Archives for posts with tag: White Cube

Even though, as I was recently told, I have no right to be writing about art…I brazenly decided, against my better judgment, that I should risk making a fool of myself by attending the Armory Show.

God forbid if I write something dumb.  I decided that I would NOT have opinions.  How would that feel?  But, try as I might… within seconds of arriving at the 2011 Armory show… I was overwhelmed with… opinions.  Many, many opinions. Sickeningly, I just could not stop.  Opinions… swarmed… like bees.  Involuntary… like hiccups, like dry heaving, like angina.  In many cases the opinions were as painful as having a heart attack.  Worst of all… I had no idea if my opinions were worth having or not.

I was invited by Adam Gross…thanks for asking Lorcan.  “Who invited you?”  He sneered imperiously.  “What are you doing here?”  I stopped by at 12 midday with my friend Aaron so I could enjoy a leisurely meander around the 200 or so stands on Pier 94 devoted to NEW WORK BY LIVING ARTISTS….rather than fight through a raucous crowd at 5pm like everyone else.  All the usual suspects in attendance.

Remember when Jay first came here?  That little room at the Gramercy Park Hotel?  Those were exciting days.  The White Cube gallery is now an ‘institution’ and looked just like that: a dreary, so what space showing all the usual stuff in all the usual ways. White Cube has lost its edge. In the words of Jay’s greatest victim Miss Tracy Emin it is ‘stuck, stuck, stuck’.

Living artists?

Also stuck: Max Wigram (looks terribly OLD) and Lorcan O’Neill (attractive) who still pedal that same old YBA shit. Lorcan tried to up his game with a mediocre Richard Long mud work but it was too little too late.

Victoria Miro, also an ‘institution’ but less arrogant, more in touch.

There sure were slim pickings this year.  There were a few exceptional stands that inspired and a few artists who caught our attention.  Here are some of them:

My favorite piece and stand were audaciously combined by Paul Kasmin.  Ivan Navarro’s site specific Armory Fence delineated Kasmin’s pitch and excluded even the gallery assistants who sat at the edge taking comments and cards.  It was genius.

Ivan Navarro at Paul Kasmin

Felt a little sorry for the surrounding booths as there was no escaping the nuclear fallout from Navarro’s huge neon piece.

I loved Sean Kelly’s delicious space and choices. I asked him if he had offered Billy Childish a show. “Not to my knowledge.” He said.

Richard Heller showing Devin Troy Strother…not usually worth mentioning but there is something charming about Devin’s new work.

At Josh Lilly I fell in love with the work of Analin Saban who works in LA and shares a studio with John Baldessari. It sold moments before I could pull out my cheque book.

Analin Saban @ Josh Lilley

At Leo Koenig I was drawn to and offered to buy a small and very beautiful work by Nicole Eisenman. Again I was beaten at the pass by an ‘important’ collector. It was the only piece that they had sold. At 6.5k this was a bargain. Studio visit planned for next week. I dragged Stavros Niarchos into the gallery to admire this most painterly of painters.  Leo started in on Vito Schnabel, boasting that it was opening his gallery that inspired Vito to become a gallerist. Really?

Bumped into my friends from the Donald Judd Foundation who invited me this week on a hard hat tour of the space on Spring St that is currently being extensively renovated.

I noticed Jay Jopling all over a Belinde De Bruyckere work at Galleria Continua. Here it is:

Berlinde De Bruyckere

There was another work of hers at Sean Kelly’s:

Berlinde De Bruyckere

Frankly the boys were prettier than the art… and cheaper.  One GORGEOUS Swiss boy working his father’s gallery.

Lunch with Aaron at Soho House.   Steam room.  Saw Joan.  Missed Dan.  Dinner and a cuddle with SH.

On the way home from the Armory we stopped off at David Zwirner’s gallery on 19th street.

Marcel Dzama’s Behind Every Curtain. Delightful:

I love Shoreditch too.  I love Soho.  I love rioting students.

I love (particularly) the paint splattered Rolls that the parasite Prince Charles and the hag Camilla were caught in the other day by the ‘off with their heads’ militant protestors.  hahaah.

I am really loving being home. It has settled something in me.

After my fuck session (which will do me for some time I might add) I wandered happily all over Shoreditch.

I stopped in at a number of cool looking shops:  like the funky Japanese run clothes shop that sold padded linen overwear, the odd man’s pop up shop that sold Swedish soldiers head-gear and ‘vintage’ socks.

A shop that sells second-hand mens socks.  Eww.

I dropped into White Cube and resisted calling Jay.  The show was spectacularly lame.   The entire space devoted to a 37 year old artist called Rachel Kneebone.  Lamentations 2010 is the name of the downstairs show.  Huge white porcelain tangled/mangled/reconstituted genitals on huge marble plinths set against slate grey walls..beautifully lit.  The usual soulless, inchoate nonsense you might expect to find in White Cube.  They reminded one..obviously of the Chapman brothers and their obsession with the dark, chaotic imagery of the unconscious.

White Cube

Jay is already showing new artists who cannibalize existing White Cube artists.  Apparently Kneebone is expressing the ‘trauma of death, loss and grief’ and shown differently these works might very well have achieved her aim but so elegantly displayed they had the guts knocked right out of them.  I went upstairs to see the rest of the show but was told to leave as I had the dog with me.  I wasn’t leaving the Little Dog outside so I left.

I wandered around.  I met a man in the street who offered to blow me but I hadn’t showered that morning after a night of sex… I declined more for his benefit.

I found a wonderful shop called Labour and Wait which can be found at:

Labour and Wait

This charming store is really worth a visit.  I thought, when I found the 1940’s lilac, enameled milk-boiling pot pictured below:  Oooh, I thought, my friend Marilyn Phipps would like this.

As if by magic..who did I bump into today?

Marilyn Phipps!

Marilyn has the most wonderful home in Seasalter called The Battery.

The Battery, a nineteenth-century naval building, is a huge, bright blue, wooden house that sits right on the Whitstable beach and faces onto a 120ft secluded sea-front.  The Battery is a shrine to Forties ‘utility’. The kitchen was put in during the Forties when the house was used as a holiday retreat for disadvantaged children.

Marilyn has carried on the Forties theme throughout the house. The two huge wooden doors between the dining room and kitchen were made in the Forties for Ramsgate post office. The kitchen walls are lined with teapots, sugar shakers, vinegar jars, and salt cellars.

A huge kitchen clock was bought locally and the chunky table was already there.

The Battery can be incredibly hard to keep warm. Marilyn solved her problem by installing an enormous wood-burner for the dining room. She painted it midnight blue, making it more abstract sculpture than functional heater…she calls it The Beast.

The Battery has a fascinating history and features in the book Wooden Houses. It was built as two big wooden sheds at the end of the nineteenth century.  The first housed two cannons, the second was a drill hall for sailors, and during WW1 it was a convalescent home for wounded soldiers.

Marilyn still get’s people visiting who remember it from their childhood holidays in the Forties, saying they had the happiest time of their life here.

Wait!  Did I tell you that they found a strangled woman in the room I was staying in at Soho House NYC?  I can’t wait to stay there again.