Giacometti at Tate Modern is brilliantly, quietly radical. Here’s 3 million pix

Tate Modern’s new Giacometti show is one of quiet radicalism.

His work itself is of quiet radicalism: internalised, obsessive, personal.

The exhibition has its own quiet radicalism. The display is bare bones – just rooms, plinths, sometimes ropes to keep hands away.

The lack of fanciness allows the work to be seen as it should be. No longer deified, no longer billionaires trophy. 

It’s just a sculpture in a room.

Curators Frances Morris and Catherine Grenier have their own quiet radicalism in widening their scope to include works in plaster and clay.

More malleable materials gives the sense of living work. 

Is de-deification a word?

Whatever, let’s use it.

Giacometti lived in squalour all his life, even when he became rich in his final years. 

The show gives a sense of him then, rather than what he has become.

It was this work that made it all click for me.

Sculpture, rope, bare floors.

It’s a plaster work called Woman with Chariot from 1945.

How radical is that?

Let’s go back a couple of rooms.

Early on is a long sweep of sculptures from the 1920s and early 30s.

Figure (known as Cubist) 1, 1926.

Torso, 1926.

Composition (known as Cubist I, Couple), 1926-7.

Head (Self-Portrait), 1927.

This next is the first time women are put in an objectified role.

Reclining Woman Who Dreams, 1929.

While the man is all butch.

Man (Apollo), 1929.

What are you going to do?

Giacometti had attitudes to women I find difficult.

Many shows make the mistake of pandering to him, deifying him.

(Apologies for the repeated use of the word but deification is my current obsession – I hate it).

In the process, they legitimise his actions, his behaviours.

Here, Giacometti feels fallable, flawed, human.

Let’s carry on.

A work of painted plaster. 

Stéle, 1927.

Woman (flat V), 1929.

The next is called Disagreeable Object, from 1931.

So maybe there was some self hatred in his psychological, sexual tortures.

Disagreeable Object to be Thrown Away, 1931.

Circuit, 1931.

A proud room to contain one of his most troubling works.

In the bottom right is Woman with her Throat Cut, 1932.

I remember how this sculpture was displayed at the last Giacometti show in the U.K., at the Royal Academy at some point in the 90s.

On its own, circled off, on the floor, as if we were witnesses to torture, degradation.

I’d gone to that show all naively obsessed, then saw this work, its title, how it was being deified. It was like, oh.

And then I realised how only the men in sculptures are allowed to walk, the women stand still.


Here’s that work up close.

Tate have been smart.

Placed with other sculptures, it becomes more an insight into his psychology, rather than a statement of horrible intent.

Behind it, Spoon Woman, 1927.

Invisible Object (Hands holding the Void), 1934-35.

Let’s go forward to when Giacometti could return to Paris after the war.

Three Men Walking, 1948.

Four Women on a Base, 1950.

Figurine between two Houses, 1950.

The Cage (first version), 1949-50.

Brought together for the first time in 60 years are plaster works made for the 1956 Venice Biennale.

So many works in the show I’ve never seen before, like The Leg, 1958.

A painted section of Giacometti’s studio wall.

A plaster version of The Nose, on display for the first time.

Clever how adding plaster works to the mix humanises.

Three extraordinary portraits of philosopher Isaku Yanaihara.

More paintings.

His brother Diego x 5.

His wife Annette x2.

Such a clever path the curators have found through his life.

Bombast only happens at the end.

Hi you three!

The work, the hand, the gesture.

All allowed to exist.

The show is a triumph.

It opens 10 May, on until 10 Sept.

There’s no photography in the exhibition, so please steal any of my pics, I don’t care.


The humanity of Comme des Garçons: three million pix from the new Met Museum show

Humanity is the message that sings out of Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons, the extraordinary new show at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Mannequins are often at floor level. Sometimes there is no barrier, just a line on the floor.

On the catwalk of fashion shows, in the pages of magazines, the clothing can appear sanctified, which then leads to a sense that Kawakubo’s designs are remote.

Here they are allowed to be human.

Look at these two chatting.

They’re from the most recent Comme des Garçons show, The Future of Silhouette, AW17-18.

At that show, the forms appeared like tentative ameoba.

Here they are human.

I want to be in their gang.

