I used to share an office with the delightful Laura McLean-Ferris at ArtReview Towers so imagine my pleasure when I sliced open an envelope with my vintage Hermès Dachshund Letter Opener and out popped a press release informing me that she was curating an exhibition featuring artwork that is about the horrors working in an office. The exhibition entitled Columbidae at evergreen not-for-profit Cell Project Space runs from 26 March to 17 May. In celebration I’m putting a work by one of the artists in the show number one on this wishlist: Dena Yago’s We Killed the Bear (31 Market #7) is available at the negotiable price of €3,300 (£2,420) at looklateral.com
Dena Yago, We Killed the Bear (31 Market #7), 2014, www.looklateral.com
As Lou Reed sang, ‘Please don’t talk to me about work/I’m up to my eyeballs in dirt/with work, with work.’ Of course the artworld these days doesn’t know the meaning of hard work, with dealers sent into a full nervous breakdown when faced with the prospect of doing a solid eight hours sitting in an art fair booth. Proper work was stuff done back in the day, as pictured in Lewis Wickes Hine's photograph Team Work, Empire State Building, New York City’ (1930) featuring a bunch of builders who don’t seem to be paying too much attention to health and safety regulations. I’ll be raiding the editor’s piggy-bank in order to bid on it at Phillips’s Photographs Evening Sale in New York on 1 April, hoping to snaffle it at the lower end of its $15,000 - $20,000 (£10,080 – £13,440) estimate.
Lewis Wickes Hine, Team Work, Empire State Building, New York City, 1930. Philips Photographs Evening Sale, New York, 1 April 2015
If you’re in work but it’s the wrong work for you, despair not, so is Kanye West, well at least according to the mysterious ‘BiennialYe’ who have revived their change.org petition to make Kanye West swap careers and become Director of the Venice Biennale, a mission which has re-started after something of a lull in its campaigning. Okwui might have his hand on the tiller for the moment, but surely a few hundred thousand votes will persuade the powers-that-be that West might be his successor? West could be a visionary curator, as evidenced by his ‘curated’ Birkin bag, complete with disturbing image by George Condo that the rapper gave to his beloved Kim Kardashian for Christmas. It would be the third item on this wishlist but West and Condo are insisting it’s one of a kind (in a very real sense, George).
Kim Kardashian carrying George Condo Birkin bag, 2013. SPLASH NEWS
Hairdressing is proper work (as all hardworking stylists, George Osborne's among them, must know), so I’ll be taking a minicab from Clerkenwell Mini Cabs to the De La Warr Pavilion to take in J.D. Okhai Ojeikere’s exhibition of images documenting ornate and wonderful Nigerian hairstyles from the last 40 years. Andre Magnin’s book on the artist, published in 2000, has been hovering near my wishlist for quite some time but unfortunately yet again loses out, this week to a visit to Kosit Hair Designs, whose award-winning team can create styles as close as one can get to the Ojeikere look.
JD 'Okhai Ojeikere, Onile Gogoro Or Akaba, 1975, © Estate of J.D. 'Okhai Ojeikere. Courtesy Galerie MAGNIN-A, Paris
And finally, a book about the ultimate form of work is the last item on this week’s wishlist. Adrian George’s The Curator’s Handbook: Museums, Commercial Galleries, Independent Spaces was published a few weeks back and manages to wring a whole 12 chapters out of a job which as far as I can tell consists of rolling out of the pub mid-afternoon before barking at technicians to move the sculpture a couple of inches to the left. Still, perhaps each of the chapters represents precisely one thousand of the twelve thousand pounds a year one might earn as a high-flying jobbing freelance curator at a public museum or institution, who knows? What I know is this: it pays to work (erm, unless you’re a curator)!
Online exclusive published 24 March 2015