31 Jan, 2014

Does participation deliver equality?

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Installation view of Roger Coward's You and Me Here We Are - What Can be Said to be Going On? 1977 (left) on display in Art Tuni
Installation view of Roger Coward’s You and Me Here We Are – What Can be Said to be Going On? 1977 (left) on display in Art Tuning Left

© Tate Photography

Artist and filmmaker Roger Coward, whose work features in Art Turning Left, shares his thoughts on the potential of participatory art work to deliver equality

Participatory works of art may open many opportunities. They may trigger original thoughts and actions in the participant, who could then become an even greater artist than the originator of the work they participated in.

However, the very word ‘participation’ implies something envisioned by someone else. The nature of that vision is therefore critical and will inevitably depend on the artist: David Medalla’s lovely and profoundly symbolic participatory tapestry invokes the undervalued gold standard of the work of the hands and body; the end result of which will depend on the participants and how they felt about their role.

Will it be exhibited? If so under whose name?

As a member of The Artists Placement Group founded by John Latham and Barbara Stevini on principles such as ‘Context is half the work’, my own approach was, for me the artist, to do the participating. In this case in the political process of a deprived city area, by providing local residents with video equipment and training them to use it to make documentary films, to interview each other and their local councillors. In this way the residents progressed their cause, became organised as groups and in their ideas.

They also created images, some of which I faithfully and responsibly borrowed for my own film and exhibitions; so they also participated in my artwork, intended as feedback to the inevitably more centralised art world and government. The participation was truly two-way.

I believe we must recognise that all organisations, artistic or political, tend to orientate themselves around a centre with a periphery at the circumference. This makes what is central very important but not more important despite the seeming gravitational pull in that direction (leaders, art world, chairmen, government). We should ignore that periphery at our peril, for there potentially exists increased freedom and creative innovation. However, the periphery of society is often forgotten by the centre and neglected or ignored as a deprived area – it nevertheless remains part of the whole.

Politically, for the past three decades, there has been a growing dividing of the line between centre and periphery so that we are now arguably back to the most regressive pre-World Wars and pre-Russian Revolution levels of inequality and exploitation of the hand and body worker.

The third world model of central rich and peripheral poor is established in America, as can often be deduced from TV reports of natural disasters there, and is now returning  to the UK. Few lands of opportunity remain. Art turning left since the French Revolution has been completely ineffective despite having the right ideas. Why no power?

The expectation of equality reminds us of our common humanity (‘Equal in the sight of God’) and seems to have an underlying strain of important moral concerns implicit in it. Equality is a complex matter (take a look at the online Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy for a sense of the implications of the word).

My own view is that we all, equally, have an opportunity to be our own true selves – whatever life deals us is part of that. If we closely examine our own inner selves, intuitively we will know whether we are achieving that.

The trouble is other different people: competition in jobs, exhibitions, friends? (‘if I get promotion or make money I will be alright!’). However, the unacademic student relegated to the school art department may actually save the world: the folk story of the dumbling brother, for example – apparently the most stupid, but in the end the one who saves the situation. Is that equality?

Race, gender and accent are some of the differences but I had looked slightly deeper at personality type before my placement. (‘Mandage’ 1974 – Tate Archive). Today it’s easy to take the Myers Briggs Type Indicator Test on the web, based on Jung’s concept of the Four Functions of Consciousness, which can be traced back to profound ancient beliefs involving Earth, Fire, Air and Water. My Tate Liverpool exhibit You And Me Here We Are: What can be said to be going on? embodies this, as does the feedback film The Most Smallest Heath in the Spaghetti Junction (Tate Archive).

However, if art can be as broad as to reflect everyone then it can affect everyone. Shakespeare is often praised for the inclusiveness of his dramatis personae – what would be the fine art equivalent? It will take more than a urinal or something else rather odd. Thank goodness Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry announced the end of ‘anything can be art’ in his recent Reith Lectures. The urinal is dead. Thank goodness also for Tate Liverpool’s exhibition Art Turning Left to remind us that art has very fundamental personal and collective significance – and potential power. 

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

31 Jan, 2014

In pictures: Chinese New Year

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Bryan Kneale, 'Horse' 1985

Bryan Kneale
Horse 1985
Chalk on paper
support: 1831 x 913 mm
Presented by Sir Richard (later Lord) Attenborough 1987© Bryan Kneale

According to the Chinese calendar, on 31January we enter the year of the Horse so we’ve herded the Chinese zodiac animals from Tate’s collection

Which one are you? A hot-headed, mighty dragon? A profound yet unassuming snake? A charming, charismatic monkey?

Find your animal counterpart in Tate’s collection.

