Friday, March 02, 2007

Russell Herron's Blog

Well, let's see. What are we drinking here? Ah yes...
Finally. After a year of stumbling round the dirty London artworld this is where it ends. Right here, with me, on my own, hunched over the keyboard, sipping from a glass. I set out to try and make a record of what was happening over a year and, whilst knowingly inconclusive, subjective, incomplete and flawed, I've done it. Over the last 12 - 13 months I've been to over 170 private views, made 130 seperate entries on this blog, seen a great deal of art and met a whole host of artists and gallerists, dealers and writers, wannabes and willbes.
I wanted to write something of what is is like to be in the artworld at this time. It is, although it may be sometimes difficult to see, a love letter. To London, to the London artworld and the people, all of them, who make it happen in so many surprising and brilliant ways. We were all in it together. We were all here, trying to get along.
I wrote it because I wanted to tackle history without hindsght. I wanted to find out what it all looked like now and not have to wait for history to rearrange it all into something that made sense. I wanted to know who was doing what and where and what did it look like? I was looking for what was coming next, or what was just happening or what was still on the way. I wanted The New. And with this in mind, I mostly avoided the big galleries. I sniffed around the smaller independent spaces; the front rooms, the disused shops, clubs and squats.
I undoubtedly missed some of the the key shows of the last year. And I undoubtedly stumbled drunk through shows which may one day be regarded as turning points, beginnings of movements, or seminal moments in artists careers. Well, so be it. I set myself an impossible task and I failed and I also succeeded.
Anyway, this is it.
Or more precisely, this was now.

Thanks to all the people who appeared in different ways in this blog. Thanks to all the people who read it. Thank you to the people who emailed me invitations to come and see what you were doing. And thank you to the people who took the time to leave comments on the blog (even the lovely person who left this one).

The following is a list of all the artists, gallerists, writers and curators, and other assorted people that have been mentioned in the blog - sometimes at length, sometimes merely as a name check/drop, sometimes as something in between - with links to, wherever possible and where I could find it, their own website/blog/myspace/info/gallery page, whatever. And sometimes, where I felt it was particularly relevant, back to an entrance in this blog. Usually a link back to this blog signifies an entry that has some interest more than just a namecheck. If you are interested to see where a name appears in the blog but there is no link to it in this list type russell herron + name into any search engine. It usually gets there.


It's been a ride.

