Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Adam McEwen - Obituaries

Untitled (Macaulay), 2004

British-born artist Adam McEwen (b.1965) lives and works in New York. McEwen’s work is concerned with pop and consumer culture. McEwen approaches this landscape with a directness that is disarming and yet full of dark, dead-pan humour. In the past, McEwen’s work has appropriated the familiar formats of newspaper articles and mobile phones display screens, shop signage and credit cards. He has even applied chewing gum found on the street to on his paintings on canvas.

McEwen’s most recognizable work to date is a series of blown-up obituaries written for living and breathing celebrities including Bill Clinton, Rod Stewart, Jeff Koons and Kate Moss.
McEwen has exhibited internationally and curated projects in the UK and US.

Untitled (Kate), 2007

McEwen, who currently lives in New York, is best known for black-and-white photographs of fake obituaries-which look like enlarged photocopies of newspaper pages-of movie and rock stars, artists and politicians. The subjects were still living when McEwen, a former obituary writer for the Daily Telegraph, produced the works (between 2001 and '04); in this installation, the subsequent deaths of Malcolm McLaren and Marilyn Chambers were acknowledged by hanging their obituaries slightly below the others on the gallery wall. The somber tone and exacting biographical reportage elicit a double-take in the first-time viewer but are ultimately less evocative than McEwen's mature work. Despite the project's glib irreverence, its persuasive deception sets the tone for much of the show.
Frances Colpitt

 Untitled (Jeff), 2004

Christopher Bollen: For your obituaries, you choose famous people.

Adam McEwen: I'm not really interested in celebrities so much-the works are more homages. But the person must be famous so the reader knows that the person is still alive. I'm interested in that brief second when you aren't sure whether Bill Clinton is alive or dead. I only need that moment in order to disorient them enough to sneak through to some other part of the brain—to achieve that split second of turning the world upside down. The obituaries aren't about celebrity. They are more mournful, more melancholy. In a way, they are accounts of certain people's actions taken in an attempt to make their lives better. My first more Mcewen one was Malcolm McLaren. I still had a job writing obituaries for The Daily Telegraph then.

Untitled (Jeff, Nicole, Macaulay, Bill, Rod, Marilyn, Malcolm), 2002-2004

The immediate effect is one of shock, even though the mind knows better. Lined on a wall at the Goss-Michael Foundation are seven obituaries, of actress Nicole Kidman, former President Bill Clinton, rock star Rod Stewart, artist Jeff Koons, actor Macaulay Culkin, porn star Marilyn Chambers and Malcolm McLaren, who managed the punk bands the Sex Pistols and the New York Dolls.

Some who see the obituaries have been known to gasp: What, Nicole Kidman died? Bill Clinton? When?

British artist Adam McEwen, whose show runs through July 28, conceived the obits as “homages to people I like.” In addition to being cleverly conceived artistic commentaries, they’re quite well-written, as they should be: From 1993 to 1999, McEwen worked as an obituary writer for the London Daily Telegraph.

He has to like the people he picks, who share in common human foibles.

“Bill Clinton is a smart guy,” McEwen says. “He did a lot of good things. But clearly at the end of his presidency, he’s flawed. He was in all kinds of trouble and giving pardons to crazy people.”

Jeff Koons is “a great artist, but if you read about his life and the way his relationship with his son happened and the son’s mother, Cicciolina, the porn star, he’s not able to talk to the son. That story is very strange. He’s not in control of that.”

Koons married Cicciolina in 1991. A year later, they had a son; soon after, the marriage dissolved.

They agreed to share custody, but, according to Koons, the mother “absconded” with the boy and took him to Rome, where they remain. Koons may be a rich, powerful man, but he fits the pattern he’s seeking, McEwen says, of people who “have aspects of their personality where they’re not able to control who they are.”

Koons and McEwen share in common an obsession with banal objects, through which they channel their art. For Koons, it’s oversize balloon animals; for McEwen, everyday objects made of graphite.

In the Goss-Michael show, they include an ATM, an air conditioner, an energy-saving light bulb.

