Monday, April 07, 2008


Last night I had a dream. One of my earliest teachers (Murphy) was showing the class of 10 year olds how to meditate (not likely). While we had our eyes closed he walked over and slapped several of us across the face.

It came as quiet a shock and I felt the sting so clearly that it woke me up, sort of.

I realised I was dreaming and found myself semi-awake. In a lucid dreaming state. So I decided it was time for a little revenge. In the dream, which I was now fully conscious of, I stood up and hit him back. He went flying across the classroom, bumped his head off the wall and while he was in that stunned state, I pulled off his tweed trousers (ever so respectable) went to his desk, where he had stashed his bottle of vodka. Poured that over the trousers and set them alight. He woke up at this stage and stumbled to his feet. So I charged and hit him in the stomach with my head. He went flying out the window (first floor) into the playground below. The flaming trousers followed. Then I went back to the meditation with the other students and we all hummed in perfect harmony and contentment.

People sometimes wonder where a cheerful guy like me gets all the anger from. Well folks, a lot comes from being beaten every day in school when I was a lad. That's where my intense dislike for bullies comes from too. Although I really and truly believe in turning the other cheek and working with people, there comes a time and often it's very early in the situation, where a good retort is absolutely necessary. It comes out in my paintings more than anywhere else.

Artparis 08 / The march of the little red dots.

What a great show and so many little red dots. This years Art Fair in Paris was great. It took place in the Grand Palais, Avenue Winston Churchill and runs from the 3rd to the 7th of April. No prefabricated structures here. Just class. Pity about the coffee though, bloody Maxwell House muck.
It was a really enlivening, impressive, colourful, painterly (where did they find all those great painters) and just generally brilliant show. There was a large queue to get in but that's normal, the French love a good queue. I've seen people join them only to get to the end and realise that that didn't really want to be there, so they trail away. There's a sense of solidarity in waiting together.

So why was the ArtParis show so great? There was a lot of art on the walls rather than empty space. There was no sense of boredom in visitors. The displays had a lot of class and each was a bit different to each other, simply creative rather than competitive. There were very interesting effects type art which didn't depend on being plugged in or require a solar panel to work. Just clever. The quality, across the board was really impressive and no one seemed to be trying to foist off bad or boring work on buyers. And there were lots of buyers. I've never seen so many little red dots. Not to mention so many political paintings. Freedom of speech really isn't dead here. It was very impressive.

Here's a selection of photos and video.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Armory show, NY 08

The famous Armoury show in New York, has been a highlight for art collectors, artists and galleries for many years. It started in the Gramercy Park Hotel during the 1990's. Just like the Carlton arms today but without the great art on the walls.

Last years show was, apparently great. I'd heard lots of good things about it and expected this years to be as interesting or lots better than the FIAC show in Paris last year (which really was great!!). So, when I actually got there it came as a bit of a disappointment. It was really surprising how much bare wall space was on show as opposed to art. This is ironic, the galleries pay about $25,000 per stand to show the artists that they represent. The short video here contains some of the best bits of the show.

It wasn't just American galleries who were there, with almost half being from Europe. So how come it wasn't really exciting, interesting, jaw dropping. How come, almost everything seemed, the same or as though it came from the same box. Some galleries, of course, were great and had very innovative work but there was a general air of vacantness in the majority of stands at the show.

Whether or not it has anything to do with the content, The Armory has been bought by Chris Kennedy's company, Merchandise Mart. Although there is apparently a judging committee which chooses the galleries and the artists they are allowed to show, Mr Kennedy seems to take a very personal attitude towards opinions on the quality of the work hanging there. He has called critism by galleries of the terms of showing "Heresy". He also thinks that "Art Fairs are the future of retail" according to Linda Yablonsky, so perhaps he's not really in this for the love of 'Art'.
Chris Kennedy is of the American Kennedy clan who have a long history as patrons of the arts. Mr Kennedy is looking to expand into other art fairs. Personally, people like him freak me out.