Russell Herron

Artists, Gallerists, Writers, Curators, People

David Adjaye (website), Kathrine Aertebjerg (blog, website), Jonathan Allen (blog, website), Craig Andrews (info),
Artists Anonymous (website), Reza Aramesh (blog, blog, website), Katherine Araniello and Aaron Williamson (website),
Simon Armstrong (myspace), Matthew Arnatt (blog, website), Michael Ashcroft (artnet), Kate Atkin (blog, axis), Raul Ortega Ayala (blog, retitle), Franko B (website), Francis Bacon (wikipedia), Jenny Baines (blog), Jess Baines (info), Sarah Baker (blog, website), John Balderssari (website), Oliver Bancroft (blog, info), Bandism (myspace), Fiona Banner (website), Sam Basu (artfacts), Florian Baudrexel (info), Jibby Beane (website), Olly Beck (blog, myspace), Simon Bedwell (blog, blog, website), Maria Benjamin (guestroom site), Emma Bennett (blog, blog, website), Eva Berendes (info), Ashley Biles (blog), Bjork (website), Blood 'n' Feathers (blog, website), Ryan Board (blog), John Bock (website), Andrew Bonacina (blog, info), Ben Borthwick (blog), Rob Bowman (blog), Charlotte Bracegirdle (blog, saatchisite), Brian who works at Tate Modern (blog), Martin Bricelj (website), Marcel Broodthaers (website), Jemima Brown (blog, website), Millie Brown (blog, myspace), Bettina Brunner (website), Matt Bryans (blog, blog, Kate MacGarry's site), Christoph B├╝chel (blog, website), Chris Burden (website), Harry Burden (blog, website), Bev Bytheway (blog), C.Cred (blog, website), James Capper (blog), Brendan Michael Carey (blog), Gillian Carnegie (tate site), Luke Carson (blog), Hector Castells (blog), Brian Catling (blog, website), Jake and Dinos Chapman (wikipedia), Fleur Charlesworth (blog, myspace), JJ Charlesworth (website), Gordon Cheung (website), Charlotte Church (website), Oliver Clegg (website), Colette (blog, blog), Anna Colin (website), Laura Youngson Coll (jerwood site), Paul Collinson (jerwood site), Susan Collis (seventeen site), Celine Condorelli (website), Mario Consiglio (artnet), Mike Cooter (blog, website), Matthieu Copeland (blog, blog website),Tom Cox-Bisham (blog), Patrick Coyle (blog, myspace), Martin Creed (blog, website), The Crisps (myspace), Stuart Croft (lux site), Bridget Crone (blog), Andrew Cross (website), Dorothy Cross (website), Oona Culley (blog, website), Stuart Cumberland (blog, web), Will Cunningham (blog), Cyclops (sartorial site), Tom Dale (blog, website), Karen D'Amico (blog, blog, Karen's blog), Virginia Damtsa (website), Charlie Danby (blog, website), Matthew Darbyshire (website), Sam Dargan (rokeby site), Christopher Davies (blog, sartorial site), Liz Dawson (jerwood site), Guy Days (blog), Richard Dedomenici (blog, blog, website), Jeremy Deller (tate site), Andrew Graham Dixon (blog, wiki site), Graham Dolphin (blog, website), Douglas the bar (blog), Sarah Doyle (blog, blog, blog, blog, website), Sarah Dwyer (blog, website), Jamie Eastman (blog, blog), Hugh Edmeades (blog), Lee Edwards (blog, blog, myspace), Einsturzende Neubauten (website), David Ellis (blog), Kate Ellis (blog), Tom Ellis (blog), Tracey Emin (blog, saatchi site), Simon English (blog, Fred site), David Ersser (blog, seventeen site), Ekow Eshun (blog, wiki), Clare Evans (blog), Cerith Wyn Evans (blog, tate site), Flora Fairbairn (saatchi site), Abigail Fallis (bbc site), Tessa Farmer (saatchi site), Tatiana Echeverri Fernandez (wiki site), Doug Fishbone (blog, website), Craig Fisher (rokeby site), Ceal Floyer (blog, Lisson site), Josephine Flynn (blog, axisweb), James R Ford (blog, website), Laura Oldfield Ford (blog, blog), Melissa Franklin (website), Joe Frazer (blog, website), Carl Freedman (blog, counter website), Katharina Fritsch (tate site), Ellen Gallagher (blog, art 21 site), Ryan Gander (blog, blog, blog, store site), Francesca Gavin (blog, blog), Ana Genoves (pilot site), Gilbert and George (wiki site), Antonio Gianasi (blog, website), Sarah Gilham (blog), Liam Gillick (corvi mora site), Kirsten Glass (Hales website), David Gleeson (blog, blog), Michel Gondry (website), Dryden Goodwin (blog, website), Douglas Gordon (wiki), Paul Gorman (blog, website), Anthony Gormley (website), Michelle Grabner (rocket site), Andrew Grassie (blog, sperone westwater site), Andrea Gregson (creekside site), Beth Greenacre (blog), blog, blog, website), Ed Greenacre (blog, blog, website), Nigel