7 June 2019
Finally saw this exhibition! It was one of the best I've seen in ages. I have never seen so little change over time in an artist's work or life - and the fact that it works is incredible.They met at Saint Martin's School of Art in the 60s, and have been a couple ever since.Since meeting, they have also worked together as "Gilbert and George" ever since.They have been living in the same house on Fournier Street in London since the 60s as well.They've been wearing nothing but tweed suits for the past 50 years.They have been going to the same cafe for breakfast at the end of my street for about the past 20 years. (I've seen them there! The owners told me that once Madonna surprised them for breakfast, as she really wanted to meet them and this caf was one of the least likely places anyone would expect to find her).
They have also been going to the same Turkish restaurant in Dalston for dinner everyday for about the past 20 years.Finally, the medium of their art has been pretty much the same for the past 50 years as well: huge pieces make up of many squares, almost always very bright colours featuring red, and almost always featuring the pair, looking directly at the viewer. You can be in a room with a different artwork from a different decade on each wall, but they all blend seamlessly together. And often you cannot tell when the piece was even made. So little change.I often say that, living in London, I never have to change, because change is happening so quickly all around me, all the time. Sometimes it is a struggle to hang on, so Gilbert and George feel reassuring...
Top image: 1977
Middle image: 1984
Bottom image: 2013Suzan
1 March 2019
Last night heard London's Gentle Author, of the famous Spitalfields Life site, speak to artist Doreen Fletcher. Really interesting, amazing and refreshing to listen to the sincere passion both have for East London.
You can read the details at the links mentioned here, but very briefly, Doreen had been painting East London from the early 80s to the early 2000s. She then stopped when she started working a more secure 9-5 job. As she said in the talk, "I did not want to be just a Saturday/Sunday painter." The Gentle Author then discovered her and was amazed to find that she still had dozens of paintings hidden away in her attic. Well, she is now finally gaining the reputation she deserves - in fact she has now converted her attic to a studio and has started painting again.
Her retrospective is at Bow Arts until March 24th, 2019.
Above are just a few paintings that I really like, if only because they are only one minute from my house! I walk past each of these places almost every day.
15 February 2019RICHARD PRINCE joke seriesHi MLE, How the written word can be used to convey a message, not only literally, but also visually, as always been a bit of an obsession for me. Religious calligraphy, dada poetry, even people’s handwriting… So, when Richard Prince’s “Early Joke Paintings” came to London, at the Skarstedt Gallery, I had to check it out.Spanning the period from 1988 - 1992, the format for each joke it always the same. Each joke is isolated on a large canvas, painted in plain block letters against a field of colour.On a canvas in a gallery, they seem strangely out of context. The jokes get repeated, reframed. They go from funny to not funny to annoying.As Time Out's Eddy Frankel said, "Maybe the joke’s on us. And if it is, then it’s absolutely hilarious."I noticed that one of these paintings sold recently for $2.5 USD. If I had the cash, I would definitely invest.Have a nice weekend!Suzan
8 February 2019
MLE,Saw one of the best exhibitions in awhile when I was at the ICA in LA and wanted to share with you, as I know you would appreciate it too: “B. Wurtz: This Has No Name.”This Has No Name is the first major US museum survey of this American artist. Now aged 70, it is only relatively recently that he has received praise as an un-recognized master.Above are three of my favourite pieces from this exhibition. I love the way they make me interpret these otherwise bland and ordinary materials:Top image: I couldn't look at this without trying to lock the lock in my head.Middle image: I couldn't look at this without trying to see what piece belonged to what bag at the bottom.Bottom image: I couldn't look at this without trying to see how the plastic bucket below was photographed to look like a some sort of building.And I couldn't agree with B. Wurtz more:"Human life—without humor or play or whimsy—would be intolerable.”Suzan B Wurtz @ ICA LA
4 January 2018
Hello MLE,First post of 2018!I was sharing Laurie Anderson’s O Superman song with one of our designers yesterday, and thought I’d look up what this song means, as it is so intriguing.When this song was written, Laurie Anderson was a performance artist, not a musician, and this song was created for one of her art pieces.It was influenced by a 19th-century aria by Massenet that began: "Ô Souverain, ô juge, ô père" (O Sovereign, O Judge, O Father). It was a prayer to authority, which Anderson thought was interesting, and so she wrote the beginning of the song: "O Superman / O Judge / O Mom and Dad.”The lyrics are a one-sided conversation, like a prayer to God. It sounds sinister – but it is sinister when you start talking to power. Sinister is juxtaposed with mundane imagery: “Hold me Mom in your long arms, your petrochemical arms, your military arms.” Americans had always been told that America was the motherland, to appeal to their love of mom and dad, but it’s really not like that.The song consists of only two chords,A♭ major and C minor, as well as the repeating "Ha" syllable done on a vocoder. I had to look up what that is, and learned that it is a bit like auto tune… An early 1970s vocoder, custom built for electronic music band Kraftwerk is seen above, which was probably not too different from Anderson’s vocoder. This was very high tech for 1981.Though never a hit in the USA, this song was #2 on the UK Singles Charts in 1981, after it was championed by DJ John Peel. This lead to a record deal with Warner Brothers.Anderson’s artist friends said she was selling out, but just months later the term being used was “crossing over,” and Anderson became a visionary.Says Anderson, “I had just brought the song back to my live set when 9/11 happened. People said: ‘I can’t believe it. You’re singing about current events.’ I said: ‘It’s not so strange. We’re in the same war and our planes are still crashing.’”Suzan