Two dresses from Body Meets Dress-Dress Meets Body, SS97, and one from 2 Dimensions, AW12-13.


Sheer human exuberance.

Blue Witch, SS16.

The show works as an important historical document. 

Here are ten looks from Body Meets Dress-Dress Meets Body SS97.

That look on the left, on its own.

More history: two looks from Holes, AW82-83, the collection that caused such scandal.

The garments still hold their power.

But what sings out throughout the show is expressions of emotion, and a sense of human interaction.


Those three above are from Not Making Clothing, SS14.


Coat from Ceremony of Separation, AW15-16.


Bad Taste, AW08-09.

So often I didn’t see mannequins, I saw people.

A elegant cluster.

I’d completely forgotten about this collection – Abstract Excellence, SS04.

I love these two walking round the corner.

18th-Century Punk, AW17.

I want to be this next human.

Flowering Clothes, AW97.

Some of the looks are on mannequins with no heads, placing all attention on construction.

Lost Empire, SS06.

Inside Decoration, AW10-11.

Transcending Gender, SS95, and The Infinity of Tailoring, AW13-14.

Not Making Clothing, SS14.

The whole show is glorious.

I was in there for two hours.

The privileges of being a hack.

Please steal any of these pix for your own use, I don’t care.

The show, curated by Andrew Bolton, is a triumph.

Hard work worth all effort.

OK enough.

Go go go.

It’s on from May 4 – September 4.


A new show by Wolfgang Tillmans is opening at Tate Modern. It’s called 2017. Some pics

A new show by Wolfgang Tillmans is opening at Tate Modern.

It is called 2017, and is about life lived, the perception of time, the seriousness of now and the urgency of engagement.

Which is to say, it is about Wolfgang Tillmans’s work.

The show is non-retrospective. It’s great to see the Tate spaces used for something so vital.

Here are some images.

17 Years Supply, 2014.

CLC 800, dismantled, 2011.

I think I’m write in saying this is a copier with every screw undone.

Market I, 2012.

My first failing with this show: I forgot to note the name of this next work. 

Munuwata Sky, 2011.

What Is A Liquid? 2013

Paper drop, Prinzessinnenstrasse, a, 2014

Port-au-Prince, 2010.

The Blue Oyster Bar, Saint Petersburg, 2014.

NICE HERE. but ever been to KRYGYZSTAN? free Gender-Expression WORLDWIDE, 2006.

Arms and Legs, 2014.

This next work was up high, so please excuse the angle, but it is extraordinary.

Addis Abeba afternoon, 2012.

Wolfgang’s work has taught me so much about how to view the contemporary. 

About the validity and long-term importance of nightlife, club culture, congregation.
Beyond that of just being a youth activity.

It can be a permanent way of life.

It’s something that struck me at his Tate Britain show in 2003, in the year I turned 30, and has helped guide me into adulthood since.

The Spectrum/Dagger, 2016

London Olympics, 2012.

I’ve never seen Wolfgang’s garments before. 

Here is a jacket he made as a teenager – 16 or 17.

Zeitungsjacket, 1985.

Weed, 2014.

Dusty Vehicle, 2012

Collum, 2011

The Air Between, 2016. 

Tube escalator joint, 2009.

nackt, 2, 2014.

The amazing amazing what the fuck is happening work called still life, Calle Real, 2015.

Sendeschluss/End of Broadcast IV, 2014.

Hiya, The Black Madonna!

Hiya, Simon!

Hiya, Frank Ocean!

Eleanor, Lutz, a, 2016.

Oscar Niemeyer, 2010.

In the centre of the final room is Time Mirrored – tables of extraordinary statements.

Excuse the glare and reflection.

On the walls around it.

The State We’re In, 2015.

Italian Coastal Guard Flying Rescue Mission off Lampedusa, 2008.

Gaza Wall, 2009.

La Palma, 2014.

And then three works.

Transient 2, 2015.

Tag/Nacht II, 2010.

peninsula, 2011.

I mean basically go and live in the show.

It opens Feb 15, is on until June 11.

Robert Rauschenberg at Tate Modern: how come a retrospective has work so little known?

Tate Modern’s extraordinary Robert Rauschenberg retrospective is that rare event: a show by a known artist where most of the work is unknown.

