I like boundaries.
Endless horizons and MRI scanners equally freak me out.
I like outsiders who are inside and insiders who are constantly pushed out.
I like blur... not the band, blur as in circles of confusion that determine what is in focus and what is out of focus.
Blurred boundaries between the public the private.
So after a long time I recently overdosed on gallery art.
I bought membership for Tate and more recently the Royal Academy to avoid queueing for having to see art. It also means my friends (including my couch-surfers) can come and see the exhibitions as my guest. And I can have the use of member's cafe for meetings and social networking in the centre or just a good coffee without loud blaring music.
I took Yoon sung, my couch-surfer from Seoul to see Pop Life : Art in a material world. On level 4 a long queue snakes on itself three times at the ticket counter. Pop Life flashes in neon with a collage of iconic artworks by some of artists from the show. The staff checking the tickets on this saturday afternoon is looking a bit grumpy and tired. Many congregate to the threshold of this gallery to get a free peek. Koon's steel Rabbit and Murakami's Hiropon are strategically placed further cooing and acting as a promising trailer for what lies within... within the Tate this gallery creates a boundary between the public - the Free and the Paid.
"Good business is the best art" said Warhol, the grand father of Pop. Whether the exhibition furthers the scope of rhetoric or not, it is a fantastic illustration of re-inventions, of branding, of slick marketing tactics that create ethical and aesthetic tsunamis now and again.
Having crossed the threshold, inside the gallery, people feel special, advantaged by having paid for their entry and having left behind the free public outside. Two further spaces within this floor are disadvantaged for the under 18 yr olds. Housing works of a sexual nature behind long alleys and closed doors and a 10 year old naked Brooke Shields removed by our Scotland yard. A young lady argues about age discrimination while Dad scratches his head, she insists she has seen it all! Another large door conceals a sexually charged exhibit... adults hover by the shut door as if in a moral dilemma. Seeing people drift out non chalantly gives them courage to walk in to what is a shrine to Koons et Cicciolina. In various printing techniques and over life size disneyfied sculptures and the same again in miniaturised clear resin, the couple are seen fucking. One lady in her seventies adjusts her specs to inspect the texture of semen, says to her younger companion, "la crema completamente si coagula! and they walk out of the space.
Is this the art I personally aspire to??
Frankly - NO!
I say no, in the same way I don't aspire to monarchy. Its complex and I don't feel capable of presenting my arguments. It has a ‘hmmm…. interesting' factor for me.
I would still go and see it to experience it, the work as well as a chance to see the people. People the audience as they interact with the work hence making it a complete experience for me. Pop Life like many shows attracted wardrobes on legs, major shimmy moments throughout the exhibition, ranging from size 0 to max size 10, wearing impeccable clothes. Who ever said couture was dying? But then this is Pop and Pop is the show!!
Interesting indeed to watch Warhol's meanderings on death and make-up... made me wonder if Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley studied the interview to create Patsy Stone!?
By the way the enfant terrible, as he gets the stick for his worst blue period, I have to say his identical twins sitting next to each other under the butterfly paintings was not pop but made my day. Not only did I have the pleasure of discerning differences in their facial parameters… I engaged with the brothers. We talked. They felt rather relieved and suddenly felt human again. It had been a long stint and their break was due soon. They let me take their pictures, I had to strategise, send my guest to distract the invigilator so I could do a short clip on my I-phone. The provocation that photography is not allowed… or you cant touch the artwork. Well I tussled their hair and I took images where ever I really wanted to. Breaking the rules doesn’t excite me per say. Gallery CCTV cameras grabs a lot of us. Letting us keep a lil’ memento is okay specially as no flashes are fired!!??