Orkney. David Blyth teaches at Gray’s (and taught Nick).

The works are weavings of traditional folklore with newly discovered uses of the skate (and it’s iconic shape) are complemented by the artists’ investment in the project, taking skate oil supplements during the whole development of the work and offering ‘traditional’ recipes including a skate skink.

The human symbolic relationship with the skate is complex, not least because of the curious sense of a human face particularly in the landed hanging skate. Strange as this is, it is complemented by the strangeness evoked by other aspects, hinting at secret societies and mysterious rituals.

Image courtesy of Mood of Collapse blog

Jon Blackwood’s short text associated with the exhibition highlights connections with local conservation organisations, and the general threat to skate populations (some being on the IUCN Red List). He quotes Donna Haraway alluding to the complexity of connection and interdependence.

This exhibition demonstrates how art can take us into a deeper relationship with the more than human, but also how both art/culture and other living things are undervalued and threatened by our current insistence on valuing everything through the market.

What art have I seen? John Ruskin: The Power of Seeing

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on February 13, 2019

John Ruskin: The Power of Seeing at Two Temple Place.

Well put together exhibition on Ruskin including contemporary responses. Hannah Downing’s Vertical Panorama drawing is particularly stunning.

Draws out his interests and the development of his poetics particularly in looking at nature, from formal compositions in the conventional manner to attention to nature itself.

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What art have I seen? Cage and Rauschenberg

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on January 22, 2019

What art have I seen? Marina Abramović – The Cleaner

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on December 17, 2018

Marina Abramović’s The Cleaner at Palazzo Strozzi.

https://www.palazzostrozzi.org/mostre/marina-abramovic-2/?lang=en

Career survey including all the well known pieces some being reperformed. Really powerful pieces. Not everyone enjoyed it – some thought it was pretentious. Some channelling of the AAA-AAA

What art have I seen? Rasheed Araeen

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on December 9, 2018

What art have I seen? Spellbound

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on November 24, 2018

The Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford is really very problematic. It seems to be both parochial and also evade the deeper issues.

The exhibition contains a wide range of material culture from spell books and equipment through troves of clothing and shoes found secreted in houses, paintings and prints representing witchcraft and devilry, as well as some contemporary art which ‘channels’ the theme.

On the parochial front it seems to focus wholly on the southern half of mainland Britain, not address Scotland at all (Tam O’Shanter?), nor the North of England, nor Salem in Massachusetts, nor Norway, nor Africa… the view of the subject we are left with is very geographically specific – not that there is anything wrong with that, except I’m left wondering if that’s accurate? After all one of the most compelling objects is a South American object – an obsidian mirror apparently owned by John Dee. What other connections are there?

But on the evasion of deeper issues, the criticism is more fundamental. There are references to patriarchy and witch trials. There is a chair designed to test whether a witch is heavier or lighter than a church bible (lighter and you are a witch). But there seemed to be no contextual discussion on what shifts in the cultures of Europe and North America in the 17th Century such that women suddenly start being burnt for witchcraft. Not all witches are women and not all ritual and magic is associated with women, but women become the focus of violence and the exhibition could have enlightened us. Rather it left us with an idea of the various aspects of the practice, but no larger understanding.

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What art have I seen? Santiago Sierra and Mike Kelly

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on November 15, 2018

What art have I seen? Artes Mundi 8

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on November 14, 2018

What art have I seen? I Object: Ian Hislop’s Search for Dissent

Posted in Civics, Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on September 30, 2018

Very good, diverse and provocative exhibition of satire, caricature and disruptive intervention (and not all lefty liberal either).

From the time of the Pharohs in Egypt through to the Umbrella protests in Hong Kong via classic British fart-based disrespect of leaders and rulers.

Taking Joanna Macy’s triumverate of ‘actions to defend,’ ‘Gaian structures’ and ‘shifting consciousness’ this is pretty much a workbook of ways to undermine authority.

It shows the breadth of the BM’s collection but also perhaps shows that this isn’t a focus of collecting. Hong Kong and Tianamen Square are represented but Occupy isn’t – the diagram created by Rachel Schragis of the Declaration of Occupy Wall Street would speak volumes.