Unknown to me, anyway. And little if never seen in London. I’d imagine most don’t know Rauschenberg made a pool of mud.

The breadth and generosity of the work demands a rewrite of perceived art history (that 1950s/60s US art was brash and surface). 

It also points to the benefits and deep value of artists working in collaboration and as a community.

Something thrilling to consider after last night’s Dear Ivanka artist protest in New York.

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on him – for that, read Olivia Laing’s excellent Guardian piece

I’m just going to react to what’s in the show. Here’s as many pics as feasibly possible I could take at this AM’s preview.

An early photographic work made with his wife Susan Weil, presumably an exposure of his own body.

Untitled (Double Rauschenberg), 1950.

One of only four works to survive Rauschenberg’s first show at Betty Parsons Gallery – The Lily White, 1950.

An early example of shove it all together Coke can rack, roll of film etc – Untitled, 1952.

White Painting, 1951, included in Theatre Piece No1 in 1952, a collaboration with Merce Cunningham and John Cage.

Moments from Minutiae, a collaboration between Rauschenberg and Cunningham.

Red Painting, 1954.

Charlene, 1954.

Let’s go up close.

A T-shirt.


Dots and lace.

Empire State.

What else?

Short Circuit, 1955, hiding works by Jasper Johns and Susan Weil – Rauschenberg had been accepted into an annual show at the Stable Gallery, Johns and Weil hadn’t.

Gift For Apollo, 1955.

The taxidermied angora goat and tyre known as Monogram, 1955-59.

From the front.

The amazing amazing Bed from 1955.

Gold Standard from 1964 is heaven.

Up close.

Black Market, 1961.

Ace, 1962.

Up close.



The silkscreens: probably the most famous works, and here they feel the most flat.

Retroactive II, 1964.

Tracer, 1963.

The wall text is clear to state that when these silkscreens became to popular in 1964, he destroyed those that were left in his studio.

His was another path away from easy fame.

Facile statement of the day: Rauschenberg was hot.

Here’s a photo of him performing in a piece he choreographed: Pelican.

That’s him at the back.

That pool of mud: Mud Muse.

It bubbles. It makes noise. It’s amazing.

My favourite works in the entire show are of cardboard, from when Rauschenberg has moved away from New York to Captiva, Florida. 

He was 45 at the time.

A nice age to move from city to sea, don’t you think?

Nabisco Shredded Wheat (Cardboard), 1971.

Volon (Cardboard), 1971.

National Spinning/Red/Spring, 1971.

Fabric works.

Mirage (Jammer), 1975.

Untitled (Jammer), 1975

Amazing metal works, responding to the oil industry in his native Texas.

Glut Data, 1986.

Stop Side Early Winter Glut, 1987.

Sunset Glut, 1987.

That’s pretty much all the show.

Apart from some late photo canvases.

But there’s one room recreating Glacial Decoy, a dance work by Trisha Brown from 1979.

A rotating slideshow of photos by Rauschenberg as the backdrop.

One of the photos: a double R.

Pretty sweet.

He seems like the loveliest man.

Is that a weird way to view a show?


Enough artists are celebrated for being vile.

It seems to be his character, his curiousity, his genuine interest in others, that makes the work stand on its own.

His readiness to change and to try the new is deeply inspirational.

And his disinterest in creating work of eventual famous or infamous image.

Which is why a major restrospective can be full of work that is happily unknown.

Go see go see go see at Tate Modern – it opens on Thursday Dec 1, runs forever – until 2 April.

The Vulgar is the most exquisite fashion show in London for an age. It’s also the most infuriating. Intentionally so

The Vulgar, a new exhibition at the Barbican, is the most exquisite original fashion show in London for as far back as I can remember.

I’m discounting Savage Beauty at the V&A, since that was first shown at the Met in NY.

The quality of garments, the elegance of their poise, the sympathy of the display with the Barbican building itself: all remarkable.

The curator is Judith Clark. Her selection of garments responds to eleven separate wall texts on different notions of The Vulgar by her partner, the psychoanalyst Adam Phillips.

From the off, The Vulgar assumes intelligence on the part of the viewer.

If only if all fashion exhibitions were so.

