April. The sap is rising. And with desire, comes the anger of frustration. Take the war of insults that has broken out in recent days between the venerable critic and reality television star Jerry Saltz, and the self-styled cultural entrepreneur, advisor and proud art market player, Stefan Simchowitz. Saltz called Simchowitz a 'middling collector', 'gross' and 'a Sith Lord'. Simchowitz reacted by calling Saltz 'a disfigured meat grinder of over inflated, self-deluded, petty and insular insights.'
Gallery Girl digs the sexy undercurrent of this debate. So first on this month’s wishlist is a Jordan Wolfson-style animatronic dancer, currently on view at Wolfson’s show at Zwirner. The robot dancer wears a stripper-style white dress, elbow-length gloves and a crazy mask, stares at viewers (thanks to face recognition software) and lip-syncs to Robin Thicke. Mmm. I’d lock the robot, Saltz and Simchowitz in a darkened room and let nature happen. Incidentally Wolfson also has a show opening as part of the Glasgow International at the McLellan Galleries.
Anger can be sexy and blokey, like Jerry and Stefan’s, but it can also be righteous and feminist, in which case it is a good thing. The belated first solo show of 70s feminist artist Carolee Schneeman finishes shortly at Hales Gallery. Schneeman famously pulled a feminist text from her vagina in the 1975 work ‘Interior Scroll’. To celebrate, second on my wish-list is a month’s supply of ‘Big Bob’ burgers from Brazilian burger chain Bob’s which are wrapped in edible paper.’ Não dá para controlar!’ as they say in that part of the world. Not quite the same as a vaginal scroll, but you get the idea.
I shall munch on a couple whilst strolling down to fellow London gallerist Richard Saltoun, whose show of Valie Export will also hopefully contain more feminist righteous anger. Then there’s also high-minded academic anger at the flippancy (geddit?) of the art world. And so next on my wish-list is a worthy tome just released by Goldsmiths academics Irit Rogoff and Gavin Butt called Visual Cultures as Seriousness. Being academics Rogoff and Butt talk about obscure artists who the rest of us have no interest in, and they probably haven’t even heard of Oscar Murillo but at least they write angry-but-sexy bits. So according to Rogoff, museum shows have dumbed down to the point presenting an artist’s oeuvre as 'a fully completed entity which can be entered frontally'. Woof!
And finally there’s the anger that comes from love going wrong. After her tempestuous marriage to our own Russell Brand, it seems that poor Kate Perry has broken up with naughty singer John Mayer and to channel her post-break-up anger is reportedly going to dye her hair green and become an art collector. She made this announcement at the MoCA Anniversary gala. So I’ll be sending Katy the final item on this month’s wishlist, Chris Hedges’ book ‘The Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle’ that I first noticed pictured on Stefan Simchowitz’s Instagram feed. As Hedges says, 'Sadism dominates the culture.' The sap is indeed rising.
3 April 2014