Possil Free State, Greenham Common, Twyford Down, Faslane, the ZAD, Standing Rock and all the other combinations of defending and Gaian structures are insufficiently represented.

Perhaps the Liberate Tate/Art not Oil campaign is too close to home: the parallel Sumerian exhibition is sponsored by BP.

Of course out of context pretty much everything needed explanation, but there were many objects which stood out regardless, including the bronze head of a Roman General buried under a triumphal gate deep in Africa beyond the Empire.

In other cases you had to spot the critique including in the Seychelles banknotes where the engraver had included rude words around the head of the Queen.

http://www.britishmuseum.org/whats_on/exhibitions/i_object.aspx

What art have I seen? Colourists and Life School

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on September 22, 2018

Beth Fisher’s astounding and inspired drawing of her family with her dead mother. Just one of a number of powerful pieces in Ages of Wonder: The Royal Scottish Academy Life School

Also The Rhythm of Light
Scottish Colourists from the Fleming Collection

What art have I seen? Keith Sonnier

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on August 31, 2018

What art have I seen? Prada Marfa

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on August 20, 2018

Elmgreen and Dragset’s Prada Marfa. So gentrification… it’s definitely a thing. Art definitely can cause it. We saw a small tract house for sale – sign said Zoned for Residential/Commercial inc Art Gallery. The art workers we met (eg part-time tour guide with two art history degrees/full-time chef) were struggling to survive housing costs in Marfa. Of course we can be ironic about it, but what else can we do?

What art have I seen? Chinati Foundation

Posted in Exhibitions, Sited work by chrisfremantle on August 19, 2018

What should a museum be when made by an artist?

The artist decides where and how the work is installed (in agreement with the artist who set up the museum).

Works do not compete with each other.

Work is (almost exclusively) permanently installed.

The work is well documented but there are no signs and labels (except where they are part of the work).

What art have I seen? Hyperobjects

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on August 18, 2018

What art have I seen? The Block

Posted in Exhibitions, Sited work by chrisfremantle on August 18, 2018

Studios and Libraries in The Block, Judd Foundation.

20th Century Books organised by date of publication (or author birth maybe).

Books before 20th Century organised by geography.

Studio contains work for thinking.

What art have I seen? Blue Star Contemporary

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on August 16, 2018

A Manhattan Beach Memoir by Gary Sweeney. Family home going to be demolished so turned inside out, becoming an installation, a tribute and an evocation of America in the second half of the 20th Century.

From Underfoot: Breaking Through Surface and Ground. Group show of materials, concepts, details.

What art have I seen? Robert Powell: Between The Lost Places

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on July 30, 2018

What art have I seen? Assemblages: Sculpture, Found Objects and Boxed Reliefs

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on July 30, 2018

Assemblages: Sculpture, Found Objects and Boxed Reliefs at the Fine Art Society, Edinburgh including work by Fiona Dean, Will Maclean, Alberto Morocco amongst others. Did the latter influence the former?

What art have I seen? Land of Lads, Land of Lashes

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on July 11, 2018
homothetic

Rosemarie Castoro, Land of Lashes, archival photo, 1976

Land of Lads, Land of Lashes at Galerie Thaddeus Ropac. Rosmarie Castoro, Wanda Czelkowska, Lydia Okumura. Three different contexts (NYC, Poland, Brazil). Deep formal sculptural concerns bringing in expressionist, minimalist, humorous, bodily aspects. Interesting in comparison to Lee Lozano – the catalogue of the recent retrospective of Castoro suggests similar interest in lists, instructions and texts. Okumura’s spatial works relate to Sol Lewitt but also to Fred Sandback and are more dynamic than Lozano’s large paintings.

What art have I seen? More Christo drawings and collages

Posted in Exhibitions, Uncategorized by chrisfremantle on July 11, 2018

More Christo and Jeanne-Claude, this time at Repetto Gallery. Drawings are all attributed to Christo, though the installed projects are Christo & Jeanne-Claude. One public installation in the Serpentine Lake, one public exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery, two commerical gallery exhibitions simultaneously (Stern Pissarro and Repetto).