The tone is demure and the opposite of assumed vulgarity: grey walls, generosity of space, no clutter.

The exhibition is also profoundly infuriating, as I suspect it is supposed to be.

Phillips discusses taste, class and what is common.

The garments that follow are all those of luxury, whether historical garments for the upper classes of unknown designer, or pieces made by 20th and 21st century high fashion designers.

Hackles rise.

How dare you talk about what is common, when all around is overt display of wealth?

I was in show for over two hours, and it was only 90 odd minutes in that I saw its subversion.

Here’s the first display.

On the left is a fragment of a chasuble from 1480-1500.

A time of sumptuary laws, when the use of cloth was regulated by class and position.

On the right is a gold thread gown by Elsa Schiaparelli from 1937.

Starting from sumptuary laws casts meaning on the whole exhibition: fashion of luxury is inherently vulgar.

First section discusses classicism, and the vulgarity of taking from another age.

Two by Madame Gres.

Dresses I’ve never seen before by Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé, from 1984.

It’s great to see designers such as Pam Hogg and Sophia Kokosalaki in the show.

Hogg is on the left, then two Kokosalaki.

It’s remarkable how much the exhibition shies away from ideas of sexualised vulgarity.

A rare case is a section on Adam and Eve, titled The Fortunate Fall.

Vivienne Westwood and Walter van Beirendonck.

Some of the wall texts are exasperating.

“The Vulgar, like fashion, is always a copy.”


A section on copying.

The Mondrian dress by Yves Saint Laurent.

Maision Martin Margiela x H&M, next to Maison Margiela by John Galliano.

The middle hall is glorious.

Another view.

It’s this section that really hammers home the exquisite vulgarity of wealth and it’s display.

An outfit by John Galliano for Christian Dior from spring 03.

It is from one of the most extraordinary shows I have ever seen.

I can still remember that squared point of its drape.

I could look at the thing for hours.

See that flash of red?

So vulgar.

Across the way is another Galliano for Dior, this from Spring 2005.



By this point on first viewing, the show was driving my crazy.

Such presumptions of fashion being about wealth.

But then seen as a subversion, it is saying that the garments of the wealthy are vulgar.

As seen in the vulgarity of present day consumption, via Chanel’s supermarket show.

Upstairs is a rare moment in the show of non-catwalk subversion.

An ensemble by Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood.

It’s next to a Rudi Gernreich.

A total surprise in the show is Snow White dress by Charles James from 1938, made the year after the Disney film debuted.

I’ve never seen it before.


And so the show continues.

The message seems to be that although the work created within high fashion can be extraordinary, the societies that have demanded and consumed it are often reprehensible.

Incredible work done within vulgar confines.

There is barely any menswear in the show.

It’s the norm. In most cases, “fashion” stands for womenswear.

But in this instance, it is troubling.

Towards the end is a garment of constriction.

(Apologies for the blur)

It made me realise: this isn’t a show that is just about The Vulgar.

It is a show about the vulgarity to which women have been subjected, and by which they are then judged.

Throughout, Clark refers to other fashion exhibitions, wanting to make other points about the art of curating.

She talks in particular about The Ceaseless Century, a show at the Met in 1988 by Richard Martin about the enduring influence of the 18th century.

By doing so, she seems to be asking: why are women still subjecting themselves to these themes and ideas of luxury which come from times that were oppressive and without emancipation?

Fashion’s big trap.

That seems to be the biggest vulgarity.

What I’d have liked to have seen, maybe in a different show, at a different time:


ii) the 21st century empowerment of vulgarity, particularly in this age of the self-revealed body.

iii) fashion that is not by white designers, and not from a white western viewpoint – the only black face I could see in the entire show is presented as a figure of ridicule: the US Vogue cover of Kanye West with Kim Kardashian.

The only black designer I could see: Rihanna as co-designer for a pair of boots with Manolo Blahnik.

Maybe the whiteness of the exhibition is even more of an indictment of the vulgarity of what has passed for high fashion for the past however many centuries.

To be discussed.

It’s an excellent excellent show: go see, make sure you give yourself time to chew it all over.

It’s on at the Barbican from 13 Oct-5 Feb 2017

The construction of my new season Craig Green jacket, and why Donald Trump’s is like a minidress

It’s been ages since I’ve written about clothing on here.

