Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Rokeby vs Mark Moore

Let's check the list:
Pearse the barman serving the drinks? Check.
Great hosts, Ed and Beth Greenacre, in attendance? Check.
Great art in the gallery? Check.
Lower gallery far too hot and sweaty? Check. And double check.
So, everything is as it should be at Rokeby. Or rather, as it should be - and more. Tonight is the opening of the Erica Eyres show in the top gallery and a small group show of artists from the Mark Moore Gallery in California. Of particular interest here is Alastair Mackie. I've seen some of his work before and it's brilliant. Tonight there's a baby's head made out of eggshells and a machine gun made from comics. The baby's head is called Egghead and it is one of those beautiful works that need no more explanation than what it is. It is just ace. But much as I want to look at it, the heat in the downstairs gallery is getting far too much for me. And just as I am passing out, Beth introduces me to Raul Ortega Ayala who did the previous show here. Yes, the one I never made it to, but kept pouring over the images on the website. Beautiful stuff. Beth gives me a catalogue of his work and then we all head our separate ways to get out the heat.
Catching some air outside on the pavement I chat to Calum F Kerr. We talk about the Office Politix show from last week and I also meet Emma Holden (above) who curated it. I tell her how much I like nettles (she was showing some) and then later, for no reason I can fathom, she puts on a glove puppet - snake monster or whatever he's called - and chat a bit more. Snake monster likes beer apparently, so I take a photo of Snake with some beer.
Noah Sherwood is there, saying 'don't take my photo.' He's too hot to have his photo taken because he's just come from the lower gallery...We talk about psuedonyms and about John Summers, who is in a group show next week. Noah introduces me to a girl called Boo. (Unusual name, I think. I quickly flip thru all the files marked 'B' in my back catalogue: there was Boo Radley in To Kill a Mocking Bird and then there was Boo Hewerdine, the singer songwriter who I used to go and see play tiny pubs in Cambridge in a band called The Bible a hundred and fifty years ago. And Betty Boo? Her too. And then, the only other Boo I can think of is an artist called Boo Ritson, whose name has come up a couple of times when I've been looking at shows, and I wonder if it is her). She's very nice and after a few words says to us, 'Can I tell you my good news? Is that ok? Before I EXPLODE?' And it is indeed good news. Saatchi has just bought five of her works. She says she dropped the phone when she found out, had a few tears and a stiff drink. Now she is thrilled and overjoyed and trying to be sensible and grounded all at the same time. I better get a photo I say. What's your second name? Oh, she say, you won't have heard of me or know my work, but it's Ritson. Bingo, I think. Then we bump into Hugh Mendes, who I know from his obituary paintings and the show Art News from last year at Three Colts.
Graham Hudson is talking to Noah. Being out on Chelsea Parade ground has given him a tan. He looks like he has just come back from holiday. They are with a guy called Max. Max runs the Mark Moore Gallery and has set this whole swap thing up with Rokeby. Why Rokeby? 'Because they're young, they're happening, their ambitious and they want to be a player.' Rokeby get some Mark Moore artists and Mark Moore gets Graham (have they any idea what they've let themselves in for, I wonder?). So Graham is off to the US at some stage. And then to Rome. And then, I'm sure he says, Nairobi. Can that be right?
Harry Pye is there too, talking about Rebel TV - a sort of updated Warhol TV. I think it's a great idea, as long as it's not too much like Warhol TV (which was just awful....).
Then it's closing and we head to The Asylum, an underground bar/club/place on the corner of Percy Street. There's a pole in the middle of the bar. It's a dive.
'Rokeby can do dives,' says Beth.
And I think, given what Max said earlier, Rokeby can do most things...


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