Thursday, October 26, 2006

Seventeen, Jerwood, Art Monthly

Would you say that's nerdy?
I am talking to Graham Dolphin (above) at the opening of his show at Seventeen gallery and he is pointing to the album cover of Patti Smith's Horses, one of his works perched up on the wall. 'When people walk past and look in it'll look just like the cover of the album, as though I've done nothing at all to it and I'm just showing the thing itself.'
But of course, it's not simply the cover, because scratched into the cardboard of it are the lyrics to all the songs on the album. Tiny, tiny script that goes from one side of the cover to the other. It must have taken months.
Would you say that's nerdy?
'And look at this,' says Graham, pointing to the word Horses on the album. 'This is a first pressing of the album and in the subsequent editions the word Horses is in grey, not white like this. Apparently, when they were first put out there was some worry that people wouldn't be able to see that title.'
Would you say that's nerdy?
'It sounds a bit nerdy, really,' says Graham, and you know what? I have to agree.
But that of course is precisely the strength and attraction of his work. I've been a fan of his stuff from seeing a series of works he did using fashion magazines a few years back. 'I kept getting put into shows about fashion, and it's not that the work is really about that.'
'So now,' I say, looking round the gallery at the albums, singles and pop posters, 'you'll be in shows about music.'
'Yeah. Probably,' he says.
We would have talked more about this but Dave Hoyland comes and introduces someone to Graham who has just bought one of his works from tonight's show.
I head off, down to the Jerwood to check in with Simon Tsyzko and the show Blurred Certainty. We have a quick chat but I have to move on, up Blackfriars Road, left onto Stamford Street to the Hayward and a party celebrating 30 years of Art Monthly.
It's a big party. And there's free champagne, so you just know that there will be some blurred uncertainties by the end of this one...
I see Jen Thatcher and JJ Charlesworth there. Sally O'Reilly too. While Sally and I are trying to attempt to have some sort of conversation that doesn't involve silly voices, Patricia Bickers gives a wonderfully measured and perfectly concise speech about Art Monthly and its hardcore crew of long serving staffers.
Then we head over to see the Art Monthly cake. While we are there I meet Rosie Spencer, who I recognise from the background of thousands of private views we've both been at over the last year. She has just been working on the big new Phaidon book Vitamin Ph, is working at Icon magazine and even finds time to produce White Collar, a small magazine which I have been stocking at the bookshop and which is a unique little read. I bump into David Gleeson who I met recently at Giorgio's (who is also there himself, muttering darkly, and apropos of nothing 'I don't like you anymore,' which is not as bad as it sounds as I point out to him that he never liked me in the first place anyway....). Andrew Cross is there with David and I hang out near them for a while. Being near David is like having all the gossip delivered directly to you. People rarely pass him without handing over some delicious piece of information or name of a recently successful applicant for whatever job is currently hot...and so as Sarah Kent stops off for a chat, and we say hello to Rebecca Wilson and many others I slowly realise that there's practically nothing I can report back. But then again, it'll all be common knowledge in the next few weeks anyway...nothing is more important to successful gossip as a sell by date.
I meet other people and chat but, as there's free champagne, I think you know the rest of this story already...

party pics


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