The shows are now so intense, the rest of the year I tend to run away from thinking about menswear.

But yesterday I got this new jacket by Craig Green, from his autumn/winter 16 collection.

And I wanted to look at it in more detail.

Hey! Let’s get nerdy!

Said jacket in question.


It’s silk, quilted.

A confession: what I really wanted from the show was one of the insane quilted blankets the models dragged behind them during the show.

Let’s nick a photo from Craig’s website.





As I’m sure I’ve said three million times before, I’m obsessed with blankets.

I’d be happy if it they renamed it London Blanket Week.

But the quilt was apparently too expensive to produce, and so it will never reach stores.


(Ohmygod it’s been so long since I’ve written this sort of nonsense on the site I don’t believe I’ve ever typed an emoji before)

(Exactly the appropriate actions of a 42 year old)

So I got the jacket.

Let’s look at it close up.

The jacket, on the examining table.

i.e. my desk.


Those overlaid pockets.


An elbow tie moment.


(Yes, my desk does need re-glueing)

The back hem sits slightly lower than the front.


(Yes, I am wearing shorts with socks and sneakers – I was gardening earlier)

But the thing that gets me most with this jacket is the construction of the back.


From the beginning, Craig has taken from workwear jackets.

Hence the horizontal line across the back, which I’m guessing comes from a need to strengthen the garment through construction.

It’s as opposed to the vertical spine seam of the tailored jacket.

(You don’t need me to go and get a tailored jacket and photograph its vertical spine seam do you? Oh you do. Hold on a second. Here’s the tailored jacket I’ve been wearing most this year – by Hedi Slimane when he was at Saint Laurent)

(Excuse the creasing – it’s been around a bit)


That vertical line is what defines the traditional tailored jacket.

Here’s the inside of Craig’s.


Simple, right?

Yet it’s the horizontal back seam that I find so thrilling in Craig’s work.

It denotes an ambition which is humble, because it has its roots in workwear.

But it also more open to possibilities, because this seam offers a new path away from the cul-de-sac of male tailored clothing.

So much of the problem with male tailoring is the assumption of power that the suit jacket has come to denote.

As soon as a man puts on a tailored jacket, he is in some way claiming power and authority.

A man, wearing a suit, claiming power and authority.


So strange that this fabric in this cut stands for the maximum in virile masculinity, and yet it’s basically the same length as a minidress.


I digress.

Craig has been working with this back seam for a few collections now.

This summer’s nylon situation.


The inside.


This blue cotton event from one season or another, I can’t remember.


The inside.


It’s this back seam construction that makes his jackets such a pleasure to wear.

And allows them to be unassuming, even if they feature fashion bells-and-whistles (in this instance, the ties at the elbows and waist).

When I was talking about Craig with Andrew Bolton, curator-in-charge of the Costume Institute at The Met, he said that when he and his team first got hold of Craig’s pieces, they opened them up, obsessed with how they were constructed.

Such small details are the ones that really matter in the design of clothing.

On Friday evening, after about the 3millionth unit of alcohol of the approx 6million units eventually consumed, I got deep into conversation with someone about data.

He was telling me what counts for brands is the data of their construction; the data of their archive.

My head has gone through twelve million backflips trying to get to grips with this, and I’ll return to it again, somewhere.

But I think he means this: that the simple strength and decisiveness of Craig’s cut is data, much like the cut of Levi’s is data.

And its the data about Levi’s that gives it such connection to the generations that have worn its products.

It is the data of Craig’s work that is currently building his reputation.

And pointing towards calmer, quieter routes for the male jacket that the tailoring brands cannot provide.

Ohgod that got really convoluted.

Basically, I like the jacket.

Should you wish to buy said jacket, they’ll be getting it in black on the DSM e-shop soon (maybe they already have it in store)

Hey! Because this is the fast and speedy World Wide Web, I’ve been meaning for ages to post all my extraordinarily fascinating newsworthy pictures from the recent menswear shows that happened three years ago or something.

Maybe I’ll do that tomorrow.

Or the next day.


Here’s a nice record.


The first UK retrospective of Georgia O’Keefe for twenty years opens this week at Tate Modern. The work is expansive and revelatory

A new retrospective of Georgia O’Keefe opens this week at Tate Modern.

