Jean-Etienne Liotard at the Royal Academy of Arts

The Pastelist

The 18th Century artist Jean-Etienne Liotard from Switzerland is little known today in the UK although he spent two years here and was in contact with Royal Stuart family and Hanoverians whom gave him many commissions. Much of his work is in private collections and in some way part of the reason for his obscurity. He made portraits of rich society people who had either established themselves as business merchants, were in law or were Kings, Queens, and Sultans. read more

Gianni Colombo – Kinetic

The Italian Kinetic artist Gianni Colombo died back in 1993 left various experimental materials, ideas and works. The exhibition at the Robilant + Voena gallery is the first show of his art in the UK by curate Francesca Pola. The work in the exhibition represents the first twenty years of his career. He was very much interested in active connections and the experience in art. He created environments and objects that engaged in different manners with an alternative notion of perception and conform to a more contemplative interactive use of the object. read more

Collage – Arturo Herrera

The wall paper of photos taken by the artist to me seemed unnecessary it really did not add anything to the works of mixed media made. If anything I don’t believe people seemed to pay much attention to it.

Despite this the works themselves that are hung were interesting pieces; paint covered books, to canvas with felt, paint and small wood panels with different layers; referencing modernism and abstraction, creating these relief type objects in a 3-Dimensional form. read more

Out of Chaos

A centenary of art and Jewish activity in London the Ben Uri Gallery and Museum has established something unique as an interpretation of language or should I say ontology of the jewish community that has existed in Britain for the past hundred years. The show from Ben Uri’s collection is relevant to all but more importantly to those who made the art it gave them an identity, to remind themselves who they are and where they are from. read more

Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts

Image

We came, we saw, we Glastonburyed.

The iconic festival drew us to its bosom and spat us out five days later after an orgy of music, world food, mud, tenting, smelly, dirty toilets, and the visitation of the biggest ego in rapping – Kanye West, who, despite flashes of genius, failed to deliver the musical boner that he promised.

Oh well, what Kanye couldnt grasp, a red-headed goddess known as Florence eagerly grabbed. For it was this 29 year old mystical indie rocker who, on Friday night, seized the chance to replace the planned headliners Foo Fighters and make a million hearts flutter with her incantations of the likes of ‘Dog Days are Over’ and ‘You’ve got the love’. She ran, she jumped, she embraced the crowd. She was undoubtedly the queen of Glasto 2015.

The Who, who headlined the final day, were the polar opposites. Despite being ageing grandads, they are still channeling the rage of youth by virtue of some of the best songs in the rock and roll canon. Opening with ‘Who Are You?’ And then running through all the greats including ‘I can see for Miles’, ‘My Generation’ and ‘Won’t Get Fooled Again’. And yes, despite being 70, Daltrey nailed the scream at the end of the latter. In case you don’t know it is probably the most famous scream in Rock’n'Roll, and enough to send most of the 100,000 crowd at the Pyramid Stage into a frenzy of sorts.

Glastonbury has its critics – particularly as the lineup this year was a bit lacking – but it is the Oasis of festivals. It doesn’t give a toss what you think because it is the most amazing and best loved festival in the UK by a country mile, some would say in e world.

On my first day I spent a glorious couple of hours in the ‘Green Fields’ which is the location for craft and healing stuff, but my eyes and ears were averted by a crowd of 30 or so souls surrounding a piano, placed in a clearing for anyone to use. Various festivalgoers were taking turns on the piano while the crowd sung along. It was a special moment delivering smiles and laughs aplenty. It felt that this was what Glastonbury was all about whatever the big acts delivered – just people making and enjoying music together in the sunshine.

I knew in a moment why people come year after year.

Hauser and Wirth: Richard Jackson New Paintings

I took a barbarian friend (who says he knows nothing about art) to Richard Jackson’s Art show at the Hauser and Wirth Gallery in Saville Row North, London.

I suspect he was only enticed by the free beer. But the show must have had an impact on him, because he keeps sending me random thoughts. He was dumbfounded on the night, but the images keep popping in and out of his brain at random times, through some sort of cerebral cat flap.

I will report his thought as they come filtering into my email inbox.

Thought One:
Dear Ken,
Thanks for taking me to that show.
I can’t get the thought of those men squirting paint out of their bottoms out of my mind. I’m worried about what that says about my sexuality.
I keep thinking about those men. It’s got to sting shooting pain out your bottom, for one thing.
They weren’t a very ethnically diverse group (the bottom painters). All uniform height and colour. Not that that matters. I don’t know why I brought it up now. Forget I said that or before long someone will call me a racist.
(Boy, that artist bloke knows how to start a controversy)

By Nick Booth

As for that lady on the photocopier… that was even more disturbing.. I was both terrifIed and turned on.
But I’ll talk about that later.

The artist should lead

I don’t believe artists are being allowed to lead the direction of art due to corporatisation and the media that has established or encamped itself in the field of art. People with money, power are dictating what art is; propaganda in a global sense.  Using Duchamp as an excuse for everything really does a disservice to Duchamp the artist. Although I have to say some people seem quite happy to play along. read more

Review: Henri Matisse

A cut out

It has been a while since I have taken any notice of the French artist Matisse. I very much prefer his cut outs but a lot of people admire his paintings. I am not one to say what makes a good artist or a Master in this respect although I would say I am a very good artist myself and may be better but then I am bias. The show was curated by Nicholas Cullinan the curator for the department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum. read more