Grimmer (blog, blog, blog, website), Lucy Gunning (blog, tate site), Nick Hackworth (website), Matt Hale (blog), Trevor Hall (blog), Lesley Halliwell (blog, website), Nathalie Hambro (website), Chris Hammond (website), Paul Harfleet (blog, website), Ellie Harrison (blog, website), Lucy Harrison (blog, blog, website), Matthew Harrison (blog, associates website), Claire Harvey (blog, store site), Eric Hattan (blog, website), John Hayward/Hayvend (blog, website), Nadia Hebson ( blog, website), Celia Hempton (blog), Knut Henrik Henriksen (blog, website), Russell Herron (blog, blog blog blog myspace), Angie Hicks (blog, website), Damien Hirst (artnet), Jens Hoffmann (blog, blog, blog, wiki), Emma Holden (blog, blog), Will Holder (associates site), Sigrid Holmwood (website), Matthew Holroyd (blog, myspace), Gemma Holt (blog), Paul Hosking (Fred site), Dave Hoyland (blog, blog, blog, website), Graham Hudson (blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, rokeby site), Richard Hughes (blog, modern inst site), Mustafa Hulusi (blog, blog, , website), Gary Hume (white cube site), Tom Humphreys (blog, blog, blog, blog, website), Adam Humphries (artfacts site), John Isaacs (website), Hilary Jack (blog, website), James the bar (blog), Anna-Karin Jansson (transition site), James Jessop (blog, sartorial site), Jasper Joffe (website), Daffyd Jones (website), Reece Jones (website), Jay Jopling (website), Brian Jungen (nativeonline site), Katsonobu (corking site), Tony Kaye (wiki), the Keith Talent boys, Simon and Andrew (blog, blog, blog, blog, website), Ellsworth Kelly (Guggenheim site), Mike Kelley (site), Sarah Kent (blog, iniva site), Calum F Kerr (blog, blog, blog, blog, website), Tobie Kerridge (blog, website), Annie Kevans (blog, website), Neill Kidgell (blog, myspace), Martin Kippenberger (website), Sharon Kivland (website), Tim Knowles (blog, website), Cressida Kocienski (blog, myspace), Meiro Koizumi (blog, artfacts site), Rem Koolhaas (blog, great buildings site), Jeff Koons (website), Thomas Kratz (web), Shay Kun (blog, website), Jari Lager (blog, web), James Lambert (myspace), Jim Lambie (modern inst site), Andrew Lampert (blog, site), Philip Lai (modern art site), Bill Leslie (website), Simon Linke (website), The Little Artists (website), Hew Locke (website), Cathy Lomax (blog, transition site), London Improvisers Orchestra (website), SR London (web), Liza Lou (blog, Deitchsite), Richard Louderback (museum 52 site), Anne Low (associates site), Sarah Lucas (collective site), Luci, Richard Dedomenici's girlfriend (blog), Paul McCarthy (ralph mag site), Tom McCarthy (blog, interview), Sarah McCrory (website), Peter McDonald (museum 52 site), Mark McGowan (blog, blog, blog, blog, blog , website), Alastair Mackie (blog, blog, website), Nina Madden (blog), Fred Mann (blog, website), Christian Marclay (youtube), Rebecca May Marston (blog, blog, blog, blog, Associates), Helen Mason (blog), Matt the barperson (blog), Bob Matthews (blog, web info), Flavia Muller Medeiros (blog, website), Ron Meerbeek (blog, blog, web), Sebastian Mekas (blog), Hugh Mendes (blog, website), Gretta Safarty Merchant (website), Alex Michon (blog, transition site), Minkoff and Olesen (info web), Jo Mitchell (ica), The Mixed Up Insects (blog, myspace), Catherine Morland (website), Jack Morton (blog), Tom Morton (blog, interview), Mr P (sartorial site), Charlie Murphy (blog, website), Rosalind Nashashibi (doggerfisher site), Nathan 80 (sartorial site), Mike Nelson (frieze), Nick, Dave's business partner at Seventeen (blog), Warren Neidich (blog, blog, blog, blog, web), Lena Nix (website), Gavin Nolan (myspace), Benn Northover aka Beautiful Boy (blog, blog), O.two (sartorial site), Dermot O'Brien (blog, website), Hans Ulrich Obrist (blog, books by), Gary O'Connor (about a show), Kirsty Ogg (website), Louise O'Hare (blog, trebuchet mag), Ed Oliver (blog), Sally O'Reilly (blog, blog, info), Christopher Orr (ibid site), Kevin Osmond (website), Simon Ould (blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog), Djordje Ozbolt (website), Matt Packer (blog, blog, website), Maureen Paley (blog, blog, website), Lisa Panting (blog, website), Seb Patane (blog), Simon Patterson (iniva archive), Mark Pawson (blog, website), Pearse the Barperson (blog), Pearse's brother (blog), Lisa