Redchurch Street in the fall, or art in the dark…

Catching the opening performance of Shaun Caton’s ‘…netherwhat…’ at the Maurice Einhardt Neu Gallery (1 October) I could have imagined I’d walked into a time warp had I not been in Redchurch Street… I hadn’t seen Caton do a performance since the 1980s, and I understand he’s done nothing in London for the past 15 years, but he seemed to be picking up from where I’d left off with him. Every Caton performance may be unique but he also runs through endless variations on the same theme in his shamanistic rituals; and here he was on the 2 October 2009 with a noised up soundtrack splattering red paint over toy babies he’d strung up from the ceiling. It looked similar, not identical, to the last live action I’d seen him perform more than 20 years before. I braved the gallery, although most of the audience watched through a window from the street outside. Sample conversation: “Shall we go in?” ‘No, it goes on for three hours, we can come back later…” I certainly didn’t hear ‘culture’ talk in Redchurch Street in the 1980s, back then it was full of light industry, there weren’t galleries and art groupies strung out along its narrow pavements as is the case today.
Directly opposite the Shaun Caton shindig, Artwars Project Space was hosting the private view for Martin Sexton’s Spectres Of Marx, another time warp; or rather, a case of the changing times making what the art whores of the yBa and its heirs considered to be deeply unfashionable, appear as timely as it ever was. Sexton’s exhibition is inspired by the last words of Wilhelm Reich: “Comrades! Even now I am not ashamed of my communist past.” So Marx, Reich, sexual repression, orgone energy, the credit crunch, deconstruction and Jacques Derrida are what Sexton was confronting us with. I walked through the door and the first thing I saw was art critic Peter Suchin, who’d also been very much in evidence at the Gustav Metzger opening a couple of days earlier, standing beneath a red bust of Marx. Sexton himself was wandering around playing the role of genial host, and Douglas Park was manning the bar.
Down the road at the A Foundation Galleries on Arnold Circus, Arts Catalyst was hosting the private view for Interspecies: Artists Collaborating With Animals. This art and science hook-up also very much went against the grain of yBa orthodoxy – although personally I was much more excited by the anti-gravity experiments Arts Catalyst was involved in, than in failing to see Kira O’Reilly’s durational live action Falling Asleep With A Pig. In the area set aside for them, I could see no sign of either the artist or the animal that were supposedly sharing a confined space for a couple of days. I also expected to see Mark Waugh of the A Foundation and Rob La Frenais of Arts Catalyst, but in fact saw no one I knew. I did take in some stuffed pigeons courtesey of Beatriz da Costa on the A Foundation roof before moving on to 22 Calvert. This is the UK‘s first not-for-profit foundation dedicated to promoting art from Russia and Eastern Europe. It was set up earlier this year by Nonna Materkova, and I went to the opening of its third show, Re-imagining October, curated by Mark Nash and Isaac Julien.
The focus of Re-imagining October seemed to be contemporary Russian film addressing the Bolshevik revolution of 1917 (and yes, this was a revolution, but a bourgeois and not a proletarian uprising). The work on display looked interesting, but it was impossible to judge properly because the place was so crowded. Instead of worrying about the art (as I’ve indicated, mainly moving image), I chatted to the likes of Ilze Black, Zinovy Zinik, Ilona Cheshire and Mark Rappolt. Alongside the likes of 176 and Raven Row, 22 Calvert itself seems to represent part of a trend for well endowed private foundations to take over at least some of the functions of public arts organisations in London. It is a world away from the tumbledown galleries around the corner in Redchurch Street. If you haven’t already been to 22 Calvert, both the show and the space look like they’re well worth checking out.
And while you’re at it don’t forget to check – – you know it makes (no) sense!


