This week I’m all about foreign policy. For one thing, the Scots are revolting! Word reaches me that our sullen cousins north of the border have the temerity to be talking about independence. But calm down, all is not lost for my favourite Scottish designer Christopher Kane has just stated his support for the 'Better Together' campaign (that’s also known as the 'please don’t leave us English doomed to a Tory government in perpetuity' campaign). So top of my wish-list is one of Kane’s botanically-inspired buttercup appliqué skirts to wear to the opening of the Glasgow International that opens on 4 April.
Directed by Sarah McCrory, the former supremo of Frieze Projects, Glasgow International’s programme includes Wales’s (these Celts always band together) finest performance and installation artist Bedwyr Williams who is turning the Tramway into a full-size diorama of a dark forest clearing filled with dystopian hoarders who now rule the country and have set up court in former dance halls. Sounds like a post-independent Scotland? Too right, so second on my wish list is a pair of wooden sunglasses by groovy Scottish company, Finlay & Co. so I can disguise my privileged English background whilst submerged in Williams’s world.
And if the Scots do ignore my advice and go for broke (in more sense than one), I’ll direct them to the best first-line of a press release I’ve seen in some time. 'Take a seat, any seat. Now just sit there and think about what you’ve done', opens the release to Edge of the Seat: The Artist’s Chair, a splendid-looking group show that will open at the Duchampian-inspired experimental space Large Glass on London’s aptly named Caledonian Road. I’m tempted by Dorothy Cross’s Udder Chair but ultimately would really like to sit on Richard Wentworth, so that’s the chair on my wishlist. By the way, the press release was written by another bloody Scot, Ali Smith.
Over in South London, we leave the Mid-Lothian question entirely and instead look forward to plunging into Iraq. Not literally of course, but the exhibition Welcome to Iraq, which has just opened at the South London Gallery. The show re-stages the Iraq Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennial that was curated by adopted-Brummie Jonathan Watkins who travelled round Iraq in an armoured car to visit artists. In Watkins’ honour I shall proceed from the Caledonian Road to Peckham in the fourth item on my wish-list, the Russian-made Dartz Kombat T98 armoured sports utility vehicle, that is if Mr Putin can spare one from his Ukranian escapades.
And if he does, I will gladly send the President a copy of the final item on my wishlist, the recently published Soviets: Drawings by Danzig Baldaev, Photographs by Sergei Vasiliev (published by FUEL publishing). The book features Baldaev’s drawings made in secret between the 1950s to the fall of the Soviet Union that satirize the absurdities of Soviet life. I feel sure it will strike a warm familiar chord with Mr Putin as he invades Ukraine.
19 March 2014