Blog archive August 2007
first word on greenbelt - coldcut were stunning - and certainly better than the last time i saw them in london. there was a devastating version of 'the lunatics have taken over the asylum' but my phone was acting up so i just had to give it my unmediated attention. run dmc, 'paid in full', rage against the machine featured too.
definitely the highest point of the festival - all downhill from here.
something in one of the accompanying books to 'if everyone had an ocean' struck me, about the beach as a very culturally specific thing, late 20th century and western - in most times and places the beach has been a workplace. and this made me think about the beach as a technological phenomenon - looking out of the gallery window i could see that this supposed experience of nature is mediated by artefacts most of which could not have existed before the second world war:
lightweight nylon fabric shelters
the english invented the seaside, but i suspect the french and the californians invented the beach.
i was highly amused to find this little book  by ed ruscha in 'if everybody had an ocean':
even the same font near as dammit. his small fires were things like matchbooks set alight.
was hugely inspired by if everybody had an ocean, the summer exhibition at tate st ives. it brings together a series of artworks around the arc of brian wilson's life and career, starting with LA pop art and surf culture, then a psychedlic phase, followed by introversion and withdrawal.
part one, 'surf city', is artworks that pick up on the immediate environment of 60s LA - joe goode's 1969 calendar 'LA artists in their cars'...
...russell crotty's surf diaries, ed ruscha's photos of gas stations and swimming pools in self-produced books. my notes:
attention to the facts of life [but they had nice facts - sun, sea, surf, cars...] of course the cars are nicer to us. frank acceptance of technology/modernity
[crotty surf diaries, above - astonishing line diagrams of surf action] better than photographs - more evocative of movement and speed [surf photos are dominated by the blueness of the wave - crotty's art tells more about the action, gesture, line]
raymond pettibon: pen/ink drawing of surfer on wave, caption 'they're good days, you know. the last days of man.'
part two, 'the warmth of the sun' - psychedelia. notes:
ed ruscha 'nine swimming pools' - wilful cropping of pools - serial document the everyday built facts
sister corita kent - great to see some of her prints for real - dayglo ink! could we be this bold/religious? her incorporation of song lyrics and advertising copy - she clearly didn't have a problem with copyright! no TMs or Rs either. is it OK when it's in art?
part three 'it's so sad to watch a sweet thing die' collapse and withdrawal.
allen ruppersberg 'where's al?' - polaroids and cards with conversational fragments about the absent al. this made me laugh. it was the kind of thing daniel miller would do, and the captions would probably all be true for him too. samples:
she: was al in town when you left?
he: no. i think he went to texas.
he: where's al? i have something for him.
she: i don't know. what is it?
he: an old porno book.
she: where's al?
he: maybe he's in one of his anti-social moods.
the exhibition catalogue is rather good - in the form of an LP cover with inserts. shame there isn't an LP as well - to contain the beach boys songs quoted in the galleries and played in the loggia outside.
went to st. ives. walked about, ate, looked at things. i didn't expect to take many photos after all that i've taken in the past, and ended up taking far more. in fact i've made a st ives collection on flickr to bag all these things up - there are still the 2002 set to add.
was able this time to photograph the hepworth studio on my camera not my phone. took many pictures of 'conversation with magic stones' - this fascinates me, as a potential ritual space. as a space it's immediately comprehensible but difficult to photograph because there is no single definitive viewpoint [this is the closest but it's a composite of two photos]. the injunction 'do not touch', though understandable, makes no sense applied to hepworth's sculpture. in the garden, where one can [or does] touch, the sculptures are delicious to feel, cold and smooth as pebbles. it would be a great place to take a blind person. one senses that the forms were felt as much as seen, guided by touch as much as sight in the making.
went to the city yesterday to get my own photos of the building being demolished from the bottom up, and found that the lloyds building opposite was being used as a location for a pierce brosnan movie, cunningly made over to look like new york [the taxi, the signs, shopping bags of extras etc]. after the third take i got bored and wandered off towards st pauls. city architecture photos here, brosnan movie photos here
as of now i find myself taking an unexpected holiday. the moscow project has slowed right down, for reasons i can't discuss here. and i've been suffering from project fatigue for a while - that point mid-project when you're worn down by dealing with hassles and obstacles and need to go away for a while or go crazy. so now was a good time to grab some leave. i'll be back at work for five days later in the month, then i have more leave already booked around greenbelt. so only five days work in august isn't bad. and if i go back to work and nothing's doing i'll go away again anyhow.
don't know what i'll do right now. i have stuff to do for greenbelt and grace. there are exhibitions to see. i'll probably go to st. ives, although now is the most crowded time to go anywhere.