Category Archives: Art

Jarvis makes an exhibition of himself…again!

Jarvis Cocker took over Shoreditch’s Village Underground for three days of workshops, jamming, cake eating and informal performances.  Taking lead from his ‘happening’  at Galerie Chappe in Paris earlier this year, Jarvis invited everyone to bring their own instruments and take part in yoga, burlesque and Jivamukti yoga sessions, all taught by instructors, with Jarvis and his recruits providing the soundtrack.  Or you could just come to watch and munch on home-made chocolate cake and curly wurlys from Jarvis’ personally overseen Tuck Shop and chillax on big inflatables.

He couldn’t have picked a better venue than Village Underground, with its disused railway carriages and excellent acoustics. It is housed under a viaduct, like a mini version of The Arches in Glasgow, and it felt a lot more welcoming and comfy than the overly-lit, white box setting of an art gallery.

jarvis group

I dropped by during the ‘Bring your own Instrument’ session and Jarvis was perched on a stool playing guitar with members of his band and audience members. They seemed to be mostly improvising, creating dreamy sound scapes, although it sounded very together, like they’d been playing together for years.

Throughout the residency, Charley from the nearby Pure Evil gallery worked on a large graffiti piece dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, which provided the backdrop on the stage.  He was still adding the finishing touches during the final concert!

jarvis graffiti

I hadn’t made plans to go to the concert, as I thought it must have been sold out, but there were still tickets left to buy at the venue (£30 seemed like a lot, but then again, the rest of the festivities had been for free).

Support came from American anti-folk nutter Thomas Truax, who had a whole menagerie of pimped up, hand-made instruments, which look like futurist noise machines.  Truax started out as a solo performer in 90s New York alongside the likes of Beck and Lach and worked as an animator on MTV’s Celebrity Death Match before decamping to London.

Thomas plays everything himself and records each instrument live, layering up the different sounds, then singing and playing blues guitar over the top. He played experimental songs from his latest album Songs from the films of David Lynch, including a cover of I Put A Spell On You from Lost Highway.  The folk at the front were pretty into it, but there were some sceptical mutterings from the oldies at the back, who were probably hoping Jarvis would enlist one of his famous mates to open for him.

jarvis mixing desk

Finally, Jarvis appeared and played songs from his two solo albums Jarvis and Further Complications.  He appeared as skinny and bookish as ever, but when Jarvis starts singing, he is utterly seductive with that inimitably sexy voice and and quiet Northern charm.

There was plenty of bum wiggling and thrusting going on and at one point, he led the audience into a quick aerobics session, as keeping fit seemed to have got pushed off the daytime schedule.

His new songs are more rock based and have a cool cosmic sound that goes into prog-rock indulgence in the slightly comical Pilchard, complete with interactive dance routine.  Further Complications has some hilarious lyrics but there’s an underlying melancholy and feeling of disappointment that could be attributed to the break-down of his marriage to Camille Bidault-Waddington earlier this year.

Jarvis’ main preoccupation of the night was making sure that everyone had enjoyed the workshops and most important the Tuck Shop.  He was concerned that the Roast Beef Monster might not be to everyone’s taste and proceeded to hurl packets of Love Hearts into the crowd.

Watch Jarvis singing Leftovers and having smoochy moment with a lucky girl at the front…

For upcoming tour dates and a free download, visit Jarvis’ website.

All photos by Steven Marshall.

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Vivienne Westwood’s manifesto reading

Last night, I went to a reading of Vivienne Westwood’s Active Resistance Against Propaganda, organised by The Last Tuesday Society, at  The Tabernacle in Notting Hill.  The manifesto was read by Viv herself and children’s theatre group, The YoungStars Academy, in front of an audience of fashionistas, activists, artists, students and proud parents.

Vivienne Westwood was as flamboyant as ever in a glorious printed jumpsuit, white statement specs and a headband with BRANDED emblazoned on the front.  She introduced the manifesto to a rapturous applause and the children read their parts aloud.

