WHAT I SAW LAST WEEK: 17th July
it hit me the other week – i do this series for the blog and i act like i am the single sole inventor of what is basically a very well established format: a culture diary. so this is j a note to say; YES, THAT’S PROBABLY WHAT THIS IS. BUT IT IS ALSO MIXED SALAD! a mezze platter, tapas, girl dinner etc etc etc. lots of bits & bobs – i’m j taking it as it comes! i’m j along for the ride! i’m j taking you along w me!
in no particular order! this was my week last week love u okokokok
- Carrie Mae Weems @ Barbican
okok, i can’t lie, i only know one strand of Weems' work: the kitchen table series. i know (& saw!) that her practice encompasses so much more, but that was all i was familiar with – terrible thing for an art critic to admit.
but, with that one thing i knew about, i have FEELINGS to CHAT ABOUT! i think that kitchen table series has become a really useful cultural shorthand, non-derogatory. it is just a firm and unmovable part of the Canon of Art History. i just never know how to interact with or deal with my own feelings towards art from the Canon. It’s art that i know of, i know how other people feel about it, i know how the culture holds it – so my own feelings kind of feel pretty myopic in comparison, and i haven’t ever really bothered to figure out what they actually are. and then the work flattens back into the canon: a piece of cultural furniture i know of but no longer notice.
i didn’t realise the kitchen table series was accompanied by text? but in the actual gallery, i was mostly gripped by that. the images themselves were kind of circumstantial. semi-linear. some of them (this one below especially) were arresting and made me stop in my tracks. but, predictably, i fell for the writing and for the story. i’m very very predictable, what can i say. i just like it when things are spelled out for me! i know there’s a story implicit across the images, i know the series has an internal narrative of its own! i just want to be sat down and told it properly. i think that’s nice.
beyond that one series, and the way it recalibrated my understanding of it, i wasn’t sure what to make of the show. lots of eipsodic bursts, an artist who follows an idea through to completion. i know there are artists out there who work in a way that maybe resembles projects: beginning middle end and then they tie it all up in a neat bow. maybe the projects are discernably part of a cohesive practice. or bound by one distinct mastery of a medium. i think discernable practice and mastery of medium – yeah, ok Weems can check those boxes. i just wasn’t – i don’t want to be rude because i know people love her, so i want to handle someone beloved with care! – i wasn’t feeling the rest of it. i felt like i went in knowing the kitchen table series, expecting to get a fuller understanding of her practice. and i left feeling like ‘woah, the only thing i really loved or even liked lots was the thing i already knew about’??? like i didn’t get anything much out of that show and –
ok part of me really does feel like this was a problem with curation. maybe this is just a retrospective issue. curators want nice thematic links so they put each work in its own little corner and write a nice neat text to make the narrative arc of the show make sense because exhibitions are sometimes like SHOW AND TELL and that’s what this was! SHOW AND TELL. i was being shown and then told the information and to be perfectly honest – i’d have had a nicer time if someone had just left all this stuff lying around and let me have a root around for the actual information. because maybe sometimes i don’t want to be sat down and have it all spelled out for me.
i don’t know! maybe it was the rain or the mood i was in. maybe this was about the benchmark of my own expectations but i didn’t enjoy this show nearly as much as i thought i would. and i am genuinely sorry for that.
- JAME ST FINDLAY @ LUCA’S GALLERY
finally ventured south of the river to visit Luca’s Gallery, run by actual art world icon: Luca George. Was also dead keen to not miss this show bc we (royal We, TWP as a collective entity) love Jame St Findlay. so that’s like 2 TWP favourites in one. truly, unmissable.
this was, no exaggeration, one of the most interesting and delightful works of art i have seen all year. i am biased bc i think Jame is a genius, a prodigy, a creative mind whose words maybe should be collected like precious raindrops.
what i want to do is enthusiastically tell you what i saw in minute detail. but i also feel like i have been let in on a secret that’s actually not a secret, probably. but i also don’t wana be the one to rupture any bubble of mystique. so i will be very careful and not say anything that’ll give away anything about the gallery or the show, i will only describe the show as it’s described in the gallery’s press: ‘All is not as it seems as Jame St Findlay sends the gallery spinning with a soundscape and text work that tells the captivating origin story of a goth.'
that is an accurate description of the work, but (in my own words) it was very good, very funny, completely serious. the kind of creative burrowing into the centre of an idea (a whimsy, a notion) that really only artists are capable of. it is the kind of work i am always in awe of because it is so small and delicious but not flimsy, completely whole and entire. loved it!
