Monday, October 23, 2006

Your Gallery at The Guardian

There's, like, about a million artists on the Saatchi Your Gallery site. Everyone puts their work up there, hoping that one day Saatchi, at a loose end, sipping a cup of tea, will be idly scrolling through the artists and works online when suddenly, he comes across YOUR work and, spurting tea out of his mouth, shouts: 'MY GOD! THE FUTURE OF ART! I HAVE TO BUY THAT! NOW!'
Of course, this doesn't happen. Saatchi never drinks tea. He likes coffee.
I like coffee too. So a few months back, when I get an email from the Saatchi website that says, could you have a look through the artists online and maybe suggest a few names that we could put on a shortlist, BY TOMORROW, I let a little drop of coffee fall from my mouth too.
There's no way anyone could go through the whole list. It's just not feasible. So, I quickly scroll thru and find the names of anyone I know.
Yes, people of integrity and moral fibre, this is what happens. You all know it, but wish it wasn't so. It is the lesson that everyone has to learn eventually: It is not what you know, but who. Or in this case, who knows you.
So I know some people on the list. I send their names off to the website with a little bit of text saying what I think of their work.
Weeks, months pass.
Then I get an email from James Ford saying he is in The Guardian this morning having made the shortlist for a possible show at The Guardian's Farringdon Road offices.
Well done, James, I think.
He was one of the names I put forward.
So then there's a bit more voting by people and eventually there's a group show of ten artists.
James sends me an invite to the view. He got through.
Well, he sort of got through.
This is where it gets a bit curious.
James's work is General Carbuncle, a piece he has spent the last three years, on and off, working on. This is it here. It's a car, covered in thousands of little toy cars to produce a knobbly looking version of the General Lee car from the TV series The Dukes of Hazzard. I like this because it has a lot of impact. I like it because it nods to my own childhood with the toy cars and the TV series. And I like it because I think it is really, really stupid. Stupid, in a good way, though.
Tonight the General is sitting outside the gallery on the road, looking like a car has just parked up but obviously creating a lot of attention.
I find James inside. There are ten artists in the show and he isn't one of them.
'First they phoned me and said I was joint 10th, which was a bit odd. Then they said, er, actually you're 11th. Bring the car, they said, put it outside for the opening night.'
So James got the car to outside the gallery where inside the top ten artists are standing around, with their works on the walls, reading about themselves on the all the press material that's being handed out.
But no mention of the General or James.
We chat for a bit. I'm a bit confused by the whole thing.
And talking of being confused, I bump into Warren Neidich, who, true to previous form, looks slightly dazed, and says he has just landed. He's always just landed. He blinks and looks around. Maybe it's another planet he has landed from, I think.
He has a show coming up at Andrew Mummery's place and he is over here for the opening and, strangely, for the closing. Or the finissage, as Warren calls it. Warren likes those kinds of words. In the sentence after that he uses the words: 'postproduction', 'metaphysical', 'ontological' and 'symbolic'. It's a very Warren sentence. And he was only talking about going to the corner shop.
Mathieu Copeland and Dallas Seitz are there too. Mathieu is talking about my blog, saying that when he looks his own name up on google it usually ends up in my blog somewhere. I wonder, how many times does Mathieu look up his name on google?
Probably, I think, as many times as I do.
Dallas is talking about 1,000,000mph, his gallery. He says he should do more in terms of trying to get people to review it and stuff, but, he says, I'm too embarrassed to phone people up and talk to them...
Both Mathieu and I start laughing. This is rather like the pope saying he feels uncomfortable talking about religion.
Dallas's partner Matt is there too and I took a magazine for the shop from him the other day. Dallas had talked to me about it when I last saw him at Three Colts a while back. I say I was so relieved that the magazine was good; there's nothing worse than being recommended a fantastic new magazine/book/handstitched CD in a limited edition jewel case by an acquaintance only to find that it's complete rubbish.
Dallas says he wouldn't do that to me. He says when you tell people you run a gallery, the last thing you ever want to hear back is someone saying, 'oh, a gallery? You know, my friend's a really good artist..'

guardian pics


Blogger juno said...

hello Russell, i'm Juno... hope you don't mind me making a comment, i've linked you from my blog.
just wanted to say that i have a page in the saatchi site, had it well before there were 5 gazillion pages there, and you know, i'm aware saatchi doesn't have a look at it or anything, but i thought it was really admirable that he did it; i think it's great he sort of tried to 'democratise' the arts scene by allowing people to have pages there... it's such a non-London thing to do. none of the snobbery, none of the who you know crap. that's why i put my work there, not that i hold much hope anyone will ever find it, or care much about that :)
anyway, all the best, will be visiting sometime if that's ok


4:43 AM  
Blogger matthewgiraudeau said...

Hello sir, found your blog while looking for info on the Guy Hilton Gallery. I'm putting together a proposal for the Hayward curatorial open and went to meet up with Mark McGowan today. I want to do a whole exhibition of work that takes the piss out of itself/the viewer, basically.

Though I think I might word the proposal slightly differently.

I have a few artists other than Mark that do work that complements his, would you have any ideas for artists to talk to?
send us an email, or leave a comment on my blog, if you can think of anyone.

thanks in advance!

1:41 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home