But it’s the obits that leave a lasting, even haunting impression. You’re forced to think about death and the summary of a life, confined to a single page of newsprint.

“You need them to be famous, in a sense,” McEwen says, “simply to put the viewer in a very brief moment where they don’t know if this is true or not. That’s the only reason.

“If you walked in and saw an obituary of someone you’d never heard of, you wouldn’t have that moment of going, ‘Wait, is Nicole Kidman dead?’

“I’m not really interested in the celebrity aspect. I want to try and make a brief moment where the viewer is unsure of where they stand. If you can just get a crack, then you can hopefully go through it.”

Death, he says, is “like a perfect rule: It’s going to happen, though emotionally, I don’t want it to happen.”
Michael Granberry

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Cosey Fanni Tutti - Time to Tell

Cosey Fanni Tutti (born Christine Newby, 4 November 1951) is a performance artist and musician best known for her time in the avant-garde groups Throbbing Gristle and Chris & Cosey.

On the 19th of May this year Cosey Fanni Tutti gave a lecture to the fine art students of Leeds Polythecnic [sic]. This lecture and the question/answer period that followed are reproduced here as the basis for this special issue of Flowmotion attempting to, within out space limitations, give as thorough and clear a picture as possible of Coseys [sic] work over the last ten years as a performance artist with Coum Transmissions (including her striptease and modelling [sic] work), and as a musician with Throbbing Gristle and C.T.I.

For Szabo"

A one-sided C60 with a newspaper magazine featuring articles, readings and interviews on Cosey Fanni Tutti, Throbbing Gristle and CTI.

Tracks are mixed together.

Time to Tell was a 1983 cassette-only release on the Flowmotion label (though it has since been rereleased on CD).

It came as a one-sided C60 tape with a newspaper magazine insert featuring articles, readings and interviews on Cosey, Throbbing Gristle and Coum Transmissions.

It was Cosey’s first solo release, a foray into early dark ambient territory,with sultry spoken word passages.

I 'd been wanting to get my work as a performance artist, musician, model etc. together in some form for a long time. For my own mind really. It's always after the event that you begin to see the relevance of certain actions and situations. It all begins to make more sense that events unfurled the way they did. And Time To Tell was a perfect way of expressing how I felt about all those moments and how they all related to one another in some way at varying times in my life. That all those different pieces of the puzzle were me and each a very valid part . When you're busy experiencing and creating for me, the last thing on my mind was what did it all mean? Maybe at particular stages along the way things just slotted into place and presented themselves as being just right, but it was, and still is, in the aftermath where I begin to piece it all together and gain in whatever way from my work and my life. The putting together of Time To Tell felt right and it didn't seem an awesome task, l was interested in looking back at myself. I was far enough removed both in time and emotionally as a person, to see my previous work in a very different light. It's weird reading your own thoughts from as far back as 18 years ago! Like reading the highlights of an old diary.
Time To Tell was in the pipeline for about 4 years. As a re-released version that is. First of all, it was with a Scottish label for a year and nothing materialised, so I got the parts back for safe keeping. Then it was with Waxtrax for a time. Then all sorts of things went wrong over there and I knew the release would never happen. I asked for the parts back, but never got a thing returned. All those photos, text, tape, everything just sitting somewhere. So I had to get it collated all over again . Dupe the photos etc. I think all along it was meant to be released on our own label. It was all too personal to be under the control of someone else. I'm glad because it meant I could take stuff out and add pieces that were more coherent or more relevant . I also realised that it had been impractical of me to expect someone else to sit and put this project together. I really had to be the one because there were so many decisions on small levels as well as larger ones.

Getting it together was a very strange experience . Stranger than re-mastering and going over the old TG territory again. For one thing I was in and out of hospital in a weird frame of mind at what was happening to me and there I was with my life's work before me, editing it and assembling it like some bloody epitaph. It was morbid at one point when things were uncertain, l was beginning to think it would be my last statement! I reckon we all think we're immortal until we get that ever so real jolt. It made me sort the crap out of my life immediately. I never was one to humour arseholes but now I dismiss them in a less aggressive way, a bit like changing channels on the TV. I'm less aggressive generally now and more efficient with my energy as to where, who and on what I choose to expend it.