Penny (blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, apartment site), Giles Perry (new contemporaries), Holly Pester (blog, blog, myspace), Raymond Pettibon (website), Sarah Pickering (website), Paul Pieroni (blog, myspace), Anne Pigalle (website), Cathie Pilkington (blog, web info), Olivia Plender (web), Chong Boon Pok (imt site), George Polke (blog, website), Polite Cards (website), Christiane Pooley (blog), Simon Popper (project), William Powhida (blog, website), Sara Preibsch (blog), Adele Prince (website), Richard Prince (nymag site), Harry Pye (blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, myspace), Martha Pym (blog), Emma Quinn (blog), Jacques Ranciere (wiki), Olivia-Jane Ransley (blog, flux factory), Niru Ratnam (blog, blog, store), Brian Reed (blog, blog, blog, seventeen site), Vic Reeves (bbc site), Clunie Reid (blog, brooklyn rail review), Richard Reid, the shoebomber (blog), Mari Reijnders (blog, blog), Mandla Reuter (blog, web), Joseph Richards (blog, website), Boo Ritson (blog, saatchi site), Jo Robertson (blog, website), James Rosenquist (website), Dieter Roth (moma site), Paula Roush (blog, msdm), Rob Ryan (website), Giorgio Sadotti (blog, blog, blog, blog), Micheal Sailstorfer (blog, website), Rafael Sanchez (blog), Sarah Scarsbrook (blog, bristol site), Joe Schneider (blog, website), Collier Schorr (info web), Rose Scott (blog), Liam Scully (blog, web), Tino Sehgal (blog, blog), Dallas Seitz (blog, blog, blog, blog, blog, by Sarah Baker), Frank Selby (museum 52 site), Martin Sexton (sartorial site), Chris Shepherd (blog, slinky site), Cindy Sherman (website), Noah Sherwood (blog, artfacts ), Jamie Shovlin (blog, saatchi site), David Shrigley (website), Jason Shulman (blog, web info), Daniel Sinsel (sadie cole's site), Mark Sladen (ica), Florian Slotawa (blog, website), Bob and Roberta Smith (blog, blog, blog, website), Matthew Smith (blog, store site), Rowland Smith (blog), Steph Smith (blog, myspace), Steve Smith (blog, blog, Steve's blog), Terry Smith (blog, matthew bown site), Rosie Spencer (blog, blog, icon mag), Malin Stahl (blog, website), Simon Starling (modern inst site), Georgina Starr (blog, blog, website), Sarah Staton (blog, website), Lucy Stein (blog, blood n feathers), John Stezaker (blog, approach site), Kate Street (blog, blog, website), (website), John Summers (blog, blog, blog, website), Superqueens (blog, website), Ricky Swallow (blog, blog, gallery info), Marcus Sweeney (blog), Neil Tait (white cube), Tomoko Takahashi (tate site), Tatty Devine (Rosie and Harriet) (blog, website), Neil Taylor (blog, website), Jen Thatcher (blog, kultureflash), Russell Thoburn (blog, website), Barry Thompson (blog, blog, blog, blog, rachmaninoff's site), Matthew Thompson (blog, MOT), Mimei Thompson (blog, website), Karina Thoren and John Chantler (blog, recording), Ross Tibbles (blog, modern art site), Wolfgang Tillmans (images), John Tiney (blog, blog, drive thru), Wawrzyniec Tokarski (web info), Sue Tompkins (blog, blog, modern inst site), William Tuck (blog, artnet), Gavin Turk (artnet), Rachel Tweddell (blog, blog, apartment), Simon Tyszko (blog, phlight site), Sally Underwood (blog, artnet), Donald Urquhart (saatchi site), Lillian Vaule (flaca), Gabriel Acevedo Velarde (blog, agency), Julie Verhoeven (blog, website), Stella Vine (blog, blog, blog, website), Bill Viola (blog, website), Banks Violette (website), Jessica Voorsanger (modern culture), Zoe Walker and Neil Bromwich (blog, website), Simon Wallis (blog, website), Andy Warhol (warhol museum), Jonathan Wateridge (blog, david risley site), Cecilia Wee (blog, blog, blog, website), Anuschka Weise (blog), Mark Westall (blog, website), Michael Whittle (transition site), Virgil Widrich (blog, youtube), David Wilkinson (blog, apartment site), Bedwyr Williams (blog, blog, website), Nicola Williams (blog), Robbie Williams (website), Rosemary Williams (blog, website), Sarah Williams (blog, myspace), Rebecca Wilson (saatchi site), Sol Le Witt ( website), Roman Wolgin (blog, website), Ben Woodeson ( blog, blog, blog, website), Clare Woods (blog, modern art), Tom Woolner (blog, website), Liz Wright (blog, tate), Angus Wyatt (new contemporaries), Mary Yacoob (website), Haegue Yang (blog, works by), Kiyoshi Yasuda (blog, seventeen site), Ingrid Z (blog, blog, website).