I hadn’t realised before that some of the drawings are collages including fabric and string. In particular Wrapped Wall has fabric stapled to the image which is then drawn on, so some of the creases are ‘real’ and some inscribed – remarkable. The more you look at these works, the more they give you.

You can see in the 1976 The Pont Neuf Wrapped collage below that there is fabric inserted into the image – the media are listed as “Pencil, fabric, twine, photograph by Wolfgang Volz, wax crayon, pastel, charcoal and map.”

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What art have I seen? On Collecting

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on July 9, 2018
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What art have I seen? Seeing Beyond The Immediate by Patricia Cain

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on July 7, 2018

Grass Verge, Oil Pastel

Trish Cain’s exhibition Seeing Beyond The Immediate at the Lillie Art Gallery in Milngavie

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What art have I seen? Mastaba by Christo & Jeanne-Claude

Posted in Exhibitions, Sited work by chrisfremantle on July 4, 2018

The Mastaba on the Serpentine, works related to barrels in the Gallery, other works at Stern Pissarro.

Curiously the Mastaba floating on the lake is more like the 2D works in the Gallery than you expect – it has an unreal quality, perhaps because of the formal geometry and the colour too. All the earlier proposals going back to the late 60s are yellow, red and orange, but this is maroon and purple. Maybe more complementary to the greenness of Hyde Park?

There is definitely a Dada streak in this, the absurdity of this large form, just as there is a Dadaism in wrapping things.

Mies van der Rohe said art addresses the conditions of the time – his were industrialisation and mass production. Christo and Jeanne Claude’s work has a curious relation both to industrial and post-industrialisation, but the temporariness – here now, gone in September – reveals more. Temporary abnormality sensitises us to the normal.

Christo clearly denies any political intent but this monumental structure composed of oil barrels is a reminder of our, as Brett Bloom calls it, petro-subjectivity.

What art have I seen? David Nash

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on July 3, 2018

The blue of Blue Column (2017) is so intense it vibrates on the page

The red of the sequoia wood in Red Around Black (2017) is so dense it could be corten steel

What art have I seen? Robert Callender

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on June 30, 2018
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What art have I seen? Re(a)d Bed

Posted in Arts & Health, Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on June 30, 2018
Pryde, James Ferrier, 1866-1941; The Red Bed

James Pryde, ‘The Red Bed’ (1916)

One of the challenges in creating work for hospitals and healthcentres is that there really isn’t any place to experiment.

If you want to in some way engage with our health and the institutions which deal with us when we are sick, pretty much regardless of artform, it is tricky. Quite rightly healthcare professionals control access. Hospitals aren’t really places for experimentation. You probably ought to know what you are doing if you are going to make art in places where people are sick, recovering or dying.

So the exhibition Re(a)d Bed in Edinburgh’s City Arts Centre is an important correlate to the major Art and Therapeutic Design programme currently being installed and otherwise integrated into NHS Lothian’s new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Little France, Edinburgh.

The works in the exhibition are the result of residencies and fellowships intended to provide developmental opportunities for artists to explore issues and create new and challenging responses to in particular the neurosciences context. Key to this programme has been the partnership between Ginkgo Projects, public art and design managers, and New Media Scotland/Alt-W. The exhibition comprises both some historical items as well as new works by artists, craftspeople and designers. Full documentation can be found on the New Media Scotland site here. Gavin Inglis’ in progress graphic novel exploring functional neurological disorders, Stacy Hunter’s questioning the depersonalisation of the clinical environment, asking what objects could make it more personal again, Sven Werner’s audio work on becoming invisible… These and the others are all important vectors through healthcare experiences and environments, experiments that need to be done, ideas that need to be tested and prototyped.

Beyond Walls provides more information and regular updates.

 

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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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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

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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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? 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? David Bomberg at Pallant House

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on December 31, 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? Nazimî Yaver Yenal at Istanbul Research Institute

Posted in Exhibitions by chrisfremantle on October 4, 2017
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