David Zwirner in London has just opened a show by the little known artist Jack Bilbo.
It’s totally amazing.
Bilbo was born in Berlin in 1907, fleeing the Nazis in the 30s and settling in London in 1936.
Self taught, his work is of humour, sex and morality.
Here’s one of his works.
It reads “I don’t like private capitalism, I don’t like state capitalism – I do like my own capitalism.”
Another work, this one from the ’40s.
It reads “Anything to be original”, say the Boheemohomians (The He-Shees)
It reads: “Death knows no frontiers, races, classes, or religions – Death is impartial – why not life?”
It reads: “The State is a heartless machine, yet it holds your heart in its destructive hands. The state itself has neither heart nor conscience, not sense of humour.”
It reads: “Five politicians trying to get the vote of the village idiot”.
“A stroke of the pen, a rubber stamp – decide who shall be homeless.”
The curator Rodolphe von Hoffmannsthal says that he first became aware of Bilbo’s work last November, when the amazing Aaron Angell exhibited his work alongside Bilbo in Glasgow at SWG3.
Apparently Bilbo was into spanking.
Hence the obsession with women’s backsides.
It’s called “The Bottom-Face”.
And then this…
It’s called “Afternoon In The Garden”.
“Close neighbours who cannot meet, even when they pass in the street”.
“Women expecting triplets, returning home from the cinema”.
There are paintings too.
Here’s a self-portrait.
I love this portrait.
During the Blitz, Bilbo opened The Modern Art Gallery in St James’s.
There he showed pieces by Picasso and Kurt Schwitters alongside his own work.
A book that he published.
Bilbo once self-published his autobiography.
Jack by Jack Bilbo.
There’s a copy of it by the front desk that you can flick through.
The Modern Art Gallery.
The beginning of a chapter on Decadence And Culture.
One of the sculptures he made in Weybridge, where he moved after the war.
Among the specs are its weight: 44,000 lbs.
Such an amazing show.
David Zwirner’s just up the road from Dover Street Market.