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

Klee Pedagogical Sketchbook Cover BLOG 2014
The front cover of Paul Klee’s 1953 Pedgogical Sketchbook

© Faber and Faber Limited

Paul Klee was a teacher at the famous Bauhaus school – so let’s take his lessons! In the first of a new series, our blogs editor meets curator Matthew Gale to untangle Klee’s Pedagogical Sketchbook

I thought I got Bauhaus. Iconic design school, primary colours, famous teachers, nice chairs – what’s not to get? I said I’d read up, and put together a breezy beginner’s guide to sit alongside Tate Modern’s current The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee – Making Visible show. Oh, to think of the foolishness. Klee’s teaching handbook arrived with its misleadingly sunny cover and its dark mass of inner contradictions and sorted that right out.

The Pedagogical Sketchbook is a crunched version of Klee’s basic art theory which he taught at the school in Weimar from 1921, through its move to Dessau, until 1931. And it’s a series of squiggles. Lots of lines, not many words. I’m not exaggerating. It includes algebra. And yet its ideas underpin one the most influential design movements of all time. How can this be, and how to unravel it?

 With the help of the heavyweights, of course. The curator of Tate’s Klee show, Matthew Gale, is full of wisdom but short of time – so I baked him cookies and begged him to teach me Bauhaus. That’s the sad truth, readers, and here’s what I learnt.

 Lesson one: lines (p16, see above)

 ‘An active line on a walk, moving freely, without goal…’  

 This is Klee’s now quite famous opening line.  What’s it all about, Matthew?

It’s that very simple idea that if you move a point, you get a line, and if move the line you get a plane. Just that basic understanding gives you three kinds of mark-marking.

Ok. But isn’t how to draw a line quite self-explanatory?

Well, yes, but Klee’s really trying to step back and look at what underlies the way we do that, and the whole way an artist makes a composition. It’s about understanding what you’re capable of and what those things mean.

Ah, so it’s like knowing your hammer before you hit things with it?

Yes, that’s right. It’s like finding the origins of a word you use habitually. If you then trace its origins, it will enlarge upon the meanings that you may have for it. And look, this was published in 1925. Most people going through art school would’ve just been told to shade like Raphael.

Aha! So this was one of the revolutionary aspects of the Bauhaus?  

Yes, Klee’s approach of going back and addressing the actual mechanics of mark-making was totally revolutionary, and it definitely has parallels in the other teaching there. Klee arrived in 1920 and he wrote in letters to his wife how he’d visited Johannes Itten’s first year classes and seen him make the students do exercise to loosen up the body before drawing, and ask them to draw emotion rather than objects, those sorts of things. There are photos of Itten’s class where he’s getting them to draw with both hands. It’s about breaking down the things you do automatically.

So this was part of the first-year tuition, a sort of Bauhaus foundation?

Yes, this, and Klee’s introductory course was part of the entry level class where you’d be immersed in theory, and then later you’d go onto classes for particular workshops. Klee also taught some of these, such as bookbinding, metal work and stained glass – although he had no experience in any of them.

Ha, really?

Fantastic, isn’t it? But there would have been technical masters there too, so Klee would have been there at a more fundamental instructive level. He wouldn’t have been the one saying ‘if you heat iron to this temperature you can beat it into a curve’; he’d more have floated through the class and gone ‘ah…

…that line’s on a walk’?


That’s it for lesson one. Here’s what we know so far…

RULE ONE: Learn the rules! Understanding the nature of mark-making is the key to creating a good composition

NEXT WEEKWhy rules are made to be broken

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

29 Jan, 2014

Archives & Access project: Conserving the Archives

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Graham Sutherland archive page: sketchbook detail

© The Estate of Graham Sutherland

My name is Sophie Connor and I’m the Archive Conservator for this project.

In the broadest terms, my job here is to make sure archive materials won’t be harmed in the process of digitisation, and to make sure as much information as possible (text or image) is visible when photographed.

I’m lucky to be working with such a varied archive collection – there are a lot of documents, but there are also a lot of art objects, such as drawings, sculptures, sketchbooks, photographs and negatives. This means my experience in museum conservation, working mostly with fine art, comes in handy.

So far I’ve spent a lot of time surveying, which means looking at the archive items and writing down anything I need to do to make the objects safe for digitisation, or to uncover information. The next step is treatment.

My impulse as a conservator is to fix everything, but conservation for digitisation is all about making decisions. If I were to fix every small tear and unfold every folded corner, we’d have to double the conservation time for the project.

This means with every issue I come across, I have to answer several questions:

  • Is the visibility of the image affected?
    • Are there folds or creases that cover or change the image?
    • Are there tears through the image?
    • Were these there when the artist created the object?
  • Will the object be damaged by the digitisation process?
    • Will this tear extend when the object is handled?
    • How far can this book be opened safely without putting strain on the binding?
  • Is this damage or is it part of the object or its history?

