Monday, November 30, 2009

School of Saatchi – BBC2

The final 12 artists (L-R): Samuel Zealey, Elliot Wilcox, Iain Andrews, Eugenie Scrase, Rhys Himsworth, Tiago Lisboa, Giles Ripley, Matt Clark, Saad Qureshi, Ben Lowe, Claudia Borgna, Suki Chan.

School of Saatchi

As they came to choose a longlist of 12, however, the judges grew increasingly suspicious, and began to question the intentions of the artists, rather than the work itself. "You definitely seem like a real artist," said Collings to one hopeful, as if their task was to sniff out the dental hygienist hiding among the conceptualists.

The four judges are Tracey Emin, Kate Bush (not that one, the curator one), critic Matthew Collings and collector Frank Cohen, here described as "the Saatchi of the north".

The virtual unknowns - Suki Chan, Matt Clark, Eugenie Scrase, Saad Qureshi, Ben Lowe, Samuel Zealey - have been whittled down from an initial 12.

Some of the art was undoubtedly good: Suki Chan's video of starlings flocking was beautiful and accomplished; Matt Clark's creepy installation was inventive and surprising.

But the judges repeatedly asked the artists "Why is it art?" Why should artists have to explain themselves? Does good work become less good when its creator fails to present a convincing case?

Saatchi's pronouncements are instead relayed to the judges by Rebecca Wilson, who works for him and who may or may not resent her role as a sort of Charlie's Angel, taking his orders over the phone.

Initially, the judges acted with the kind of rigour we might imagine is largely missing from the art world: the guy who crumpled up two emails and put them on a table was quickly dismissed, as was the bloke who copied out War and Peace in longhand. Emin called one artist's explication of his arrangement of folding chairs "the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard in my life". Tim Dowling

Friday, November 27, 2009

Tony Kaye in conversation with Peter Jenkinson

Boiler House
Old Truman Brewery
Brick Lane
27th November 2009

A Day in the Life of Tony Kaye” - A Journey into his Mind is the first in a series of Design Inspiration events.

Tony Kaye got thrown out of Hollywood shortly after directing Edward Norton’s neo-Nazi opus American History X in 1998. Previously one of the biggest ad directors in Britain, Kaye got into trouble after editing his feature debut for too long, and when the film studio took it away from him, he fought them in the trade press, sued them, took rabbis, priests and monks to meetings, then had a sort of breakdown.

Kaye is currently putting the final touches to a commercial commissioned by the UN (and filmed through Kaye's Above The Sea production company) to raise awareness around the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference which takes place from December 7 to 10. It's all part of Ogilvy New York's Hopenhagen campaign which is encouraging people to sign the UN Climate Change Petition.

In recent years, he’s been climbing out of the hole, and has directed Johnny Cash videos, American crystal meth PSAs, and a brilliant, no holds barred abortion documentary called Lake Of Fire. This Friday night at 7pm at the Boiler House in London’s Old Truman Brewery, Kaye will be discussing “his processes” with ‘cultural broker’ Peter Jenkinson.

Email for tickets.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cast Offs - Channel4

The cast, from left, Tim Gebbels, Sophie Woolley, Victoria Wright, Mat Fraser, Kiruna Stamwell and Peter Mitchell

Channel 4
Tuesday Wednesday
Starts 24th November

Alison Walsh
the Channel’s editorial manager for disability, “telling the stories of six disabled characters who’re left on an island for a long time. We follow their struggles and the relationships that build up between them and there are also flashbacks to their lives before they went to the island. So it’s trying to show the reality of disabled people’s lives in an entertaining way.”

“It’s drama done in a mock documentary way,” Jack Thorne, who has a disability himself, is a fantastic writer. He has a subtlety and fearlessness that I’ve not seen anywhere else.”

Miranda Bowen: The idea was bold, fearless and truly original. It was totally unapologetic and although I was originally given just a one page outline for the series, it wasn’t hard to make the decision. It was nothing like anything I had seen on TV before. It felt like an opportunity to do something that was truly radical. There was an opportunity for an insight into a world that I had previously had very little contact with. I kept on thinking throughout the process, “I can’t believe that no one has done this before’. And I had loved Jack’s short films and Joel is hard to say no to.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Artur Żmijewski in conversation with Sebastian Cichocki

Novas Contemporary Urban Centre
41-51 Greenland Street
L1 0BS

A Foundation presents curator and sociologist Sebastian Cichocki in conversation with Polish artist Artur Żmijewski.