The wonderful Cosey Fanni Tutti: stripper, nudie model, guitarist, Throbbing Gristle founding member, transgressive performance artist, and perpetual ray of sunshine. This 2000 CD comprises tracks intended to accompany performance art ‘actions’ by Ms. Tutti from 1983 and 1984, originally released on a limited cassette. Its dark, spacey scapes were accomplished with electronics and ambient guitar work, and showcase Cosey’s sonic vision immediately post-Gristle. The performances themselves must have been heartstopping affairs, but the music stands alone. It sounds a bit like her work with Gristle, especially, unsurprisingly, her solo track on ‘DOA,’ with a deeply mystical and feminine atmosphere. Lengthy t.2 features a reverbed-out lecture from Cosey on the interpersonal aspects of the striptease, a vocation the artist held sporadically (as an art experiment) during the late 70s and early 80s. Her sultry, intellectual monologue style pops up a bit on other tracks too, but it’s sometimes hard to tell what she’s saying because of the effects. For more information on the insane performances these tracks accompanied, which focused on demystification of the female body (hence the album’s title), don’t miss the fascinating liner notes. “…I have lost the element within me which suggests as a woman I must always appear sexually presentable.”
Lord Gravestench

Thursday, 26 December 2013


Bought a few items:

Shirley Jackson - The Haunting of Hill House (Penguin Modern Classics), £2.76

Raymond Pettibon - Here's Your Irony Back: Political Works 1975-2013 (Hatje Cantz), £25.00

Kerridge ‎– A Fallen Empire 2LP (Downwards), £14.99

Drexciya - Journey Of The Deep Sea Dweller IV 2LP (Clone Classic Cuts), £15.25

Monday, 23 December 2013

Adam Dant - Soerditch

Soerditch: Diary of a Neighbourhood, 2013

Adam Dant is a Jerwood Drawing Prize-winning British artist (2002).

Dant was born in Cambridge in 1967 but now lives and works in London.

He has won praise from The Guardian and Financial Times for his Hogarthian graphic style. He was educated at the Royal College of Art, University Faculty of Fine Arts, Abroad, India and the Liverpool School of Art.

Soerditch: Diary of a Neighbourhood, 2013

Adam Dant's hyper-detailed drawings are like objects magicked out of a fictional realm. With their ornate borders and trompe l'oeil crinkled edges, his fantastic maps, books and charts navigate worlds whose strange territory seems to depend on figures of speech or even hallucinations. His Bureau for the Investigation of the Subliminal Image included studies of self-portraits supposedly hidden in paintings in the Louvre. Dant meticulously documented these concealed images, apparently rendered subconsciously by artists, as if they were part of orthodox art history. Elsewhere, he has turned categorisation itself on its head with "underneathism", painstakingly depicting from below everything from supermarkets to beach life.

His peculiarly British wit extends to social satire: the Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie are among the tabloid favourites whose public personas Dant has imaginatively unpicked, earning him comparisons with Hogarth. Furthermore, his works – especially Donald Parsnips Daily Journal, one of his first projects – frequently resemble the output of an 18th-century press. They're more like pamphlets to be pored over in coffee shops, not galleries.

Dant is a member of the London Institute of 'Pataphysics, a continuation of Alfred Jarry's "science of imaginary solutions". Members of its European equivalents have included Umberto Eco and one of Dant's big influences, the literary group Oulipo.
Skye Sherwin

Map of Industrious Shoreditch, 2013

Dazed Digital: What was it about the question “Where is the East End today?” that interested you?

Adam Dant: I’d been producing a different, unusual map of my immediate locale, Shoreditch, every year since I relocated there. The question interested me as it affirmed a parity of opinion, whether an individual's connection with ‘east London' was days or decades old. I was interested in comparing the sensation of viewing a place for the first time with the experience of culturally specific histories and agendas.

DD: What was your creative process behind the concept for the map?