The two main issues I’m dealing with are:


Sometimes they’re small and don’t cover any image or text, in which case I leave them, such as this one.

Where they cover information, they will need unfolding before photography, such as this sketchbook page where the fold interferes with the image:

Or this letter, where the obscured text would make transcription difficult:

Sometimes they prevent the cataloguers from seeing what the image depicts, such as this piece:


Small ones don’t present a great risk, but the large ones can make handling difficult and put the object at risk of further tearing.

This is the piece above, unfolded slightly – these tears are large and make it difficult to unfold the object so must be repaired, but first it must be flattened. This piece needs a lot more work!

In this sketchbook it appears the book was closed while the paint was still wet. When it was opened again, the page tore – part of it remained stuck to the opposite page.

This makes the images on both sides difficult to interpret, so I or a colleague will attempt to separate the torn section and re-attach it to the page it came from.

Finally, here is some damage that might be part of the object – the writing goes around the burn, but was that deliberate, or is it a coincidence and actually later damage caused by, say, trying to read the writing by candle light?

The dark areas are brittle and make the object difficult to handle, but any repair will change the object – in this case I’ll discuss this letter with a curator, and we’ll reach a decision together about how to stabilise this object for digitisation.

Stay tuned for treatment updates on some of these objects later this year!

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

29 Jan, 2014

Installing Richard Deacon at Tate Britain

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Richard Deacon's 1998 wooden sculpture 'After' Tate Britain
Richard Deacon’s 1998 wooden sculpture After being installed at Tate Britain

Photo: Susan Holtham
© Tate 

Curator of Tate Britain’s Richard Deacon show, Clarrie Wallis, takes time out of installing the British sculptor’s work to reveal what it’s like to slot sculpture together, and how cereal packets come in handy 

Installing sculpture is great fun. Tate has a fantastic team of technicians and conservators. To install the show at Tate Britain we have also enlisted the help of two of Richard Deacon’s long-term collaborators – Matthew Perry, who has worked with him for 30 years, and Niels Dietrich, at whose ceramics studio in Cologne Richard makes his clay pieces. There are about 30 works in the show. Among the monumental sculptures are the flowing contours of wood-laminated works, such as Blind Deaf and Dumb A made in 1985, galvanised steel sculptures and some improbably large ceramics.

Richard belongs to a generation of British sculptors who came to prominence in the 1980s, and his work has been collected by major museums and collectors throughout the world. A number of works in Tate’s collection are in the exhibition in addition to loans from the continent and the USA.

I’m particularly excited to bring together two of Richard’s large wooden works from the 1980s and to see Out of Order, another wooden piece from 2003. They highlight how adept Richard and Matthew Perry are in handling wood and exploiting its different qualities.

While formulating ideas as to how to approach the selection I really enjoyed making models of the sculptures from pipe cleaners, cornflake packets and plasticine. They have been incredibly useful as a three-dimensional working tool. It’s always exciting to watch a work come out of its crate and see how, piece by piece, the show gradually takes shape. Each day is different when putting a show together and there is always a huge variety of jobs to do. These range from making decisions about the specific placement of works, to working with colleagues in Tate’s Learning and Press departments on last-minute details.

Once the installation is finished, I’m looking forward to walking through the galleries on my own before the private view, remembering the conversations Richard and I have had over the last two years and reviewing how the show has come together. Richard has regularly exhibited his work at the Lisson Gallery but this is his first major exhibition in a public institution in London since his Whitechapel Gallery show in 1988. I hope our show will highlight the importance and variety of his practice and introduce his work to new audiences.

Richard Deacon is at Tate Britain from 5 February – 27 April 2014

Interview by Susan Holtham

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

28 Jan, 2014

Feeling like a threat in Liverpool

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Tate Collective Liverpool
You feel like a threat, don’t you? 

Tate Collective member Steven introduces their latest collaboration with artist Ruth Ewan, a publcation exploring the perception of youth in Liverpool

As a member of Tate Collective Liverpool I was given the opportunity to collaborate with artist Ruth Ewan to produce an artwork for the Art Turning Left exhibition at Tate Liverpool. Our outcome, You feel like a threat, don’t you? takes the form of a publication which expresses the various ways we feel that, as young people, we are perceived and treated in Liverpool.

Our first meeting with Ruth took place at the Propaganda: Power and Persuasion exhibition at the British Library. I knew Ruth produced works that often had a political edge to them, so collaborating with her provided us with a unique opportunity to delve deeper into ideas of perception and explore visual ways of telling our stories. For me, a large part of being young is the ability to be carefree, mainly wanting to laugh, and sometimes not giving a second thought about other people around me. But how might this come across in a public space? I know I’m not a threat, but maybe I feel like one?