Seeing his role as "inducing the field," the artist often adapts the strategies of political action in his work, creating scenarios that cause a stir among otherwise passive participants and documenting their actual reactions. His work frequently explores long-term trauma caused by historical and sociopolitical events. While his projects sometimes focus on marginalized or disenfranchised populations, Żmijewski is also interested in what he terms the “dominant state of mind,” widely held popular beliefs and attitudes that shape “common reality.”

Żmijewski’s gaze is anthropological, distanced and occasionally passive-aggressive. In Belfast, a girl at a unionist festival speaks into the camera to tell the artist to ‘fuck off back to Poland.’ Żmijewski says nothing, but follows her down the street, the girl turning around and repeating her message, becoming more confused each time. ‘Do you not understand? Fuck off back to where you came from.’ The discussion ends after Żmijewski’s camera catches sight of a young boy standing in the middle of the street, listlessly hitting a drum, one beat at a time.

Żmijewski is an active member of the Polish political movement Krytyka Polityczna, and the artistic director of their self-titled magazine. His new work appears more realist and more directly political than some of his work from the past, yet in other ways might be read as less engaged. In ‘Democracies’, Żmijewski no longer appears interested in constructing situations, as he was in his confrontation-staging video Them (2007), but instead simply in recording them. Time will tell whether this is a permanent change of direction, or a tactical detour.

Żmijewski is in Liverpool working on his first British commission at A Foundation (due to be shown in June 2010) and will have his first major solo UK exhibition at Cornerhouse, Manchester, opening 12 November. Sebastian Cichocki is an art critic, essayist, curator and sociologist who is currently chief curator of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw.

Artur Żmijewski's exhibition, commission and related events are a partnership between A Foundation, Cornerhouse and The Salford Restoration Office.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Economy of Art - A DACS Debate

A Foundation London
Rochelle School & Club Row
Arnold Circus
London E2 7ES

Thursday 12 November, 6-8pm

The first in a series of high-profile DACS debates on visial artists in the 21st Century. Chaired by Alan Yentob, a distingished panel of artists, economists and commentators including Susan Hiller, Paul Graham, Alan Freeman and Michael Landy will explore the value of the visual arts to the economy and society at a time when the value of traditional sectors are being seriously challenged.

The Panel
Alan Yentob (Chair) is the Creative Director of the BBC and Editor and Presenter of the Imagine programme. A celebrated and award-winning programme maker, Alan became the BBC’s Creative Director in June 2004.
Susan Hiller is an American-born artist, living in the UK. Her practice encompasses installation, video, photography,
performance and writing.
Paul Graham is a UK-born, New York-based artist photographer whose work uses and abuses the classic genres of photography to map a cultural and social topography.
Alan Freeman works for GLA Economics, the Mayor of London’s Economics unit, where he leads the unit’s work on cultural economics and city comparisons.
Michael Landy is a London-born artist best known for the performance piece-cum-installation, (2001), in which he destroyed all of his possessions.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2009

A Foundation London
Rochelle School & Club Row
Arnold Circus
London E2 7ES
10 November - 20 December 2009

New Contemporaries 2009 brings together work by 47 emerging artists selected by established artists Ellen Gallagher, Saskia Olde Wolbers, John Stezaker and Wolfgang Tillmans.

With an extraordinary generosity of spirit, the selectors of the 2009 edition of New Contemporaries debated every artwork with gusto, intelligence and sensitivity.

The final selection of work and artists is coherent, with layers of enquiry, inter-connection and reference.

'Much work this year plays with the role of decription, of telling things as they are, or inventing things till they look at least real.' Sacha Craddock, Chair of the selecton panel.

Artists selected this year are: Adam Bainbridge, Myka Baum, Frances Blythe, Sam Burford, Amir Chasson, David Cochrane, Andrew Curtis, Jorge de la Garza, Nicolas Deshayes, Bee Emmott, Teresa Eng, Anna.M.R. Freeman, Felix Frith, Joseph Gower, Susie Green, Alexandra Handal, Richard Healy, Jung-Ouk Hong, Benjamin Jenner, Peiyuan Jiang, Michael Just, Dean Kissick, Paul Knight, Una Knox, Simone Koch, Rinat Kotler, Martina Lindqvist, Susanne Ludwig, Rachel Maclean, Francis Mason, Jack Newling, Marco Palmieri, Rebecca Parkin, Chinmoyi Patel, Johanna Piesniewski, Sam Plagerson, David Price, Konrad Pustola, Hannes Ribarits, Nick Smith, Christopher Thomas & Kristel Raesaar, Jonathan Trayte, Jack Vickridge, Amanda Wasielewski, Barbara Wolff, Freya Wright, Laura Zilionyte.

Tuesday - Sunday, 12-6pm, Admission Free.

See the New Contemporaries website for full details:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


photo by Julia Waugh.