Two of the older kids played the main characters, Alice and Pinocchio exceptionally well and everyone in the audience squealed when the tiny girl playing the White Rabbit bunny hopped across the stage, wearing tufty white rabbit ears – so sweet!

 vivienne

Vivienne Westwood wrote her manifesto 2 years ago and it has since been performed twice – the second time I peered through the glass of the Design Museum while out and about on the South Bank to see Vivienne reciting it with the help of Peaches Geldof and what looked like Jaime Winstone from a distance. 

Vivienne believes that by immersing ourselves in art and culture, we can find happiness in a soulless age, and that as judges of culture, we should strive to get the art that we deserve.  She had a few stories to tell about modern art ‘bullshitters’ who questioned her sense of appreciation because she didn’t deem their works as relevant or true art.

viv

Another part of her ideology is that art should be universal and if the meaning is obscured or inexplicable for the majority , then it is not really art. I agree that the artist should be able to explain his state of mind and motivation, but art based on complex theories shouldn’t be dumbed down for a quick overview, and sometimes a bit of mystery and open-endedness can be enjoyable.

Vivienne references Aldous Huxley in her manifesto and agreed with his peceived three evils in the world –  nationalistic idolatry, non-stop distraction and organised lying. By taking influence from art and to some degree history, Viv believes that you can make yourself completely immune from propaganda and their detriments.

The reading was really entertaining as well as educational, as Vivienne’s humour, warmth and passion really brought the words to life.  She digressed, dismissed things as quickly as stating them and told amusing stories to stress her points.  Vivienne had the disarmed nature of a family member rather than one of Britain’s biggest fashion icons, although what she was saying was not to be taken lightly.

vivienne 3

There was a bit of time left to answer just three questions and as usual in Q and A sessions, an audience member perplexed both Vivienne and the audience with her overblown terminology and pedantic questioning regarding spiritualism and the ‘earth keepers’ in the Amazon. Saving the rainforest was meant as a post-script to the reading, and I’m still not sure if she was suggesting that Vivienne should go and live with a rainforest tribe or something. The confrontation did make Vivienne more impassioned and urgent though, and she came off-stage to discussed it with her while everyone went downstairs for a complementary Hendricks gin and tonic and some tropical beats from Todd Hart of Dalston Oxfam Shop.

Like the majority of the audience, I left the reading feeling inspired and while there were some aspects that I didn’t necessarily agree with, Vivienne reminded me to pursue knowledge and to try and find what it is that at this point in life will make me truly happy. So, remember what Vivienne says: books are cool, culture is vital and pretentious ‘art’ is bullshit.

To find out more about the AR Against Propaganda Manifesto, visit:  http://www.activeresstance.co.uk

Water On The Lens at The Movieum

It’s not often that I get to hang out south of the river, other than munching on venison burgers and brownies with my friend Emily at Borough Market, so after the Foale and Tuffin press preview, I hopped on the bus to County Hall at Waterloo to see the Water On The Lens exhibition at The Movieum.

The exhibition features behind-the-scenes, underwater photographs taken at Pinewood Studios that will have you wondering ‘how on earth did they do that’? 

Imagine

Pinewood Studios opened its Underwater Stage (U Stage) in 2005, after 5 years of development by Diving Services UK, making it into a world famous water-filming facility.  It includes a permanently-filled water tank that holds an incredible 1.2 million litre of water.

To achieve their amazing shots, Pinewood create unique settings such as the elegant Parisian apartment above and construct them within the tank, ready for models, actors and musicians to jump in.  The underwater shoots are captured by Phoebe Rudomino of Dive Services UK and they have appeared in films, adverts and music videos. 

Keira Knightly seems to be a big fan of splashing around at Pinewood, as she filmed the scene in Atonement where she is submerged in the fountain, as well as a glam promo shoot in aid of Fresh 20, a water charity. 

Keira Knightley

Jared Leto also had to hold his breath in an underwater car scene in Mr Nobody.  Other shots include James Blunt hanging out underwater with some hot models, Matt Lucas and David Walliams in Little Britain, the scene stills from Elizabeth: The Golden Age and The Boat That Rocked and images of Sharon Stone and Eva Herzigova, who look just as gorgeous under the water. 

