Gallery Girl Wishlist 36 – An unnerving sense of persecution

Thinking that they might actually be coming for her, our 'Off the Record' back page columnist, Gallery Girl, ponders a new identity

By Gallery Girl

Cindy Sherman, Untitled Film Still #56, 1980. Ringier Annual Report, Das Institut, 2011 This Brutal World, by Peter Chadwick, Phaidon Press Trevor Paglen, The Counting Station/Cynthia (Numbers Station near Egelsback Germany, 2016. Whitechapel Editions

I’m back from my sojourn in Singapore, holed up above the Ng Ag Sio Pork Ribs Eating House. In the end there’s only so much authentic Teochew style Bak Kut that a girl can have and after I spilt half of one serving down my Christopher Kane fringed stretch-satin skirt, I'd had enough. Who cares if half the world’s curators are after me, seemingly annoyed with the ‘hating’ that’s gone on in these online columns and magazine pages. I reckon if I can turn a new leaf and be unremittingly positive about the art I see and write about I can turn things around.

So back in London I check out the Whitechapel Gallery’s Electronic Superhighway in order to learn about developing a new identity on-line that I can then extend out to real life in the hope of escaping my pursuers. I don’t learn much that I haven’t already picked up on Chatroulette over the years but I do manage to pick up the first item on this week’s wishlist, Trevor Paglen’s ominous looking C print, The Counting Station/Cynthia (Numbers Station near Egelsback Germany), priced at £250 and in an edition of 50.

how anyone could accuse me of carping or sniping is beyond me. I love art

I’m more excited by the forthcoming exhibition by Das Institut at the Serpentine. Now those girls really know how to play with the notion of authorship in a way not seen since artists of yesteryear such as Cindy Sherman or Matthew Barney. Okay, okay, just kidding. They’re doing nothing new, and it’s funny in the way only Germans know how, but at least they’ve lined up a series of traditional Hawaiian Hula dances for their show. And for this alone I’m adding their ironic artist publication of the Ringier Annual Report (edited by Beatrix Ruf) published back in 2011. It’s available for just £14 and for that you also get a special give-away of fake nails.

Frankly how anyone could accuse me of carping or sniping is beyond me. I love art. And I particularly love the way that the Pictures generation, so beloved of cultural theorists associated with the unreadable journal October have turned into auction day-house sale fodder. Dear old Cindy Sherman, the mistress of cunning disguises had three works in Sotheby’s Day Sale in London on 11 February, which is great because it means that there must be loads of collectors who are really interested in the male gaze, the construction of gendered identities and the writings of Douglas Crimp. Or alternatively it means that Sherman’s work has been reduced to pretty photos that have a nice back-story. Whatever, my money would have gone on her Untitled Film Still #56of her with a wig on gazing into a mirror that was estimated at £40,000 to £60,000 but incredibly sold for £197,000.

The final item on this week’s wishlist is the marvelous forthcoming Phaidon book This Brutal World, (priced at £29.95), which not only has a title that fits in with the unnerving sense of persecution I currently feel but is timely given the Department of Culture Media and Sport’s refusal to list one of Britain’s finest examples of brutalist architecture, Alison and Peter Smithson’s Robin Hood Gardens Estate. For this wonderful set of buildings is where I’m heading in my latest bid to avoid a proper conclusion, and instead offer something closer to a Max Weber-like Zwischenbetrachtung, or for those of you who didn’t quite finish your diploma at Christie’s Education, an intermediate reflection on things. They’re coming for me, you know…

Missed an episode? Read the previous column here

12 February 2016