David Hockney- Tate Britain

Image result for david hockney


For a while, during some of my youth, I wished I was a bit older, or really, that I could have been born a bit earlier and could hang out with the likes of David Hockney and his world. When I was a tiny bit older, about 17, I was delighted to be the age I was and could still admire the world of his,. He was part of a world I could look at. The world of Ossie Clark, Celia Birtwell, Andy Warhol, Chelsea (on both sides of the pond), rock music, Bianca Jagger and countless other cool things beyond me. But at least I knew they were cool. I would hang out at the ICA and watch Warhol films that were long performance pieces.

A friend got me into the Kazan film  ‘A Bigger Splash’ at the Screen on the Green. I admired the California colours and the beautiful people. I have just got it on DVD a couple of days ago and am blown away by it. Daring, bold, before its time and a London so empty and so bedraggled. Kasmin, Ossie Clark, Celia Birtwell and others that set the whole thing going.

His art has had a various fascination. Some of the early works I loved and then I grew out of love with his works. I went back to my true loves, Rothko and Mondrian.

The show at the Tate rekindled a love. It was great to see so many people there, including Bianca Jagger. But it was also great to see art-world people there, not just fans, as he is so popular, but people you would not think would like his work suddenly admitting to loving it, as if it was a bit embarrassing to love something popular. Out of the woodwork they came with their tales of David Hockney.

The early works- many of them are sublime. The ‘water’ works are tender or just creative. The middle period is a bit varied. Then he comes home to Yorkshire and those works, as most of them, are much better in the flesh than reproduced.

The show, apparently has already sold 25,000 tickets so I am very pleased to have gone to a (packed) opening night.

If you have a chance, go see it. There are some incredibly bold, innovative and beautiful pieces there. A man who just hit the floor running and kept going. Humbling and wonderful.


Frieze London 2016

Yes, it was Frieze again; the merry-go-round of events to tantalise weary global shoppers.

Amidst all of this: art!

A lot to see and do and to recover from, hence my delay in writing.

The week started with the Tate summer party- great fun and you get to see the Turner Prize nominees, which includes some lovely work.







   Anthea Hamilton’s Turner Prize Show at Tate



And the Turbine Hall has the big show on of Phillipe Parreno:


Phillipe Parreno

So many people there enjoying the show.

Started the Frieze day early on Wednesday at  the Serpentine Gallery for an  opening without the crowds. Well worth getting up to see Marc Camille Chaimowicz and Helen Marten.






                                                                                                                                                            Marc Camille Chaimowicz


Then we went in to see the Fred Cohen collection at Fortnum and Mason– some really lovely pieces scattered around a really lovely shop.

Frieze Contemporary and Frieze Masters- a mass of works worth seeing.

A talk at Gucci on Bond Street- I kid you not, which was an excellent talk about Frieze Masters.

Infinite Mix at the Store on the Strand had an evening viewing. Martin Creed film was the standout video, short and sweet. The party was rocking!






                                                                                       The Infinite Mix Party


And the Whitechapel Gallery was showing the William Kentridge show, which was superb (as was the party). Really wonderful work. Everybody raving about it. A great video installation (and a bad photo of it- sorry, but it was the best I could do).






                           William Kentridge part of Thick Time

Camden Arts Centre also worth a look.

So much wonderful art in one town. I wish I could thank all the artists. I managed to be the embarrassing fan only once and do the: ‘I love your show’ to William Kentridge at the party. The others got off light!


Turner Prize – where did all the art go?

The Turner Prize, named after the wonderful artist, is an annual award given to a British Artist, or an artist who works in Britain. It is usually a very big deal to get one and just as big a deal to be nominated for one.

This year, however, it all changed. I don’t know if the committee for this year’s prize are so inexperienced they needed our help or if they think that inclusivity is the same as amateur, but they opened the nominations up to the public. This sounds like a great idea, we get to say who we think is great, but of course an expert panel decides.

I am not against expertise. In fact, I am really in favour of it.  I want any operation I need done by an expert in the field rather than a member of the general public. I don’t even mind elitism. I would not watch a 100 metre final with my neighbour running in it, but I would watch it with an elite athlete.  I don’t know why you are not allowed to be an expert or among the elite in other areas such as art or science. I have no problem with it. I am not talking about exclusivity, where you are excluded from participating. I am talking about the best winning the prize.

Now, I think if you ask the public to nominate we should see the list that we nominated and the votes, otherwise why bother asking us? I don’t mind an expert panel making the final short-list otherwise what is the point of excellence? But I do mind being asked to participate and then not knowing what happened. The Tate has no ‘long’ list. I think that some of us public may have nominated artists, rather than amateurs. I want to see.

What they do have is the usual short list of four contestants. I say the usual short list as it is not the usual short list at all. Most of the list does not comprise artists. There are community groups and gardening designers. Now we have just had the Chelsea Flower Show in London and there are many other such shows for gardeners. I do not think that designers need another forum when there are so few art forums.

There is one obscure art work which perhaps nobody saw that has been nominated, but the rest are not by artists. They are pretending to be inclusive, but that is not what I want. I want excellence, innovation, ideas, creativity, spiritual uplift, art, something. I don’t want a community project or a mural  by some school children nor do I want a designer.

At least this year it is being held in Scotland and as so many of us are furious with the Scots for bringing in this government and having 56 seats for a nationalistic group many of us, I hope, won’t bother to take any notice of it.

But please Tate, next year, get a panel of experts in art and get an artists only list. Art is something done by artists, just like science is done by scientists. If you don’t know that, get someone that does and stop wasting this moment to promote artists, a sorely needed moment for most artists in Britain given the punitive funding cuts to the arts. This should have been their moment. The designers and community workers have lots of places to go, just like the amateur actors, I’m sure their friends and family love them, but please can we bring back art to the Turner prize, an exclusively art prize?

If the committee don’t know what that is then sack the committee.