- been in a few studios hehehe
popped into Imran Perretta’s studio to bother him about something, and i actually think that sticker of shahrukh khan has been there for years, multiple years? what a powerful talisman.
also got to have a peep into Luca George’s studio and saw the famous lime bike from that time out article
- look at this
got my hands on a copy of turps magazine’s sculpture equivalent: mass. & while i was flickign thru, saw this cool & weird ceramic sculpture of a bright red devil horse. i think it’s by nick cave? i will check and confirm, please dont’ quote me. anyway – i thought that was neat! and i also didn’t know that there was a turps for sculptors – mass! the more u know!
i don’t have a picture i took myself bc the cinema i watched barbie in was a) packed out and b) absolutely so boiling hot that i genuinely think i hallucinated and saw chris taylor from love island (i didn’t hallucinate – he is really in it). so here it a pic of a lil doggie going to see barbie hahahaha
the last thing u need rn is my opinion on barbie, but I WILL SAY that i LOVED IT. i wasn’t expecting to love it, i was expecting to just medium enjoy it, and it kinda blew my mind. the main thought i had was that — it was soooo well written? i was listening to the guardian’s today in focus episode about it and the film critic they were chatting to called it baggy !?!?! and i shit u not, i gasped aloud in the mini sainsburys i was buying oat milk in. i disagree! strongly! i thought it was tight! but not played out, not a hollywood potboiler. it was quite clever.
AS YOU MAY KNOW bc i have mentioned it in almost every blog post this month, i am currently reading that john yorke book on dramatic structure or the theory behind storytelling, whatever it’s about – it’s called into the woods. i think it is very interesting bc it has basically given me like a million new words and ways of thinking about – REALLY THINKING ABOUT – the actual shape and form of a STORY. like the story as the thing, the subject of my interest. i think it was actually really funny to write a barbie movie where the story is a standard and typical 5 act structure version of the hero’s journey, a la joseph campbell hero with a thousand faces except the hero is barbie. that’s quite funny. for it to be as on the nose as it felt to me, that tickled me. like, barbie literally experiences an inciting incident, goes into the woods or the underworld and returns with the elixir/knowledge/woteva, pursued by antagonists from the woods, for a moment it looks like the world will flip and that the battle is lost but, she experiences a transformation of self in line with her dramatic desire and saves the day, narrative closure is found in the moment of resolution where her entire world is changed for the better to assimilate the new knowledge into itself. it’s neat! tight! i really noticed the story!! dialectic theory! god, i must be the most boring and insufferable person to spend time with atm bc this book is making me notice STORIES and no one wants to hear about STORY THEORY! (except me).
i will also say that i felt nothing when america ferrera did her big monologue and – idk. i think there are other greta girwig films where that Big Monologue hits harder. Saoirse Ronan’s i’m so lonely scene in little women made me cry like a great big adult baby. i’m so sorry to america ferrera, bc i love her so much, but she said her piece about the cognitive dissonance of being a woman and the projection and fantasy involved in womanhood and – i felt nothing? maybe its bc i feel less like a woman and more like a girly (different things, ofc and obviously) / maybe it’s bc the general idea that a woman can just exist, medium exist, normal exist, in the world like a normal medium ok ambivalent thing, like, that’s not special or novel to me – and it was like the entire point of the 4th act turning point. anyway – i j felt nothing. i left feeling like that bit should’ve made me feel something. maybe it’ll make other people feel something and i guess that’s the point – but that bit didn’t have to apply or represent or even j cater to me specifically, it made sense for the arc of the narrative. i j noticed it and had some questions about where else it could’ve gone – and i don’t think anywhere else would’ve hit harder, it’s j the nature of the thing. anyway anyway, in the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t rly matter.
i will also also say that ken’s thing about horses was very good, horses ARE man-extenders. that got me. i love horses. haha. the film was also visually delicious. never got tired of barbieland. loved it and the specific kind of girlhood nostalgia it unlocked within me. hope the polly pocket film is up next bc i want to get really into collecting polly pockets so – i think that could be a big cultural moment for me.
^^ the above barbie section is painfully like stream of consciousness, i refuse to edit it, you’ll all j have to pick out the bits that make sense. that’s fine bc the only people that read WISLW are literally gab & my boyfriend. hello to u both, my favourite and only readers.
- i’m also reading
MORDEW! by Alex Pheby. gabrielle has been giving me the hard sell about this book and i’ve finally caved. i’m enjoying it! it’s really smooth to fly through, like reading it is nearly completely frictionless. and there are so many moments where i’m like ‘woah, that’s so creative and bonkers’. it is just so far away from real life, but also not actually. it’s fun. i like it a lot. i have lost myself in the little world of it and i’m not even halfway thru.
i just wana read loopy stories about grubby dirty mud people. like, i loved ottessa moshfegh’s lapvona, loved missouri williams’s the doloriad. i just want to read about people who live in literal grime and mud and i want them to do terrible things to each other. like i want them to be truly rotten horrible people. if u know of any more books about people who live in literal filth, please do let me know!
- i love talking heads
i really do! when i finally die and they lower my casket into the ground, please play the kermit the frog version of once in a lifetime. anyway. was watching this and thinking about how good david byrne’s great big suit was. what a genius! i love him!
ok that’s all – love u see u next week bye bye bye bye mwah mwah take care! love u so much!!! 💘💕💘💕💘💕💘💕💘💕💘💕