There are some things, like one’s Peter Pilotto rook stretch-crepe dress, that only come out in the summer. I’m thinking in particular of those artists who emerge in cleverly curated summer shows when commercial galleries get down with things like critical theory and let young curators loose on their space. The Lisson Gallery has a wonderful history of summer shows and this year’s edition, The Boys the Girls and the Political caught my eye not for just being ‘a platform to highlight the agency of cultural production’ (quite), but also because it has the work of the lovely Cally Spooner in it. So first on this week’s wishlist is her rather lovely publication Collapsing In Parts that is available for a mere 10 Euros from Mousse Publishing and should be on all your summer reading lists.
Of course summer shows are not just about clever young curators. Clever old curators get a look in as well, and I’m delighted to see the plain-speaking Francesco Bonami unleashed in Luxembourg & Dayan with his show Word by Word, featuring artists whose work features, erm, words (who needs a ‘platform’ huh?). If one were being particularly harsh another 'word by word' that might come to mind would be 'unimaginatively' next to 'banal' but still, there’s some lovely senior artists in the show, including Lawrence Weiner. And I’m particularly delighted that the bidding starts at USD$4,000 for Under A Bridge (1986), by the old maverick, in Christie’s first on-line auction, that closes on 28 July. I’m confident that will be second in my shopping trolley and I shall be making sure that our deputy editor doesn’t do that bored on-line counter-bidding that has ruined us both in the past.
Meanwhile, to certain of our Scottish brethren summer is only about one thing. Fighting! And Irn-Bru of course. Gallery Girl was delighted to hear that Douglas Gordon used an axe to attack the wall of the Home Theatre in Manchester where his new play Neck of the Woods opened to some reviews that described it as exuding 'the sedateness of a Radio 4 Sunday afternoon slot' and having 'the unmistakable whiff of a vanity project'. Poor Douglas is probably feeling a bit bruised (mentally at least from the reviews) so third on this week’s wishlist is the 2001 publication Exquisite Mayhem: The Spectacular and Erotic World of Wrestling edited by Cameron Jamie and Mike Kelley. If Douglas sees any of those nasty reviewers he needs to drop his axe, and probably his trousers and straddle them in a Double Leg Takedown. And, just for Douglas, I’ll also chuck in a ticket to Southpaw when it opens this week at Peckham Plex, for free.
Summer isn’t about violence for everybody though. Over in Germany our artist colleagues, led by Georg Baselitz, are mobilising! The age-shall-not-wither them neo-expressionists and their chums are withdrawing their works from loan to German museums over some proposed export law. I would be as upset as you if I could never see another Georg Baselitz kookily upside down man exported out of Germany and I know that my cultural hinterland would certainly suffer a blow that I might never recover from. So my fourth item on this week’s wishlist is the almost unbearably moving Bauernzug (2010), available from White Cube’s editions shop at a snip for £3,120. Coincidentally the title of this edition translates to ‘Peasant March’ which is what the Greeks may be doing shortly as a result of certain German Government members's own special treatment of them. Still, good to see Baselitz and his fellow artists are focusing on the important policies!
Online exclusive published 24 July 2015