WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK: 10th April
happy MONDAY! and hope you had a good weekend etc etc.
i have literally just realised, this series is mislabelled bc i keep doing them on Mondays and telling you about the week just gone – so it’s what i saw LAST week, not THIS week (no one cares about this EXCEPT ME). so, new name new name.
i know i said i cba to go to exhibitions in last week’s post, but i thought i’d actually make an effort this week. i felt like i was being bad at my job, and NO SHAMING, but at least if i’m not feeling it i want to test my own limits and see how far i’m not feeling it. ygm? like, is it j laziness or are exhibtions bad vibes for me atm?
turns out it was just laziness. who knew. got out n about and ENJOYED IT. but also saw some bits n bobs that weren’t formal exhibitons and they were j as good – here they are!!!
big blockbuster vibes – the hayward LOVE giving the people what they want. and good for them. sometimes it’s nice to just have a nice time, experience things in and amongst a crowd of people, follow interest and fascination. the spectacular! the immersion of a full scale production! god, mick, i LOVE IT.
i did actually like this show: in parts.
I liked the big maze of rooms – an installation that was just a collection of small interconnected rooms, set dressed so they had different VIBES (and vibes is as specific as that gets i stg) and you shuffle about in this prefab layout getting lost in the rooms –
it felt treatening or daunting, like SOMETHING was palpable, and that palpable thing built as i shuttled from room to room, doors banging shut behind me. i started to feel really disorientated, lost! the person i was with, inexplicably, knew where they were at all times and opened each door methodically with absolute and baffling understanding of our location at all times. i thought it was witchcraft. if i was on my own, flying solo, i can imagine my pace would’ve picked up. maybe i’d have felt panic. maybe it would’ve become Deeply Threatening or Scary.
it never slipped into full scale horror and nightmare bc of my wizard guide, so at most this set of rooms felt like sliding around spaces in a dream – the quality that rooms and space take on in that subconscious state. like rolling backdrop, google streetview, green screen cgi import, hazy distance. something perioheral but empty but fully haunting like there’s something there but j out of sight, under the skin of the thing.
it was like that tweet: ‘‘liminal space’ sounds very intellectual but it really is just hallways’
i think it is a thing that sounds easy, but i reckon that palpable dread is probably bigger underneath it all and really it’s quite a skillfull thing? that’s such a fine, subtle balance to build and strike. that’s an artist doing things with skill – immersion! designing my experience and leading me by the hand. the artist probably knew where i was at all times too – that’s fun. good.
then there was the big sandy mound with the tyres and a cave in the middle. that’s literally what it was, image description and explainer in one, boom.
i kinda liked the drama of this, but after the Rooms – the liminal space limbo of space and object made intriguing – i think this fell a bit flat. it was ok! it looks nice on the press materials!! But i wandered through this (& the rest of the show) waiting for my brain to go pop again, and it j never did. lil underground mole space felt underwhelming. i wish the exhibition ended sooner than it did. maybe it was j about the order i saw this all in? like maybe the one way system should’ve run the other way bc if i’d seen the rest of the otehr bits first, they might’ve blown my mind— but i’d already seen the climax, the showstopper (the room maze). it’s downhill from there – that’s unfair but it issss what it is i guess.
ahhh well. glad i went to go see, glad i got the insta pics bc all in all, i had a nice time!
my red flag opinion is that: i q like peter doig. idc if it’s nerdy or cheugy, i j love paintings and the guy’s a good painter. can’t DENY it, no point TIPTOEING around it, credit where it’s due etc. so i finally pulled my finger out and popped into the Doig show round the corner from TWP HQ, at the Courtauld. it’s funny, when i walk past something every day, it’s like a guarantee: i will probably never end up seeing it. well – ENOUGH!
i liked the little details. these were huge enormous paintings mostly, but the things i valued the most were these delicious little touches. so human! what a beautiful tender scale! they felt endearing! a good image is a good image but a delicious phrase laid within a good image is liek a GIFT. i want to gobble it up. yes yes yes
- THEN I LOOKED AROUND THE REST OF THE COURTAULD COLLECTION ON MY WAY OUT
and youuuuuuu know i love a loopy medieval painting, love a loopy lil painting of a saint or a funky lil altarpiece, a little sweet miniature of an old timey person. the courtauld’s got a lil collection – not as many as their collection of ~impressionist and post-impressionist french guys~ but i’ll take what i can get outside of italy.
and i just love it! these are images with sooooo much energy for me. they bring me real like — pleasure, the pleasure of looking. it’s like delight and awe and a soothing balm to my eyes all at once. making my brain go pop and my eyes go AWOOOOGA like i’m a cartoon cat stumbling upon a Hot Babe. i think it’s so fun that a little painting can make me feel that way! all fizzy and delicious. it will literally never get old to me. i can’t wait to be a pensioner, retired, bumbling around italy on my non-existent pension money eating ice cream and pointing at little gold burnished paintings like ‘I LOVE GIOTTO!!!!’ bc the novelty will simply never wear off. i LOVE it!