AD: The process of making the map was determined by the desire to meet as many random individuals in east London as possible. I asked several ‘scouts' to walk from the edge of London towards the 'heart' of east London, asking individuals for directions en route. I had in mind the spiral system of Paris' arrondissements as a model for imposing a type of central planning on east London.

DD: Your work almost entirely surrounds maps and the creation of inspired and creative cartography.

I'm interested in maps as they represent the imposition of an artificial order onto a seemingly random landscape in my drawings, as is often determined by ‘literalist’ or ‘ridiculous’ schemes. It is supposed to act as a parody of this and hopefully exposes the stupidity of the attempts by various groups in history, christians, muslims, cyclists et al, to organise and explain the universe according to their own agendas.

Map of Industrious Shoreditch, 2013

Satirising a contemporary urban world, Adam Dant‘s cartoon exhibition Soerditch, Diary of a Neighbourhood offers an irreverent guide to Shoreditch. Embracing an irreverent newspaper aesthetic, Dant’s sketches provide a mocking guide to the area’s post-1993 residents. And what is most striking about “Tech City” and its glitterati of Wifi-workers, street food vendors and Harry Potter capitalists is the abandonment of history.

There are no blood relationships with the dead and the Victorian furniture and rag factories have long been scrubbed clean of their industrial residuum. With East London’s past shucked out within a generation, the old warehouses and churches are like fumigated skulls. They are merely an interim host that will exchange hands every thirty years.

While the East London dead are ignored their buildings live on vicariously without them. Originally assembled by coarse working hands, there is a natural hierarchy with age and somehow an older building is considered more ‘real’ than something new. History provides an emotional backbone that modernity with all its superficialities and globalised rootlessness simply cannot.

By mapping this technological, consumerist and leisure society, Dant’s cartoons provides a wry sense of character and warmth to the area. Shoreditch’s transformation from industrial workshop to a consumer paradise is just another step along the road towards our final destination as archaeology. The Roman Empire lies crushed underneath East London’s converted warehouses and over time Shoreditch will follow suit – a pop up world awaiting to collapse.
Daniel Agnew

Adam Dant from Supposed Histories on Vimeo.

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Soft Cell - Mutant Moments

Soft Cell are an English synthpop duo who came to prominence in the early 1980s. They consist of vocalist Marc Almond and instrumentalist David Ball.

Soft Cell was initiated during 1978 after Almond and Ball met at Leeds Polytechnic. Their initial efforts at recording resulted that year in an EP titled Mutant Moments which was funded by a loan of £2000 from Dave Ball's mother and made with a simple 2-track recorder. 2,000 vinyl copies of the release were issued independently and the small number of copies have since become a highly valued collectors item. The group's live shows and EP caught the interest of certain record labels such as Mute Records and Some Bizzare Records.

Mutant Moments is a short EP, independently financed and produced by Soft Cell, a synthpop/new wave duo who would later achieve fame with their groundbreaking hit cover of the Gloria Jones song "Tainted Love". Only 2000 copies were pressed, originally by Soft Cell, on Big Frock Records, then later by a Japanese fan club, making the record extremely rare and prized by collectors and fans alike. The duo, who attended Leeds Metropolitan University, originally developed a cult following with their performances which routinely included bizarre sexual imagery and visuals representing sexual themes. Some examples include instances where singer Marc Almond would smear his body with cat food, simulate sexual intercourse with a full-length mirror, or appear onstage in drag.

The band was signed to Some Bizzare Records soon after its release, with "The Girl With The Patent Leather Face" being released on the Some Bizzare Album and later a 7" single "A Man Can Get Lost" and 12" single "Memorabilia", both being released the following year.

The EP includes the song "Frustration," which also appears on their full-length studio album Non-stop Erotic Cabaret, though the two versions sound very different. The other three songs from the EP also appear on the rarities/bootleg compilation The Bedsit Tapes.

  • Other [Visuals] – Steven Griffith
  • Synthesizer, Tape [Tapes], Electronics – David Ball
  • Vocals, Performer [Synthetic Scratch] – Marc Almond
  • Written-by [All Titles] – Soft Cell
Only 2000 copies were pressed and all were issued with a postcard.

