Wednesday, November 17, 2010

An Insightful Look At New Contempories Among Many Other Things

You might be interested to know that I’m writing this in Afoundation and that, despite it being close to freezing in the New Contemporaries exhibition, I’m sweating. Is it because I’ve just been looking at the Patrick Coyle piece, This Works – which is just graphite pencil on the wall which reads, “This Works is extremely fragile, Please do not touch.” For some reason it put me in mind of my first piano teacher, which is enough to make anyone break out in a cold sweat, but no, that’s not why I’m sweating.

Has everyone here seen Toy Story 3? Remember this? That’s why I’m sweating. Just like Buzz and the gang I got the shock of my life a moment ago and I suppose to explain why we need to talk about this morning.

I spend a lot of time in the public realm, this morning I was in Raymond Pettibons garage on Wood Street. I like it there, its home to My little red flip book and a video piece called Sunday Night and Saturday Morning. The video is from 2005 but the paintings were done specifically for the Biennial, apparently there is quite a good story behind them involving lots of red wine. Funny how all the best stories include red wine. I am clueless about art but I like the animation and some of it is really funny. If you can stand the cold it’s worth sitting through the whole hour. It’s quite cryptic but what art isn’t?

I particularly like the reference to Dennis “Beach Boys” Wilson, “Dennis you’re the only one who can surf, Dennis you’re the only one who can’t sing.” This is particularly meaningful to the residents of my flat because “Dennis Wilson- Pacific ocean blue” is the equivalent to the Marvin Gaye LP my dad breaks out on special occasions, very special occasions. Yep, when Dennis is rocking, don’t come knocking. In fact, if Dennis is rocking, just stick Born to Run on your head phones and reach for the whiskey.

Anyway, this is meant to be about volunteer experiences not volunteer “experiences”. So as I was saying, I spend a lot of time in the public realm so when Joёl comes over the radio warning “all volunteers, there is a large group moving through the building so be prepared.” I get all smug, sip on my luke warm tea and proclaim to whoever I’m with (this morning it was Craig), “Mugs, listen to them making mountains out of molehills.”

This brings us back to Afoundation, New Contemporaries, Toy Story 3 and me, sweating. I experienced my first large group, they were foundation year art students and they tore through the building like a tornado, I was all “Don’t touch anything!”, “Please don’t run!”, “No horse play!” I sounded like a teenage life guard trying to control Wavertree pool during the inflatable fun afternoon. I now have a sore throat. Luckily nothing has been damaged, which is good, because I’d quite like to come back.

This is another guest blog is written by Doug Herbert, a Liverpool Biennial Volunteer Information Assistant as well as model for Daniel Knorr’s The Naked Corner.These are his personal perspectives on his experiences invigilating the works in Bloomberg New Contemporaries, Afoundation, and the Wood Street garage.

The stuff here is good, I like the Nathan Barlex paintings for no other reason than I like the colours, (how valuable you must find my in-depth analysis of art) and I like Untitled by Daniel Lichtman, it reminds me of The Catcher in the Rye. If you’ve read it you’ll know the books main protagonist, Holden Caulfield has a thing against phonies, well the two artists commissioned by the Biennial here are anything but phonies. Antti Laitinen built a boat out of old tree bark from his native Finland and sailed the thing across the Mersey, having just seen it I’ll tell you I wouldn’t even sit on it. His exhibition is great. There’s a video of Antti building an island out of sand bags, I don’t know why he did it but I’m glad he did.

I also don’t know why Sachiko Abe has decided to dedicate 10 hours of her day everyday for two months to cutting paper into tiny strips, the accompanying sculpture is beautiful and Paper Clouds is amazing. I don’t know why she’s doing it, but again I’m glad she is. It’s my highlight of the biennial so far and I have no idea why. Coming from a man sat sweating in a freezing cold warehouse watching a video of Emma Hart playing Dice with the sea I’m not sure how much weight can be put behind this statement but to paraphrase my friend Joe, artists be crazy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Across the way is Bloomberg New Contemporaries the annual exhibition of work by recent graduates and new artists, this time selected by Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri, Turner Prize winner Mark Leckey and painter Dawn Mellor. As ever it's a bit of a mixed bag with plenty of work in which an artist hasn't had the funding to follow through with it, plenty of money but no good ideas or precious little of either. But as I've discovered with all my failures, you don't discover what works until you at least try. David Hockney and Paula Rego are both alumni. And Damien Hirst too if you think that's a good thing.