Mr Nobody

The exhibition is sponsored by Hunter Boot, the brand renowned for their waterproof and festival-friendly wellington boots.  Hunter are also showcasing their new collection of lime green and purple wellies, alongside their prestigious Balmoral and classic tall green models. I’ve got my eye on a pair of magenta ones with a Lara Croft-style side pouch and cream fleece detail.  If they keep the Pinewood crew’s tootsies dry and warm, then they must be worth investing in for next year’s Glasto!

Credits:

Imagine                                                                    21 July 2006
The set of a Parisian apartment was recreated in U-Stage for a commercials shoot for Johnson & Johnson’s ‘Imagine’ Total Hydration body wash. The apartment becomes a watery, hydrated version of real life and the model ‘floats away’ at the end of the advert.
Keira for Fresh 2O                                             3 December 2005
 
Photographer Candice shot Keira Knightley submerging in haute couture dresses and jewellery for a photoshoot to promote water charity Fresh 2O.

Mr Nobody                                                       19 December 2007
 
Jared Leto shoots a scene for upcoming feature Mr Nobody (2009) – a sci-fi fantasy that spans two time zones across the 20th & 21st Centuries. In this sequence, Jared Leto’s character is trapped in a car underwater.

Water on the Lens, sponsored by Hunter Boot, forms part of The Movieum of London in the Riverside Rooms, County Hall, Southbank, London SE1 open now until 28 October 2009.
Tickets £12 adults, £10 concessions, £8 children. 

Frieze Week: Free Art Fair

This is the third and final Free Art Fair, so of course, everyone with a vague to impassioned interest in art flocked to The Barbican to try their luck at winning one of 52 pieces from a range of emerging and established artists.

Marlene Dumas was obviously the big draw, but also on the agenda were artworks by Cathy Lomax, Douglas White, Matthew Stone, Josef Valentino and Free Art Fair founder Jasper Joffe.

Jasper Joffe

The artworks have been exhibited all week around The Barbican but the big show was the closing gala, with well over 1000 entrants.

Artist Jasper Joffe created the fair as a more democratic response to the extortionate cycle of demanding and paying ridiculous sums for art.  Everything is free, everyone can enter and anyone can win, although there was so underlying corruption.  Yes, one mean-spirited girl broke the rules and entered possibly a number of times and was rumbled when they drew her name twice in a row – what are the chances!  Amazingly, she wasn’t disqualified and probably picked up the Matthew Stone or Josef Valentino pieces I had my eye on…bitter, moi?

Matthew Stone

The fair’s volunteers drew names out of a barrel and the first 50 went downstairs to pick out their piece.  The chosen few are asked to name their first and second choice, but here’s the rubbish part, if your choices have already been taken, they move on to the next person!  It must have been crushing for the earlier ‘winners’ when after drawing 100 names, there were still 18 pieces up for grabs.

Free Art Fair

It seems to be pretty unfair, but at least it might keep the works from ending up on ebay, or someone living in a tiny studio being stuck with a giant concrete plinth.

So, the 150th person was called after a tedious wait and sadly neither Steven or I became new art owners, although his lucky art school tutor at Byam Shaw walked away with a piece.

Josef Valentino

Sadly, the Free Art Fair is now no more, but as Jasper said, there’s no reason why anyone can’t start their own free art fair.  Lets hope that a well-connected and well-organised art student steps up to the gauntlet, so I might just have a chance to replace those beyond bland IKEA pear prints above my bed – they came with the flat, honest!

Frieze Week: Zoo Art Fair

Zoo Art Fair has a new home in the East this year and really, it feels like it should have been there all along.  Zoo used to be at the Royal Academy and now even the more conventional buyers will have to hop on the 149 to the three disused buildings just behind Shoreditch High Street.

Zoo is the place to find emerging artists but there are some Hirsts and Gilbert and George pieces to keep the bigtime collectors happy. The atmosphere of is a lot more relaxed and inclusive than the Pavilion of Art & Design, which attracts a more well-heeled, conventional crowd. 

Damien Hirst jaws

This year, Zoo features 50 contemporary arts organisations from all over Europe, including London galleries such as Serpentine Gallery, White Cube, Other Criteria, Camden Arts Centre, Whitechapel Gallery.  There are three art zones comprising four main exhibitions, curated by FormContent, LUX, Studio Voltaire and Rob Tufnell.