The unofficial reissue has plain red and green labels without titles, comes in black and coloured vinyl and has a wraparound sleeve.

© 1980
Dist. by Red Rhino Records

Side A: D1 / 6 I / (Digit scratced out) ABF - 1A
Side B: D1 / ABF - 1B

Track times not on release.

Let's go back to 1980s Leeds. Marc Almond and David Ball were both art students and got together to write music for theatrical productions. It was actually a self-financed EP called Mutant Moments that kickstarted their chart career. Funded by a loan of £2,000 from David Ball's mother (a very wise investment) the boys, under the name Soft Cell had 2000 vinyl copies pressed. Copies of this EP are now highly prized collector items.

The EP brought Soft Cell to the attention of the head of Some Bizzare Records who had bands such as Depeche Mode and The The signed to them. He then enlisted Daniel Miller (founder of Mute Records) to produce their first singles - 'A Man Can Get Lost' and 'Memorabilia'.


Soft Cell could always guarantee a good turn-out from the fine art students. The audience was also bolstered by those lingering ex-students who couldn't quite break away from our state-sponsored lunatic asylum.

Before the show, Almond mingled with his audience dressed in a black dinner jacket. The Poison People were laughing loudly, already high on narcotics as Russ and I downed our glasses of foul orange liquid. Other fine art musso's propped up the bar and we sniggered to ourselves as Marc snubbed the socialites desperate attempts to engage him in conversation.

At that time, Soft Cell were very much an avant garde cabaret act. It was inconceivable that they would ever break into mainstream pop music and have the biggest selling single of 1981.

Frank Sinatra's 'Mac the knife' set the scene for an evening of camp posturing. The light show was really professional. They had a neon sign at the front of the stage that had been made by Nottingham stage-set designer, Huw Feather. This bore the legend 'Soft Cell' and was flanked by two large projection screens. The screens hosted Griffith's 8mm movies of Marc prancing outside the Merrion Shopping Centre in women's clothes and make-up. The colour was really garish and in stark contrast to the group's black attire.

Dave Ball's discordant basslines, car-horn chords and Blackpool pier melodies were the perfect backdrop for the dwarfish front-man. Charged with nervous energy, Marc was like one of those seaside laughing sailors, rolling around in a glass box, limbs flailing all over the place. His echo-machine gave up just as he was launching into 'Girl with a patent leather face'. Russ was red-faced with laughter as vitriolic lyrics cut through the mix, Dalek fashion, sharp as a knife.

Next, one of the cine projectors failed, leaving half the set in darkness whilst Griffiths tugged away at various live cables. It was pure theatre, but Marc and his four-track reel-to-reel just kept on turning until the set was over. 
At three o'clock in the morning, the club finally turned out its mawkish clientelle into the heart of Leeds' red light district. Russ and I then had the prospect of a five mile hike to the Halls of Residence in Beckett Park. By the time we got back, my feet were on fire and my head hit the pillow like a lump of lead. 
Tomorrow's Brancussi lecture was definitely off! 
Paul Fillingham

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Skinny - Yuck ’n Yum, Zine Idol and AGK

Lewis Den Hertog - The Future, 2013

Popular lifestyle journal The Skinny this week carried a feature all about Yuck 'n Yum:


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Best of 2013

FWIW here's my selection of the best this year had to offer:


Mike Kelley -  Themes and Variations from 35 Years (Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam)


Spring Breakers


Laura Ellen Joyce - The Museum of Atheism (Salt Publishing)


Patrick Cowley - School Daze (Dark Entries)


Helena Hauff - RA.373



Gisèle Vienne and Dennis Cooper - The Pyre (Pompidou, Paris)

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Yuck 'n Yum - Thank You and Happy Holidays‏

Dear Yuck 'n Yummers,

As 2013 draws to a close we bid farewell to our quarterly art zine.  The final launch took place at the Hannah Maclure Centre on Saturday 14th of December.  Thanks to everyone who came along and to the excellent entertainment provided by The Members, The Hugs, Raz Ullah and our very own Alex Tobin.  The zine was active for five years and we would like to thank all past contributors, cover artists and supporters for your energy that has made it such a success.  Without you it wouldn't have happened.
We'd especially like to thank Cos Ahmet, our final cover artist, who made a special trip to Dundee to bid it farewell.