- I HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY THO
just i don’t feel like any experience can justify the price of the tickets that both the hayward & the courtauld seem to insist on charging for their shows. £14/15 might not sound like much in the grand scheme of london, when upon simply leaving your house ur charged like £35 for daring to step on sadiq khan’s precious pavement, but — all the same. it’s silly.
art should be free anyway, but esp in this cost of living crisis, ridiculous ticket prices are a pisstake. art isn’t some exclusive highbrow thing that only rich people should be able to access. art should be like going to the park and pointing at ducks, or turning the telly on and watching something that makes you go WOAHHHHH or – pastime! leisure! enrichment! art should be gripping, a nice way to pass the precious time we have to ourselves in this one and only life we get. i don’t think charging people £15 to come and have a look at the things you’ve put in a little room is much of an inducement for them to come, for them to enjoy, for them to feel invested in the cultural act of this collective looking. i think it’s detrimental for the place art has in the public cultural imaginary – in my HONEST AND HUMBLE OPINION. it feels hurtful? or rude. or like a moment of gatekeeping that j makes me wana stuff two fingers up at the directors of these institutions, or at politicians that refuse to fund these institutions as part of The Public Good.
Books! Movies! Films! ART! these are all things people should just be able to enjoy without having to worry about their entire week’s budget just to engage with. art isn’t a treat or a luxury! i politically disagree with ticket prices of ANY KIND and honestly, so should you.
- JAI PAUL AT COACHELLA
i love him i love him i love him, jai paul if you are reading this (haha as if) i LOVE YOU. (your work, i love your work, i have no idea who you are as a person, so how could i possibly claim to love YOU.) but ykwim !
i love jai paul’s music, it is like a foundational part of my personality, i’m a happy glad fan. on sunday, i woke up and IMMEDIATELY RUSHED TO YOUTUBE to watch his coachella set while i was putting on my lil makeup-y bits. it was FUTILE bc as soon as i put mascara on i cried it right off bc jai was singing all night and then jasmine, and then BTSTU and i got GOOSEBUMPS and i wish i was THERE! but i am a fan who will take anything anything, after all this time i am just glad to get any bit of art that this guy, my favourite artist, is putting out into the world. no questions, i only have love, only have enjoyment, only enthusiasm, i only want him to know that i am so so so glad to see the output, the work he has been working on making.
and i j think that is so pure! that is so beautiful! what a fucking lovely, precious, emotional thing! i think at times in the past, when i was younger, greener, etc, my identity as a critic can feel like a roadblock when i was trying to enagage with CULTURE of any kind. even if i feel that roadblock less nowadays, as i am more secure in my professional identity, i have am always glad to LOVE something, uncomplicated-ly and simply and purely and FULLY. bc it feels like something REAL. something that makes me feel alive, like i could kick or fly or just drift upwards into the clouds like a dandelion particle, like a feather. or sink into the ground like rainwater in search of an underground cavern. or – god, anything. anything that makes my body and brain feel like they are moving in or as ONE, like i am butter being spread across a surface, spirit and soul. JAI PAUL, I LOVE YOU.
- THIS IS A MESSAGE FOR THE WALLACE COLLECTION PRESS TEAM: PLEASE ANSWER MY EMAIL
then, at the weekend, i TRIED to go see that show at the wallace collection: Portraits of Dogs. their press team had AIRED my emails, but i was determined to see the lil doggies, prepared to part with 14 great british pounds (despite my political disagreement with the very premise of that pricetag), and i got there on sunday TO FIND THAT IT WAS BOOKED. NO ROOM. FOR ME. could’ve cried. devastating. nvm nvm i’ll try again and actually plan ahead next time, rather than show up on the fly lmao.
but while i was there, i had a peep into the wallace collection’s actual collection – i haven’t been since i was 16, traipsing around galleries at my art teacher’s behest. and !!! i hit a STASH of UNDISCOVERED (to me) HORSE PAINTINGS!
stay tuned on @hors.e___ for the goodies.
that’s ALL for last week! hope you had a nice week, saw some fun bits n bobs too! i mostly missed all the actual Serious Art shows i had on my list, but if you saw anything worth committing to writing, pls lmk! slide into our ig DMs bc i wana see, live vicariously thru u! i feel like this week will be another cultural desert, but i live in hope. more art, more delight etc etc. ok have fun be safe love u see u next time BYE xxxxx