Zoo art fair

LUX’s  Film As A Subversive Art is a project inspired by Amos Vogel’s 1974 book of the same name that continues the question of subversion in contemporary art and film.  It was developed by six students from the Curating Programme at Goldsmiths, with Ellen Cantor’s captivating Pinochet Porn showing on Friday.  It narrates the tragi-comic lives of five adults who grew up during Pinochet regime, including the charming trainwreck Paloma and her Six Husbands, and ends with the question: Is tragedy a choice?

Zoo art fair

Confetti covered the floor of Mariel Lopez Gallery (Berlin) booth, which was in fact a piece by Ruben Grillo called 20 Manifestos – famous manifestos shredded, scattered and stood upon.  Also, Ant Macari showed his work behind a giant wall cavity and used his trademark scrolls and symbols to communicate cultural and religious ideas. 

Ant Macari

After viewing the art, you can quaff some champagne at the elegant Champagne Perrier-Jouet Bar and of course, it wouldn’t be an east end trendy knees up with Bistrotheque and their pop-up restaurant.

Also, if you’re new to the treasures of the east, Zoo have printed a map of the best places to drink and break bread with emerging artists and the galleries where they hang out.

Bistrotheque

The only trouble with Zoo is the hefty ticket price at £15, with no student discount.  The poor, impoverished art school students there can barely afford to make any huge purchases, or even a can of coke at the cafe from what I heard, but they could well be the next generation of talent at Zoo.

Zoo Art Fair is on now until Monday 19 October. 3-10 Shoreditch High Street, London, E1 6PG.

Frieze Week: Pavilion of Art & Design London

Last night, I headed down to the VIP Opening of the Pavilion of Art & Design in Mayfair’s Berkeley Square, which will be the home of the hot pink palace until Sunday.

Pavilion is a reinvention of last year’s DesignArtLondon fair, with the new addition of contemporary art pieces.

Among the guests inside were the cream of the internation art community – the world’s wealthiest art dealers and collectors, distinguished art critics and mini Dasha Zhukovas clad in Hervé Leger and Louboutins (black, of course).

Pavilion art fair

This is a place where the buyer is treated like one of the family, sales are negociated over glasses of Ruinart champagne (I wangled a thimble full of fizz perfection) and the press are treated to an earlier lunch and preview, which I unfortunately missed.  

Pavilion features 45 of the world’s most prominent and influential dealers of contemporary art, design and decorative arts.  Galleries from Paris, London, Brussels, Milan, New York, Barcelona and Geneva are showing a covetable selection of fine art, antique jewellery, statement furniture and design pieces.

Skulls

As a self-confessed magpie, I spent a great deal of time pawing over exquisite jewellery created by some of Britain’s greatest contemporary artists presented by Louisa Guinness Gallery.

Jewellery has been a relatively unexplored medium in art and Louisa Guinness sought to change that by working with high-profile sculpters and painters to create ‘jewels of art’.

On display was a giant gold orb necklaces by Anish Kapoor, a ruby necklace spelling out ‘cunt’ by Sam Taylor-Wood, colourful geometric necklace by Meret Oppenheim and Louise Bourgeois’ silver Araña brooch.

jewellery

On the design front, Todd Merrill’s Studio Contemporary (New York) features some subversive, hand crafted pieces such as a feather-light molecular chair and Galerie Downtown François Laffanour mixes the functionality of iconic designers like Le Corbusier with more avant-garde pieces by George Nakashima and Takis.

velvet chair

 A highlight for me was seeing two mixed media pieces by Gottfried Helnwein – The Red Gun and a lucid, blue-tinted portrait  – represented by Friedman Benda.

Toshio Shibata’s Japanese bondage photographs at Michael Hoppen Gallery were intriguing and enigmatic and I marvelled at the two Francis Bacon paintings at Faggionato Fine Art.

Art

A great start to the art world’s version of London Fashion Week, but if you’re actually in the market for an artwork, you better get there quick, as some sales were reportedly made before the fair even opened!

Pavilion of Art & Design London is on from 14 – 18 October in Berkeley Square, Mayfair, W1J 6ES. 

Tickets are £15, FREE for students and children under 15.