Posts Tagged ‘Hannah Wilke’

Blackpaint 579 – Hanging Buckets, Wedding Cakes and Birds’ Nests

December 22, 2016

Rauschenberg, Combines and Appel

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Appel, 1950

A brief blog before Christmas.  Warning: some “challenging” material below!

While visiting the brilliant Rauschenberg exhibition at Tate Modern and noting the variety and incongruity of the objects attached to his various “Combines” (a sock, a boot, electric fans, a ceramic dog, numerous parasols and parachutes, lightbulbs and lumps of metal), I remembered this piece made by Karel Appel in 1950, some ten years(?) before Robert began his.  Not only does it have a bucket hanging from it, but it’s painted on a barn door.

Apparently, Appel and his associates made a number of these combines in the late 40s/early 50s; maybe Rauschenberg knew of them (via his tutor at Black Mountain, Joseph Albers) – or maybe it’s coincidence, a sort of parallel evolution.

That would be a great exhibition for 2017 at TM – Appel, Jorn and CoBrA –  and/or Appel and other Dutch modernists, Nanninga, Wagemaker, Oepts, Bram van Velde et al…  No chance, I suppose.

Feminist Avant-Garde Art of the 70s, The Photographers’ Gallery

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Ulrike Rosenbach, Art is a Criminal Act

(Rosenbach is the one on the left – and right).

 

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Hannah Wilke, SOS

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Penny Slinger, Wedding Invitation (1973)

 

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Birgit Jurgenssen, Nest (1979)

I didn’t notice, I promise, how these four images make pairs that echo each other until I’d put them in.

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Lynda Benglis (in action, 1969)

It was a surprise to me to realise how familiar many of these images are to me, an old white man – the candour and wit on display here must have driven quite deep into my psyche.  Then again, it could be because the artists were young and beautiful  and not averse, to say the least, to posing naked; and since many works parodied the exploitative cliches of advertising, art etc., this would have been unavoidable.

The only really shocking image is the cover photo of a French magazine, showing the body of a young woman victim of the Hillside Strangler (two perpetrators acting together, as it turned out), surrounded by police and photographers on a hill above LA.  This occasioned a protest event featured in the exhibition.

Missed marketing opportunity by the PG; in a corner vitrine, you can see a copy – maybe the only one – of “The Cunt Colouring Book”.  With the recent vogue for adult colouring books and Christmas coming up, a repro could do well…

Lord Halifax’s Ghost Book – The Bordeaux Diligence

My second surprise of the week was to come across this story in this lovely book, published in 1936 (my Fontana paperback edition is from 1961 – we are promised on the back that “your flesh will creep; you’ll bolt your doors to no avail”), which is worthy of a Bunuel film, or a segment in one at least.

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A Frenchman is asked by an old woman to do her a favour; will he ask that gendarme at what time the Bordeaux Diligence (a horse-drawn carriage) starts?  In all innocence, he does so – and he is arrested and taken to court.  When he repeats his question in court, the shocked judge sends him to a penal colony.  he hasn’t learned his lesson yet; he tells the governor why he is there – and ends up in solitary confinement.  And so on.  Eventually, he gets home and spots the old woman.  She agrees to tell him the reason for his misfortune – but when he stoops to hear her explanation, she bites his ear and drops dead.

 

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The Black Sea, December

Happy Christmas to all my readers.

Blackpaint 

22/12/16

 

 

Blackpaint 209

October 19, 2010

Lucian Freud

I saw that Jerry Hall has sold some of her pictures for £ (or maybe $) 2.3 million and when I saw one, a portrait of her naked on a bed, I assumed it was hers, in the sense that she’d painted it.  It looked like a poor attempt at a Lucian Freud; fuzzy pink flesh, lop-sided approximation of a face…

Of course, it was a Lucian Freud, hers in the sense that she owned it.  Very bad painting, judging by the newspaper photograph, almost unbelievable from one of the most brilliant “realist” painters of human flesh alive; maybe when you’re rich and famous, you feel you have to paint pictures of your celebrity mates, even if they don’t inspire you.  Shame when you think of Harry Diamond, Francis Bacon, the suited Irish blokes, Lee Bowery and all the other fantastic pictures he’s done.  Still, any painter can have an off day – I expect I will, eventually.

Three new Tate Books

1.  Eva Hesse

Some great paintings, up to 1960; mostly “spectres” and some masks.  Great, greys, greeny yellow ochre backgrounds, long-necked, sketchy ghosts in a greasy, slippery style.  Grey horror masks, antecedents of Marlene Dumas.  What an artist she was – of course, I love these works better than her minimalist stuff, though that’s usually good too.

2.  Hannah Wilke

Beautiful (as was Hesse), she disfigured herself in photos with stick-on boils, did videos in which she danced in a cowboy outfit and stripped – saw that in the Paris Feminist exhibition at the Pompidou  and generally did stuff relating to exploitation of female beauty.  Later, she got cancer and documented the physical results of the disease and treatment, such as hair loss, “unflinchingly” is the cliche, I suppose.  Was she the first to do that?  Anyway, the book is hard to look at but worth it.

3.  Jenny Saville

Freud-ish portraits of both sexes and various ages, using livid, lurid colours often suggesting smeared blood and/or decay and profusely fleshy models.  The extreme close-ups of her brushwork are very beautiful abstract pictures in themselves.