The first in the UK for twenty years.

I almost didn’t go to the preview – I have my own prejudices against O’Keefe, long held and entrenched.

Flowers; a claustrophobia.

It is as if the show was planned to move her away from such confines.

It allows her to be seen as expansive and contemplative.

It is a crucial decision of its curators to only dedicate a small space to flowers.

In it are only seven works.

Allowing other rooms to be filled with much else deserving of attention.

Not everything is perfect, and at the start I hadn’t planned on posting about it here.

But then I took more pictures.

And more.

And so here is a snapshot.

The first room is a recreation of the New York gallery 291, where O’Keefe made her debut in 1916.

Black Lines from 1919.

No.17 – Special from 1919.

Early on, curators Tanya Barson and Hannah Johnston strike to move O’Keefe from the assumed narrative of the erotic.

“When people read erotic symbols into my paintings,” a wall quote from O’Keefe reads, “they’re really talking about their own affairs.”

Another liberating curatorial act. From what I can recall, eroticism is never again mentioned in the show.

So the work can be looked at as it is.

Line and Curve, 1927

Black, White and Blue, 1930.

Mask with Golden Apple, 1923.

An extraordinary work, titled Farmhouse Window and Door, 1929.

A trio of still-lives.

Alligator Pear, 1923.

Two figs, 1923.

The Eggplant, 1924.

I’ll skip the seven flowers.

But in the exhibition’s run, they happen here.

Its clear I’m attracted most to the works that feel in some way expansive.

Soft Gray, Alcade Hill, 1929-30.

Black Cross with Stars and Blue, 1929.

Which has obvious parallels to Malevich, recently seen at Tate Modern.

I wonder if she knew of him?

Purple Hills, 1935.

Blue Sky, 1941.

The Black Place III.

And clearly I’m attracted most to those that are of pure abstraction.

The work that got me the most in the whole show was My Last Door, 1952-54.

Again, Malevich.

Pelvic Series, 1947.

Pelvis I, 1944.

Wall with Green Door, 1953.

A little known work: Kachina, 1931.


Sky with Flat White Cloud, 1962.

Sky Above the Clouds III/Above the Clouds III, 1963.

Such a great show.

Of effect both calming and stirring.

It opens this week, is on forever – until 30 October.

There’s a decent amount of menswear in the V&A’s new show Undressed – some pics

The V&A is previewing its new exhibition Undressed this morning.

It takes up residency in the central space of the Fashion hall for the next year or so.

The show is all about underwear, and most of the attention will be on the examples of corsetry through the centuries, many of which are eye-wincing and extreme.

But there’s also a decent amount of menswear in the show. On that I shall focus.

One of the first looks seen is an 18th century linen top and drawers. 

Look at that sleeve.

Those drawers.


Men’s socks.

The show is not especially linear, more by theme, but I’ll impose on it some order so this is not too skittish.

And warning: my pics from this show are even more fantastically amateur than normal.

Jaeger woollen top, supposed to regulate temperature.

Some breeches.

1920s linen shorts made for the climate in Egypt.

A jock strap.

I quote: “this jock strap was owned by a wealthy socialite and diplomat with a renowned and impeccable sense of style: Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle Junior (1897-1961). He was a skilled amateur tennis player.”

So there you go.


Chukka – Throwaway Briefs for Men.

From around 1970.
The exhibition is clever to pick up on the sexualised undercurrent of underwear imagery for gay men.

If you couldn’t get hold of porn, there was always underwear adverts.

Here’s one for Dean Rogers.


A shop promo figure for Y-Fronts, which sat on the counter of a men’s store in The Hague.

Some actual Y-fronts.

Some Disney print men’s bikini briefs.

“This pair was bought from a mail order advertisement in The Observer newspaper.”

Best caption ever.


A 19th century men’s dressing gown.

A Vivienne Westwood look shown on the womenswear catwalk, but this example was worn by a man.

And then, opposite, a Sibling knitted top and lounge pants from 2013, featuring toile de jouy images of the London riots.

And some Church’s slippers.

They’re all pieces I donated to the V&A.

This is obviously a tenth of the show or something.

The majority of it is women’s, which has its own multi-layered narrative.

