Thursday, April 06, 2006

Annie Kevans Studio 1.1

Earlier in the day Mark McGowan comes into the bookshop at the ICA. He is his usual loud, slightly hamfisted self. He has a video camera with him and shows me a film he has just made with Simon Old - I think it's called Black Hawk Down. It shows Simon, dressed in a black cape and crappy handmade crows beak jumping down the Duke of York Steps, then hopping around crowing while some kids point and laugh. The film ends with a rather long segment of Simon holding an umbrella made to look like a crow, again making loud squawking noises. Mark talks about how sometimes he finds the whole gallery thing difficult, preferring to just hang out with people or do things in the street (like pushing peanuts along the road with his nose, for instance). It's just that galleries don't take notice unless you do things in white walled spaces. He tells me he saw Simon do a performance where he had a copy of Beowulf in one hand and a copy of Peter Benchley's Jaws in the other and read from both, switching from one to another. Then he covered himself in peanut butter. Mark thought this was brilliant.
I'm thinking about this and about the artworld and about the difficulties in looking at art and being able to see stuff as I'm walking to the Annie Kevans pv at Studio 1.1 in Redchurch Street. All sorts of things make it difficult to look at art. Money, for example, is certainly one of them.
Annie's graduation show sold out (to Charles, naturally) so this means that her solo show at Studio 1.1 has good odds to do the same. Approaching the gallery I see John Tiney, Lisa Penny, John Summers and a guy called Tom who has no surname (ok, he does, I just didn't get it - he's not like Prince or Madonna or something). The four of them are skulking across the road from the gallery like naughty schoolchildren. I go over and catch up, then head into the gallery scrum for a beer and then straight out again to breathe. I talk to Lisa and it seems we have some common history, both having some sort of background in drama. Lisa tells me a story about having to say the word 'furskin' in a group exercise and getting so wound up that she obviously ends up loudly saying the word 'foreskin'. It's funny story, I just wonder what the other people around us tonight think is going on. Then we talk about how much we look like other people. She looks like her niece and I look like my dad.
We say hello to Michael who is one of the guys who runs 1.1 and then head back in to try and get more beer. But we're out of luck. By the time I get to the bar at the back the beer's gone. I figure I ought to get a picture of the barman anyway, for my ongoing 'Best Barperson at a Private View Award'. Turns out he isn't your usual kind of barperson. He's called Ron and he too runs the place along with Michael, Flora, Keran and Gill (well, that's the names on the website). We have a chat and he tells me how the whole of Annie's show has sold out already. It was like a carboot sale, he says, when the dealers come early, poking their noses in to your goods before you've even got them out of the boxes, before anyone else is there and snapping up all the good stuff. 'We've sold eight to someone in Italy, another ten to someone in America'....It's thrilling stuff. And a good help to the gallery. Everyone needs a bestseller. Anyway, that's Annie and Ron above (Ron's the one on the right, by the way).
Seeing as the gallery has run dry, Lisa, John Summers and I go to the Owl and Pussycat for a drink and Lisa talks about an ex boyfriend who used to be the drummer in Cud (a band I vaguely remember from years ago). She ends up at one point in the story having a meal with Fish from Marillion in his house where the band are recording. Later on she talks about 70's perms. John is talking about the Fat Duck in Bray where he has just been for a meal. I get very excited by this as I've never been but always mean to. John tells us it's quite an experience. 'Like, dude, all the waiters are french, so this dude comes up to take the order with this, like, french twang and stuff...' If you know John, you'll know that he speaks with a pronounced American twang. It think it must have been a great thing to see him there...
We go with Annie to the after party but there's something not right (like the price of the drinks) so we make for the Bricklayers Arms. I talk to John about private views and what they achieve and what they are for and all the stuff that people usually pick up on when talking about private views. Like, how difficult it is to see the work. And it was very hard to see it tonight.
When someone asks me the following morning what the show was like I say, 'Well, she'd sold all the work before the show was opened.'
And that, I think, is the end, but also the beginning, of the story.


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