Turner Prize contenders

I saw four out of the five.  Dexter Dalwood has six large paintings; “Lennie” (of Mice and Men), “Greenham”, “Melville”, “White Flag”, “Burroughs in Tangier” and (famously) “Death of Doctor Kelly”.  They follow his formula of room/location of famous person/event, with the principle absent, although I couldn’t work out what or where “White Flag” was; the rest are self-explanatory.  There were “cameos” of other artists in the following; Terry Frost discs in “Greenham”, Braque (I think) in “Melville’s room”, Twombly lines in “Borroughs” – as well as a red line and some blue scribble at the top, which looked a bit Lanyon to me – and Jasper Johns of course in “White Flag”.

Angela de la Cruz had several leatherette and fabric things, like collapsed canvases on easels, or tents maybe.  Also, a broken chair on a stool and a filing cabinet welded to some other piece of junk.  they were a bit like soft Rauschenberg “Gluts”.

Susan Phillipz was a disembodied voice, singing “Lowlands Away”, originally installed under a Scottish bridge.  Anne Briggs’ version far superior – or Sandy Denny’s or Martin Carthy’s.

The Otolith group had a battery of a dozen or so TV’s showing different episodes of a subtitled arts series, coupled with a fim by Satyajit Ray called “the Alien”.

Missed the last contender, also TV stuff, due to lack of time.  I don’t like looking at TVs in art galleries usually, anyway.

I think Dalwood should win, although his stuff is not brilliant; at least it’s substantial.

Raphael V. Michelangelo

I was surprised to hear Matthew Collings put it like this on TV the other day, and declare Raphael the “winner”.  Will pursue this in future blogs.  I have to say that Raphael made a lovely job of M’s knobbly right knee in “The School of Athens”, however.

Towton by Blackpaint

19.10.10

Blackpaint 108

April 12, 2010

Blackpaint back

from Paris, with controversy and ignorant comment, bad art and dated musical references.  I see my readership has plummeted in the last few days; no doubt, this post will continue the process of decline.

Pompidou Centre

The lower floors have an exhibition of women’s art, entitled “Elles a centrepompidou”, mostly from the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.  There is some brilliant, though familiar stuff (Dumas faces); some equally brilliant, though less familiar (Louise Nevelson, a huge black gate affair with Leger/Ernst- type shapes and Sylvie Fanchon, a huge sky blue canvas with bright red linked chain painted across it, just like a big Prunella Clough); and a few exhibits that a less principled viewer of either sex might have found provocative – even titillating.

First, a big B&W video by (and of) Hannah Wilke, in which she makes a series of ironic, pouting faces to camera and touches herself, performing a striptease.  Next to this, another video;  artist (Kiki Smith?) strips, or already is, naked and slathers wallpaper paste all over herself and rolls on the floor in wallpaper.  A small black sculpture by Smith portrays a woman prone beneath a goat which is apparently having sex with her.  My delicacy here is perhaps misplaced, because nearby is Betty Tompkins’ “Fuck Painting”, which portrays a large penis entering a vagina, I think from below, but not sure.  Nearby again, a series of small drawings by Tracey Emin, some of which at least, show an enormous penis moving towards an eagerly smiling cartoon girl, who is the same size as itself.

Like everyone else, I looked at all this solemnly and was reminded of Tompkins the following day in the Musee d’Orsay when I saw the famous Courbet picture of a woman’s thighs and lower torso, legs spread to display the furry vagina – and a group of six or so, including a couple of women, peering at it, absorbed.  The Courbet was the more accomplished painting, I think, though with less going on than the Tompkins.  More on the d’Orsay tomorrow.

Some more from the Pompidou women’s exhibition – Annette Messager’s rag dolls on long sticks propped around the walls; Eva Hesse’s giant white worms rearing up (perhaps some phallic significance here) and Lee Bontecou’s “Untitled” from 1966, a combination of painting and sculpture, curved surfaces bulging out from the picture painted cream, brown and red.  Reminded me of some Frank Stellas, in this “coming out of the wall” sense.

Finally, there was Eva Aeppli’s installation of 13 gaunt, gowned figures all apparently male, seated on folding chairs, in an unfortunate juxtaposition with Sigalit Landau’s “Barbed Hula” – a video of a female, bikini’ed torso hula hooping, but wait – the hula hoop turns into barbed wire! Marks left, but no blood drawn.  The juxtaposition is unfortunate, in that it looks as if they are ogling the bare belly of the hula girl.

Since many of these exhibits are 25, 30, 40 years old, the historical context has changed, perhaps largely as a result of the art itself: consequently, art that was once radical, startling, outrageous seems now very similar to quite mild pornography.  Something similar happens to all of us, I suppose; the difference is there’s always the chance that  it will all come round again for the art.  I hope I die before I get old.

Tomorrow, the rest of the Pompidou and the Orsay.

Listened to “Watch Your Step” by Bobby Parker; raw metal guitar riff nicked and slightly adapted by Beatles for “I Feel Fine”, blistering sax solo, soulful screaming and very disturbing “stalker” lyrics “..You ditched me baby, but you’ll get yours one day, you better watch your step…”

Also “Meet on the Ledge”, Fairport Convention, where Sandy comes in..

“The way is up; along the road,

The air is growing thin;

Too many friends have tried, blown off this mountain with the wind…”

Blackpaint 12.04.10