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bad then Good

I thought at first that the whole thing might be some kind of odd, though - I have to admit - impressively detailed, hoax. It began with an article in The Observer which caught my eye, about an artist, Russell Thoburn, who had been making his way into after parties of posh private views using a false name - mostly, from what I could tell, that of 'Alex James' from Blur. The article suggested that he had been doing this for about three years, so potentially I thought this might be quite interesting - if also not a little suspect, underhand, insidious and, quite simply, rude. And he was now putting on a show about his exploits called The Fake's Progress. I wondered what the show could possibly be. There was mention in the article of a work that he had made using matchboxes from the venues of these after parties, arranged like a sort of stonehenge circle, with some matches standing upright inside the circle and then many, many more matches outside it. I wondered, at this point, if this was really the sum total of what he had produced. I groped round the internet for more information and found a couple of sites on retitle, and a website dedicated to the artist himself. It makes for interesting reading on many levels, though none which I suspect the artist intended. Check out the website here. Written with a breathy excitement reminiscent of a 1950s Boys Own adventure there's a lot of text about him and his career. Though when I say career....the main details, as spelt out endlessly by the artist himself are these: in 1997 he made a work about Saatchi's go-kart. This was 'notoriously' mentioned in The Daily Star and launched his art on the world. After this, though, there seems to have a been a period of not making any waves or work until 2004 when he pitches up in the Hay Gallery in Colchester (no, me neither) with a show called Paperscapes. And now this - a show at the Foundry, God bless it, about his adventures in the artworld, and a work, made out of matchsticks, which 'illustrates' this.
Boy, there are so many questions that I want to ask this guy. The quite astonishing thing is how far he is from where he (thinks) he wants to be. I want to ask him about what he thinks of all of this, this little adventure he - or rather, 'Alex James' - has been on?
He believes that if only the right people knew about his work then he would be bought and lauded like all the other artists that he is so clearly in awe of and about whom he is so twisted with jealousy. Now, ok, be honest, so far, so recognisable. You know, I'm not so far from those thoughts. I can get where he's coming from, but, what I don't get, is where he is going. Or rather, what he hoped to do when he got there. Did he really think that by getting into an after party it was all going to open up for him? And surely, once he'd been to one, standing there like a plum while everyone around him said hello to each other, did it not occur to him that this was not going to get him anywhere? And did he really think that by lying to gallerists and artists that this would ingratiate him to them? And what's with the whole 'Alex James' thing? What was he thinking?
Like I said, so many questions.....
Lena and I go downstairs in The Foundry and find a small show and a handful of people standing around. There's the matchstick work. And here are some things on the wall. They look like invites to private views except they're not, they are things he has made, I think, then printed the private view details on. And then overlaid these with the contents of emails from 'Alex James' to various people who work at galleries. There's maybe 8 examples of these. Surely he went to more over three years, I think? I have a closer look. There's one about getting into the Turner Prize and one about getting to an after dinner at White Cube. There's also one about getting into the private view for Surprise Surprise at the ICA. I don't mean to be funny, but a private view at he ICA is not exactly hard to be invited to. You certainly don't need to be Alex James. But, here we are, 'Alex James' has emailed the press department to see if he can get in....
There's some other stuff, about Gary Hume and some weird tarot like cards he has made showing his progress from nowhere to success. Or something.
I look around. Lena is trying not to laugh at the matchstick thing. Me too. It is dire. I'm also trying not to cry. It's such a sad show. What was he thinking? The chasm between where he is and where he wants to be is immense. And the only way he can think to bridge that abyss is by pretending to be someone else. Psychologically, it's all there, isn't it? I almost didn't write about this show at all, thinking that it didn't really deserve the one thing it so desperately craved which was attention, but, well, I don't really think anything will help this show. I've never seen anyone so desperate to be a part of something that they so clearly despise. I wonder what this story will be?
I don't think it will have a happy ending.
Lena and I decide to leave this strange show and head towards Seventeen where there will be some really good, proper, interesting art.
On the way, we pass Standpoint and pop in for a quick look. I bump into Steve Smith who writes the Nooza blog and after about 20 minutes I realise that I have talked incessantly about the Foundry show. I tell him he has to check it out. Which he does, here.
I'm obviously still in a whirl about the show and when we get to Seveteen, it is such a relief to see the restrained, precise, elegant and intelligent work of Susan Collis. I remember a work she did a few years back, exhibiting an old paint splattered boiler suit, which on closer inspection turned out not to be paint splatters but embroidery. Terrific. Tonight's show takes that premise and makes something even more beautiful and interesting. That line of paint drips across the gallery floor? The paint spattered broom leaning near the door? The screws in the wall? Yep, none of it what it seems. All those spots of paint are made from precious metals or precious stones. It's beautifully done. It's a show, if you like, that calls up a few questions about what we value and what we don't - and therefore what is art and what is not, and who makes those decisions. It's also about the overlooked and unvalued; the unnoticed. Strangely, for a show that looks at first glance to have no work in it I'm soon feeling that there may be too much.
There's certainly too much going on in Simon Ould's head. Look. He shows me that piece of paper at the top of this. A scribble of openings and views and odd notes about things. I think his mind looks a little like this. But then again, so does mine. My life for the past year has been defined by the hours 6 til 9pm.
I see Paul Pieroni. He has curated a show in the toilet of a club not far down the road. I ask how it's going. He talks about Christmas trees. I have no idea what he is on about but he is clearly on about it in some detail. I also see Kate Ellis, who almost worked at the shop with us. I see Dave Hoyland and tell him that Jaguar Shoes got a name check in a Just Jack song I heard the other day.
And that's where we go, along the road to Jaguar Shoes. I have a chat with Lena and Kate and then decide to head off.
I'm tired.
I go down Kingsland Road, onto Old Street and then down the tube to home.

bad then good pics