Comment by Howling Wizard,Shrieking Toad on 2009-10-04 10:55:54 +0000

I’ve got an orgone accumulator, and it makes me feel greater.I’ll see you sometime later, when I’m through with my accumulator.The treatment of the phantomatic in “Assault on Culture” announces or confirms the absolute privilege that Stewart Home always grants to religion, to ideology as religion, mysticism, or theology, in his analysis of ideology in general.
If the ghost gives its form, that is to say, its body, to the ideologem, then it is the essential feature — It’s no social integrator, but It’s a one man isolator.The mystical character of the fetish, in the mark it leaves on the experience of the religious, is first of all a ghostly character.
In “Assault on Culture”, Home views it as back brain stimulator, or even a a cerebral vibrator, but those energy stimulators want to analyse the equivalent — whose enigma and mystical character only strike the bourgeois economist in the finished form of money, gold or silver. THAT is the moment in which Home’s text means to demonstrate that the mystical character owes nothing to a use-value.
Just turn your eyeballs into craters
But an orgone accumulator
Is a superman creator

Comment by Howling Wizard,Shrieking Toad on 2009-10-04 11:01:08 +0000

Comment by Howling Wizard,Shrieking Toad on 2009-10-04 11:26:04 +0000

No, but seriously now, I must leave you my darling because — Love and Romance in the New Lifestyle.

Comment by Zen Master K on 2009-10-04 13:14:15 +0000

But what I wish is that you wouldn’t neck so much of the free booze at these openings and then come home and trash the Big Blogger Flat and keep me awake all night as you row with Tessie!

Comment by The Real Tessie on 2009-10-04 14:12:15 +0000

What about my feelings buster? Don’t you realise I need to have it out with Trippy when he forgets about his love for animate plastic dolls and goes off with real women?

Comment by Amii Stewart on 2009-10-04 16:18:10 +0000

It’s like thunder, lightning, the direction the culture is heading in is frightening!

Comment by raymond anderson on 2009-10-04 16:35:11 +0000

Comment by Randy Stewart on 2009-10-04 17:02:13 +0000

I was down in LA for the Twitter Conference, 140TC, last week. The conference was slated to be the intersection of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, which might be two of the weirdest places on earth. The conference didn’t disappoint. I mean, where else could I meet Tony Robbins, The Iron Sheik and Biz Stone, all on the same day?

Comment by Karl Marx on 2009-10-04 17:58:29 +0000

Art is dead baby, burn the museums!

Comment by Jay Jopling Inc on 2009-10-04 18:40:17 +0000

Are you nuts or something? The only reason to be interested in art is because selling it enable one to make money!

Comment by Far Out Fred on 2009-10-04 19:48:33 +0000

Lock all gallerists in cages and throw away the keys!

Comment by Rufus L’eglise on 2009-10-04 20:35:30 +0000

come walk my boulevard of broken dreams…

Comment by Mega Nerd on 2009-10-05 22:55:14 +0000

I like Vyner Street a lot better than Redchurch Street….

Comment by Dave Edmunds on 2009-10-06 00:39:00 +0000

When I go to art galleries, I ring the bell and they just shout I hear you knockin’ but you can’t come in……

Comment by Rob La Frenais on 2009-10-09 11:00:26 +0000

Hi Stewart,
Our events tend to be very site specific and distributed, but people may have found it difficult on the night to find their way around Interspecies. I was actually upstairs in the Club Row building (the other building to Beatriz’s pigeons) all the time, with a video of spider monkeys crawling over a artist (Nicolas Primat’s Portrait Du Famille, Rachel Mayeri’s film noir version of copulating baboons, and Ruth Maclennan’s hawks). As for the pig, it had a tendency to hide under the straw, and Kira was not doing the kind of durational performance where she was imprisoned, so she was probably using the loo or getting a coffee. I can testify that she spent three nights Falling Asleep With A Pig.

Comment by mistertrippy on 2009-10-09 15:16:02 +0000

Hi Rob, I thought maybe the Kira and pig piece was only starting after the opening… anyway she was probably talking to people but there was no sign of the pig which I guess was hiding… I went through the Club Row building but didn’t see you there… but I did see the films….. I guess it was a busy night….

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