The final issue is now online where you can also view and download our back-catalogue.

2014 brings a fresh direction to Yuck 'n Yum and we are hitting the ground running with our first project ZineIdol.  To celebrate new beginnings we are offering the support, guidance, and £500 seed money to bring your own self- published zine venture to fruition.  Deadline 1st of February 2014, ZineIdol event 8th of February 2014, for more details please visit http://zineidol.yucknyum.com

We'd like to wish you a wonderful time over the festive period and thank you for your continued support!

Love from the Yuck 'n Yum team

Yuck 'n Yum winter 2013

The last ever issue of Yuck 'n Yum is now online and available for your festive delectation:


Monday, 16 December 2013

Marcel Broodthaers - Musée d'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles

La Pense-Bete, 1964

Marcel Broodthaers (28 January 1924 – 28 January 1976) was a Belgian poet, filmmaker and artist with a highly literate and often witty approach to creating art works.

From 1968 to 1975 Broodthaers produced large-scale environmental pieces that reworked the very notion of the museum. His most noted work was an installation which began in his Brussels house which he called Musée d'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles (1968). This installation was followed by a further eleven manifestations of the 'museum', including at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf for an exhibition in 1970 and at documenta 5 in Kassel in 1972. In 1970 Broodthaers conceived of the Financial Section, which encompassed an attempt to sell the museum "on account of bankruptcy." The sale was announced on the cover of the Art Cologne fair catalogue in 1971, but no buyers were found.

Musée d'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles, Section XIXe siègle, 30 rue de la Pèpinière, Brussels, September 27, 1968

In 1968, the Belgian artist Marcel Broodthaers created an installation in his house that he entitled the Musée de l'Art Moderne, Départment des Aigles, or Museum of Modern Art, Department of Eagles. This was a fictive entity in that the museum had neither a permanent building nor a collection; nonetheless, it was elaborated by Broodthaers in about a dozen further installations. Evidence of the museum's existence (apart from its title) ultimately encompassed specially created objects, films, and art reproductions as well as ephemera such as wall labels and signage.

Subsequently, Broodthaers added other 'wings' to his museum department, including a Financial Section (through which he attempted to sell the museum itself, stating that this was necessary "on account of bankruptcy"). The Financial Section was also the sponsor of a series of gold ingots stamped with the museum's symbol, an eagle; these ingots were sold at twice the market price of the gold they contained.

Broodthaers's museum belongs in a lineage of institutional critiques that are deeply inspired by the work of Marcel Duchamp (especially his Readymades) and that proceed by assuming the general form and authority of key art world institutions such as the museum, the gallery, and the nonprofit organization. More recent entities of this kind include the Museum of Jurassic Technology, the Museum of Forgery, the Museum of the Double, and many others. With the advent of the web, which interposes a compelling facade between the visitor and any actual building or place, such fictive entities have exploded in number and kind, with quasi-scientific institutions (the Institute for the Study of Perpetual E.motion, the Institute of Militronics and Advanced Time Interventionality) and corporations (the International Coropration of Lost Structures, RTMark) entering the mix. At times, it can be difficult to discern the difference between what is merely an elaborate project title, and a genuine effort to exploit the structural affordances of contemporary institutional forms.