But it’s great that from it, a menswear story can also be extracted. 

The show opens to the public on 16 April, runs to 12 March 2017, click here for more etcetcetc.

Three more exceptional shows from Glasgow International: Tamara Henderson, Aaron Angell, Claire Barclay

Three more shows from the excellent Glasgow International, which opened this weekend just gone.

Tamara Henderson at the Mitchell Library.

Her work is completely new to me, and I am now obsessed.

This is Garden Photographer Scarecrow.


I mean I pass out.

She works from stuff she remembers from dreams.

Close up with the scarecrow.

The back of its head.


Its arm.


I guess these are its knees.


A foot.


Opposite is Body Fountain Fetch.


Those pipes and daffs.


Surrounding them are cloth sculptures.


Close up on that T-shirt body.






It was one of those shows that you go round once, then go round again, see more, and again…

I was forever in there.



Spot the dolphin.






This one was my favourite.


Over at the begonia greenhouse of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens, Aaron Angell had installed some works.

He’s a particular fan of begonias, so the placing is apt.












So so major.

A begonia leaf.


Over at the disused Kelvin Hall, Claire Barclay.

Another artist new to me.

A long view.


From the side.


Close-up on that slick.




So so so good.

There’s so much talk about the market at the moment, about its imminent collapse, its collapse that has already begun.

It’s as if this talk of market was the only story.

The work at Glasgow International points towards another way.

Which is a focus on work of lasting worth, often unsung, rather than that of obvious fame, infamy or novelty.

Four artists completely new to me: Cosima von Bonin; Tamara Henderson; Claire Barclay; Liz Magor.

One artist who suddenly made sense: Mika Rottenberg.

It was such a contrast to come back to London and see the new conceptual art show at Tate Britain, which is so confined to a male, expected idea of art.

In Glasgow, I’d gotten used to seeing stuff that to me was of broader reach.

Which is how things should be.

If you can get to Glasgow, go go go. The directors programme of shows is on until 25 April.

Tate Britain’s new show Conceptual Art in Britain should be renamed Male Romanticism in Britain

Tate Britain is previewing today a show it’s calling Conceptual Art in Britain 1964-1979.

More accurately, it should be called Male Romanticism in Britain 1964-1979.

Since the majority of the work is by male artists, and most of it is essentially romantic.

The land art of Richard Long.

The elevation of words by Art & Language.

The recording of location by David Tremlett.

All valid work, but all romantic.

And very, very male.

ringn’66 by Barry Flanagan, 1966.


A pile of sand, which seems a pretty romantic gesture towards material.

Soul City (Pyramid of Oranges) by Roelof Louw.


Anyone can take an orange from the top of the pile – a romantic gesture.

Maybe its because printed text seems so obsolete nowadays, but all of the work of Art & Language looks romantic to me.


The work of Bruce McLean is new to me.

Pose Work for Plinths questions plinth-based sculpture, taught to McLean in the 60s by Anthony Caro.


Another by McLean.


Keith Arnatt’s Self-Burial seems now a deeply romantic work about relationship with land.


The very title of The Pilgrim’s Way by Hamish Fulton makes it romantic.


It seems so strange to still be describing Richard Long in terms of conceptualism.

His work is so deeply romantic it overrides any attempt to call it conceptual.


Alongside it is The Spring Recordings by David Tremlett.

A series of cassettes, each featuring a recording from the 81 counties of the UK.

Again, a deeply romantic gesture.


Unless I missed something, the first work by a female artist appears in the fourth of five rooms.

Untitled by Sue Arrowsmith.

A series of photos of a frame in various states of being painted.

(Apologies for the reflection of me in the glass)


What’s interesting is how this take on conceptualism includes little antagonism.

At least retrospectively.

Now it mostly seems polite.

It’s not until the final room that there is any sense of push.

Homeworkers by Margaret Harrison, from 1977.


The Twin Towers by Stephen Willats, also from 1977.


It’s the sort of show that makes you feel there must be another story that went on.

But if you’re interest is in male romanticism, then its perfect.

The show opens tomorrow, click here for more etcetcetc

If you’re going to visit, maybe wait for a couple of weeks till Pablo Bronstein’s Duveen galleries commission opens…