Despicable art: shock therapy for the soul?

John Waters, the people’s pervert, self declared “filth elder” and director of Hairspray, Pink Flamingoes and Serial Mom, among lots of other weird and disturbing films, is an ambassador for the shocking in art and cinema. The first London exhibition of his art is on at the Sprüth Magers gallery at the moment, and he recently gave the commencement address at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) – seriously, watch it. It’s amazing. Waters has, throughout his career, tried to shock people. He wants to be despised, hated, vilified. In his speech to the graduates at RISD, he told … Continue reading Despicable art: shock therapy for the soul?

Stories, magic and fairytales – Wendy Ramshaw’s Room of Dreams – review

Inspired by fairytales and other magical stories, Wendy Ramshaw’s Room of Dreams is on at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery until May next year. There’s something about fairytales that means they seem to remain relevant. Even when the most magical thing you come across in your daily life is the 30 day ab-challenge on BuzzFeed (seriously, 30 days? A few sits up? Rock hard, flat stomach at the end of it? It’s got to be bloody magic), fairytales still have the power to bewitch us. Who doesn’t want to believe in magic? And why shouldn’t we? If something amazing happens, … Continue reading Stories, magic and fairytales – Wendy Ramshaw’s Room of Dreams – review

Money for nothing

In the wave of Tidal’s launch (hur) the idea that musicians, and artists and maybe even writers, should be paid fairly for the work they produce is again being discussed. Of course what I mean by discussed is that, actually, everyone really agrees that artists of all types should of course be paid fairly for their work. If music, a book or piece of art gives someone else pleasure then it has inherent value and the person who spent time creating it should obviously be compensated for their effort. The problem seems to be that while most people will nod … Continue reading Money for nothing

Interview: Poolman Rowe

The idea of art and the community does not always go hand in hand; for many art is an elitist, intellectual pursuit that doesn’t sit comfortably on the sofa alongside the community, who are probably watching Gogglebox and eating KFC. Take a look at the popularity of local, community based art projects, like the recent Longbridge Light Festival, curated by artists Chris Poolman and Elizabeth Rowe, however, and a different narrative starts to emerge. Art and creativity have always been part of our community interaction; cave paintings, wandering minstrels: as a species, we’ve long been interested in presenting our experiences … Continue reading Interview: Poolman Rowe

Art and tech: the future calling or simply history repeating?

There seems to be a lot of interface going on between the worlds of art and technology at the moment. Is it an artistic movement or just another tool, like paint or film? Whether it’s artworks created in inDesign or GPS technology being used to make an interactive artwork that can move around the city, technology is changing the way art is made and consumed. It can be more interactive, more personal, than ever before. Does this herald a new era in art, are we looking at a new movement, like expressionism or dadaism, or is tech just the new … Continue reading Art and tech: the future calling or simply history repeating?

Cut it up and start again: making the old new or the last resort of the unimaginative?

Jonathan Safran Coer did it with Tree of Codes, Williams Burroughs was famous for it, the Dadaists loved it and David Bowie has been at it since the 70s; is the cut-up technique really artistic or just a cop out? I remember being in sixth form and watching Absolute Beginners in a media studies class. One of the boys turned to me and said “You like that David Bowie don’t you, well he gets all his lyrics from ripped up newspapers. You think it’s all deep and meaningful but really it’s just luck and none of it means anything, everything … Continue reading Cut it up and start again: making the old new or the last resort of the unimaginative?