Dial Emma

Jonathan's Art Dilemma No. 17: What are exhibitions for?

Monday, 23 August 2010

Brighton August 2010

Grafik Warfare (2005)

You can still see this A5 sticker around the centre of Brighton. There’s one just at the entry to the Laines off North St, but I have spotted others. It must be at least five years old, and probably stuck up then, cunningly placed and missed by successive clean up campaigns. I like it’s simplicity. Something about it stirs strange (aggressive?) emotions in me. It has a punk, b/w photocopy, sixties graphic type effect yet the cap has a clone, leather club type feel. I can’t figure who it is aimed at and what it was for, if anything. The type down the side says ‘GRAFIK WARFARE street art collective’ so I have to presume it is a tagging thing.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Alexandra Palace. London (1980)

When I was at college the building we were housed in burned down. It was during the summer holiday, few people were around, so no-one was hurt. I was there to finish off cutting huge stencils for the outside wall of a local milk distribution factory. Whilst everyone was being evacuated this person from the council gave me my own personal, outdoor exhibition of one of the paintings he had rescued from the blaze. Sadly my stencils, all my hard work and precious tools were lost.


Holy Bible. imbue (2010)
One of my dastardly habits is photographing flyposters and stencilling. If it’s bold, bad, makes me laugh or evokes in me strange emotions I’ll photograph it. I also pick up flyers for anything. From these you can learn more about what is going on in a place, and it's mental health. Better than any spangly radio station, thrusting website or direct marketing campaign. My flat is a tip of ad hoc promotional material. 
To ban the distribution of flyers and flyposting, as they did in Brighton  a couple of years ago really makes me laugh. Initially I thought the ban was Pure Evil. I became upset,  denuded, fidgety. It was an insult to ornament, creativity, to music and design. Another closing down of communication. The final nail in the coffin etc. 
But what has happened is that then ban has meant that people have used more ingenious means. Facebook etc obviously but graphics, stencilling, stickers have become more interesting again. My current favorite is the down beat branding exercise being carried out by IMBUE. Bus shelters, shop fronts, no-entry signs, police head quarters, the station, whatever. Imbue is claiming responsibility for it all. This version of the bible is currently next to the swimming pool.

Friday, 13 August 2010

April. Venice, CA.

Sheltering in the local library during the miserable gap between school and the bus home I came across an article about Chris Burdens performance ‘Trans Fixed’ (1974). Just a small cutting, no picture. The writer was a bit perturbed. Later I would scour through copies of Flash Art and back issues of Studio International for any mention of Burden. This led me to bucket loads of other artists, some fantastic stories and a little more information about Trans Fixed, but still no picture. The image stayed with me.

Eventually the internet and Chris Burden’s extended fame within the artworld lavished me with a small photo of the artist and his cross. I was disappointed. Not with the actual picture, that was fine. What more could you do with a pic of someone crucified on top of a volkswagon beetle, add fake blood? It evoked all the emotions of sixties imagery, grainy, black and white with slightly hippy rebel rock ‘n roll posing. Bonnie and Clyde. Maverick school. Good adolescent stuff.

What upset me was is that a photograph of the event actually existed and was now being included in exhibitions.