Associates and Vyner
Associates, on Hoxton Street, have come up with a series of 12 one day shows over a period of 12 days, each taking place between 12 noon and 12 midnight.
That's gonna keep them busy, no?
It's Thursday, the first of the 12 shows begins, and I've checked the website and there's launches on some nights at 7pm but not tonight, but what the heck, I'm in that neck of the east end and so I'm going to pop along, see what, if anything, is going on. Maybe it'll be closed, shut up, finished. I don't know.
As I'm walking up there it doesn't look too promising. It's supposed to be Andrew Lampert, an American artist doing a thing called PUBLIC OPINION LABORATORY. I get there and look thru the windows.
Luckily it looks like something is definitely going on. There's a projector and someone holding a coloured gel in front of it and moving it around so that the room is going different colours; there's someone else painting onto a large sheet of paper...there are a couple of people standing around. I go in. The person painting is Rebecca May Marston (above), who co-organised all this with Andrew Bonacina. We say hello. She's painting a representation of a certificate of artists work. There are loads of these along the wall of the gallery that she has painted throughout the day from 12 noon.
The sound of a phone rings. A guy, looking at the bright glowing screen of a laptop says, 'ok: he says, move the gel a bit more. He says it looks really good. Keep doing it...'
The guy speaking is taking instruction from Andrew Lampert who is in the States, watching via a webcam and directing the people in the gallery into doing stuff. A girl comes out from the back of the gallery and starts reading aloud a text. I wander round, looking at the pieces Rebecca MM has painted. Each one describes a work, on which it is possible to bid and then own. They range from being sent a belated birthday card every year for five years, going out for a meal with the artist, having the artist shoot a super 8 film of the purchaser...small acts involving participation or connection with and to the artist in some way. I like them.
In fact, I like the whole gallery tonight. Despite the galleristas being ordered around by Lampert, and maybe a certain growing realisation that a full 12 hours of this is a pretty tall order for them, they all seem remarkably up for it and good spirits. It makes for a good vibe. And there's a certain frisson about the artist beaming into all this from the States.
I hang around for a bit.
I have a quick chat with Rebecca MM while she paints then say I'm heading up to Modern Art and I'll be back later. She says something about looking forward to a beer...
Vyner Street is busy. There's Modern Art, IBID and a bunch of strangers called Artists Anonymous all opening tonight.
I nip into see the Ross Tibbles show which I'm intrigued by because he uses old images from magazines, and that's something I like, but although there are some great resonances and dissonances in his collaging of images, objects and textures together, when seen as a whole they suffer from a singular tonality of form and colour which undercuts their individual power. I stand and look at one, trying to block out everything else. It gets better. It makes me think about images, how they are used, what they mean, how to look at them - all the sort of stuff that's been in my head since I saw Clunie Reid's work at flaca...
I hop across to the Philip Lau show across the road in the main part of Modern Art. It's a busy night. Underneath the parachute thing which is suspended across the ceiling of the gallery I hear people saying 'hi, long time no see' - as though Christmas has kept us all shut away and the first openings of the new year bring us all out again. Edging back out of the gallery I bump into Simon Bedwell, just back from New York, and we have a chat. Then I have to get down the road to check out the Artists Anonymous show on the corner. I have reservations about this - I included it in my weekly mailout but something in the arrogant, unironic and aggressive tone of their own missive left me feeling that there was going to be the same attitude at play in the gallery. In the back room is a psychedelic painting with an electric guitar coming out of it. Hmm, I think.
One of the artists is a woman wearing contact lenses which transform her eyes to those of a cat, black almonds looking out from pale yellow irises. Surely, I think, here's the photo of the night. But she's having none of it and won't let me take her photo. 'Only take photos of the work,' she says, forcefully.
Curious. Usually people who have cats eyes love being photographed. And being fed little bits of fish.
Across to IBID projects and while taking a quick look at Christopher Orr's work, Lisa Penny appears. She's come up from an opening at Fieldgate and is going on about Sarah Baker's video piece that's on down there. I'm well into her work at the moment so resolve to pay a visit at a later date. But, when though? Where is the time? Actually seeing shows is so hard. The time disappears. You could put a show on for ten years and the day after it closed I'd still be like, Oh, yeah, I really need to go and see tha- whaddya mean it's finished?
While we talk I take a few desultorily photos of the crowd in IBID. Lisa asks about the blog. I tell her that I'm almost done now. I just need to decide what the final private view will be, sometime near the end of February. She tells me to let her know in advance so she can be in the last blog. (She isn't the first one to ask this of me...).
From IBID we step to the pub, chat, and Lisa takes phone calls from her mate Sally who, although opting to stay at home tonight is still needing a vicarious private view experience so is texting and phoning with questions: Where are you now? Who are you with? What's the show like? Any good??
Ben Woodeson, who I have been saying hello to earlier and meaning to catch up with, appears at the bar and says - 'why don't you answer your phone? I've rung you three times since I've been in here.' I get out my phone. It says two missed calls. 'Ah right,' he says, 'so it was only twice.'
I have to go. I tell Woodeson I'll email him about next week - unless he wants to join me on Saturday to see Mark McGowan eat a swan...
He pulls a face. The same face that lots of people pull when you say you are going to see Mark McGowan do a [INSERT A SUITABLY PROVOCATIVE/STUPID/OUTRAGEOUS/ALL THREE OF THESE PERFORMANCE IDEA HERE]
I go, slightly later that I thought I was going to, and decide I can't really get back down to Associates.
I do wonder, though, what Andrew is telling them to do now.
Ring Ring: OK, dudes, start drinking beer!
no cats eye pics