Over time we gathered quotes from anecdotes about our experiences as young people in Liverpool. Where are the spaces allocated for young people with the city? Why are the spaces that young people choose to inhabit so often given negative connotations? With so much content, we decided a booklet provided the best way of sharing our stories and ideas with the public. However, we needed some serious design guidance, so joined forces with Åbäke, who helped us pull the print together.

Though the booklet veers from subject to subject, I think this chimes with the frenetic nature of youth, and with the whole exhibition of Art Turning Left itself – artists trying, in many different ways to find their best means of expression within an environment they are not completely comfortable in.

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

28 Jan, 2014

In pictures: Jackson Pollock – a birthday tribute

Posted by: admin In: Tate

Jackson Pollock, 'Yellow Islands' 1952

Jackson Pollock
Yellow Islands 1952
Oil on canvas
support: 1435 x 1854 mm
frame: 1462 x 1945 x 41 mm
Presented by the Friends of the Tate Gallery (purchased out of funds provided by Mr and Mrs H.J. Heinz II and H.J. Heinz Co. Ltd) 1961© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2002

Instead of standing at an easel and dabbing at a palette, Jackson Pollock laid his canvases on the floor and dripped and splashed paint from tubs onto the horizontal surfaces. Enjoy the results of his radical technique, along with a selection of artworks by fellow Abstract Expressionists

Controlled or chaotic? What do you think of Jackson Pollock’s radical approach to painting?

See more Abstract Expressionist works in Tate’s collection

Read the original post on The Great Tate Mod Blog

20 Jan, 2014

MAYA HAYUK: Artists to watch in 2014

Posted by: admin In: Stolen Space

Maya Hayuk

Location: Brooklyn, NY

“This year has been a groundbreaking one for Maya Hayuk, as she mounted not only her first solo museum exhibition in the U.S., which was hosted by the renowned Hammer Museum. The artist created impressive murals for Deitch’s “Women on the Walls” in Wynwood, the Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art in Toronto, and the “Headscapes” exhibition in New York, which was widely noted as one of the best curiatorial efforts in the city this year. Each project Hayuk has chosen to participate in this year has been of an ever-increasing magnitude. We can’t wait to see what heights the artist will soar to in 2014.”

– http://www.complex.com/art-design/2014/01/street-artists-2014/maya-hayuk

Read the original post on Stolen Spaces

20 Jan, 2014

BOOMKA BOOMKA: A solo show by Mysterious Al

Posted by: admin In: Stolen Space

Mysterious Al’s first Australian solo exhibition is the product of a six-month period of living and working with a secret ancient tribe in Melbourne.

This nameless, faceless group has co-existed alongside the city’s residents for centuries. Their ancient rituals and practices untouched since their beginning. Drawing influence from the Tribe’s traditional practices as well as the city’s sway of Graffiti, advertising and urban culture, Boom-ka, Boomka derives from the subconscious, hypnotic rhythm of Drum & Bass music, ancient traditional art, consumer culture, found objects and Witch-Doctor ceremonies.

Jan 17-26, 248 Glenferrie Road, Malvern VIC 3144

Opening night Jan 17th 6-9pm



instagram / twitter @mysteriousal

Read the original post on Stolen Spaces

10 Jan, 2014

A Look Back at Art News Blog

Posted by: admin In: Art News Blog

art news blog

I can’t believe how quickly 2013 flew by! I’m glad it has gone though as it was possibly my shittiest year yet. I didn’t paint much of value, I had a pile of family problems, financial problems, health problems, and my dad passed away, so I say good riddance to 2013, you sucked! I’m looking forward to making 2014 a much better year :-)

Just looking back at Art News Blog before I move forward. I finally started posting again in June after a 3 year pause and then I almost stopped posting again in November when my dad was sick, so there’s not much of a year to review, but still, it’s a good way to start the new year.

So, back normal posting tomorrow ;-)

Read the original post on the Art News Blog


Flickr PhotoStream

    Fairy of the middle of Winter/ Яварь Середина-Зимыnozzle head trioLars MikkelsenCountry house and waterfalls - The majolica cloister of Santa Chiara in Naples (years 1739-1742) - Architect Domenico Antonio Vaccaro - Painters Giuseppe and Donato MassaCyborg Dude with Autodesk Sketchbook Pro & iPadKnock Out Game175. The Carlyle Hotel, South BeachPájaro N°3Quasi PrimaveraFfunny FfriendsCatch!American DreamA Blessing


HaggBridge.com brings you a daily update of news from art world, focused on UK based artists, exhibitions, and galleries.