Section Publicité du Musée d'Art Moderne Département des Aigles, 1972

In September 1968 he invented the Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles, which comprised an installation of crates, postcards and inscriptions situated in his Brussels apartment. The Museum was opened with an inaugural speech given by Johannes Cladders, then the director of the Museum in Monchengladbach, Germany, which was followed by a discussion on the role of art within society. In present-day terms this work has acted like a “message in a bottle” washed up on the shore of the future that alludes to the inevitable fate of works of art once embraced in the arms of the museum and the art market. Broodthaers’s working methods and his overinflated reputation for being difficult to work with may, even to this day, put off some curators and museum directors from being involved with his work. Broodthaers was not difficult to work with; the fact was that he was his own best curator. He would refine and refine his ideas until he achieved what he wanted. Working with him was not difficult at all, but it was demanding, so that you had to be patient, hold on to your nerve and closely follow his thinking. He would precisely construct the context of his work within his own conceptual parameters, relating constantly to his intentions and purposes of the exhibition or project as he had conceived it — sometimes putting existing works together to create new, combined, multiple meanings.
Over his lifetime he worked long and very hard to enrich our cultural and intellectual life for very little financial reward. It is now for those who have known his work for a long time and those who are interested but new to it to keep his work fresh and alive for a forever-expanding contemporary audience.
Even during his lifetime, and particularly now, Broodthaers has been difficult to categorize; he has never fitted easily into Surrealism or Conceptual Art. Although very much an international figure in the art world of the ’60s and ’70s, he has since remained an outsider who even since his death has contributed to our understanding of the world of ideas. In his own words: “It is possible to grasp reality as well as that which reality conceals.”
Barry Barker

Musée d’Art Moderne, Département Des Aigles, Section des Figures Düsseldorf Kunsthalle, May 16- July 9, 1972

Naturally aided by his scattered physical legacy, there’s something mysterious, apparition-like, about Broodthaers’ art that asks to be protected. One can unpack his programmatic use of mussels and eggshells, for instance, but the works containing membranes – delicate protectors of more delicate contents – seem, in retrospect, almost a caution to interpreters chasing a master code. Considering Grand casserole de moules (Large pot of Mussels, 1966), a bluish surfeit of glued bivalve shells rising implausibly out of a black steamer pot in a holistic form weirdly reminiscent of a hamburger, one wants to linger in the forest of potential discursive content: the Mitteleuropean response to Pop that salutes fine dining over fast food; the metaphoric gravitation towards structures (the shell, the pot) that are Janus-faced, not only protecting but also restricting freedom; the reality-exceeding autonomy of art.

In his dandyish attention to styles of normative constraint, in particular, it’s clear that Broodthaers’ great tactical gift to art was his location of a place between meaning and meaninglessness, positing both as contingent. One of many unseatings of language here, 4 Pipes Alphabet (1969) – four embossed plastic reliefs on which the alphabet is tidily spelt out, with occasional anarchic divergences, around four graphic depictions of Magrittean pipes – is a deviation from a given rule that convinces through its spotless formal crispness. Broodthaers did deadpan certitude almost arrogantly well: he could locate it in something as simple as the slide projector’s metronomic click in Bateau–tableau (Boat–Picture, 1973), which shuffles through close-ups of a maritime painting. Such gambits, of course, touch on his lawless reinvention of museology, exemplified by his ongoing project Musée d’Art Moderne (Section XIXe Siècle) Département des Aigles. First produced in Broodthaers’ Brussels home in 1968 and then transported into various institutional settings (involving the re-labelling of existing art works), this was never going to transfer well into a retrospective, and one gets only the faintest hints of it here: a couple of photographs, a couple of props. Such, of course, is the big problem with accurately anthologizing Broodthaers: many of his projects for institutions are hugely difficult to reconstruct. But, again, maybe it’s better this way: some things ought to be left viewable only through a glass darkly, where misprision can do its work.
Martin Herbert

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Yuck 'n Yum winter 2013 launch 14.12.13 - pictures

To the Hannah Maclure Centre this evening for the last ever Yuck 'n Yum zine launch. The final issue will be online very soon, but for now I took a few photos and here they are:

The name of the zine is Yuck 'n Yum

Derek Lodge and Michael Mallett perform a selection of Christmas hits

Guests were invited to colour in a selection of back issues

Amelie colours in

Assorted punters

The Hugs tear it up


Mappa Dundee @ Generator Projects 13.12.13 - pictures

To the Generator last night for Mappa Dundee, an event "exploring the social, environmental and economic systems that support individual and collective art practices in the city." I took a few photos and here they are:

The name of the event is Mappa Dundee

The Dundee art massive

Fraser MacDonald carves a monument to all the people and places he has worked with

 Catrin Jeans reads tarot cards

 Kirsty McKeown

Tin Roof