Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Michael Craig Martin,,2233183,00.html
I hope for magic but what I get, in the end, is a technical fault. The exhibition of new work by Michael Craig-Martin at the Gagosian Gallery, 'A is for Umbrella', fills two rooms. In the first are 11 paintings, acrylic on aluminium, in colours so bright you wonder if people will think you a pseud should you reach into your bag for your sunglasses (though they won't, of course: this is the Gagosian in downtown King's Cross we're talking about, whose staff are so self-consciously cool they don't even offer me - this morning, the gallery's sole visitor - a hello as I walk in the door).
I am glad I was not the only visitor that was treated like this. What I don't understand is why? when most galleries are so welcoming why does this one feel the need to be so aloof?
My wonderfully generous mother bought me both Manet books that have been on my wish list for ages, Manet is truly one of the best painters that ever lived in my opinion, both books are wonderful and both came via recommendations from other bloggers. Although I feature many contemporary painters on this blog I rarely celebrate the dead and so I may reference a few of my more covetable favourites soon, the ones I could never afford. My taste in painting I have noticed over the last 8 months of posting leans towards the abstract/brushstroke/colour school yet strangely I do not have any prints of my favourite artists work on my wall at home, preferring to buy real art instead. Yet as a child I grew up with prints my parents obtained of favourite pieces that were lovingly framed and hung, if my memory serves me correctly they included Van Gogh's starry night, Modigliani's Alice and a Utrillo, these artists are some of my favourites so I must have unconsciously absorbed their influence as a child. My mother however like me, prefers the real thing and now has a small collection of lovely paintings, my sister too collects, but part of me wonders whether or not I should mix it up with some "bigger" named prints. And so to Mr Craig Martin I have just purchased this book not because I covet his work although I wouldn't say no, but because he sits firmly in my camp of brilliant artists to teach with and this book is just perfect for that. I have used the influence of his style many times children really engage with his work and so are able to use his ideas to help kick start their own. Other brilliantly useful teaching artists include the obvious like Picasso, Hockney, O'Keefe and Khalo as well as movements like Pop Art and Impressionism so most of my books tend to focus on work related rather than pleasure. but its a fine line and not many people get to immerse themselves in something they enjoy all day. Its a shame that the students are not quite as enthusiastic as me!


materfamilias said...

wish i had time to respond better to this interesting post -- running out the door trying to polish up a lecture in my head! But I think this whole question about real art vs. prints such an interesting one, with the influence of snobbery or something playing a large role. Bit by bit, as we could afford it, we've bought the real thing, altho' fairly modestly. And bit by bit, we learned to feel sheepish about the prints we'd once framed and enjoyed and all but one, they've been given away or tucked away safely as mementoes. Yet they brought pleasure and art into our lives for a time. No time to analyse or reflect more -- got to dash, but thanks for raising the point.

Balhatain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Balhatain said...

(had a typo)

I interviewed Michael Craig-Martin a few months ago for You can find it on the list here