Thames and Hudson kindly sent me In My view 'Personal Reflections on Art by Today's Leading Artists' Edited by Simon Grant. Artists on art are often more illuminating than the art critics and commenters themselves, (myself included,) and this book is no exception, however it lacks consistency. Some of the artists selected for this book are just too obscure, and in turn, their choices of art and artists are shrouded in obscurity too. Nonetheless its pages shed light on some emerging Chinese artists like Yang Fudong and Zhang Xiaogang but Erwin Wurm and his choice of Poul Gernes's dated pop art hospital decor does not quite fit the criteria; who on earth are they? Frequently the book omits to reproduce the work of the 'leading artists'; Juliao Saramento and Dan Graham for example, which is a shame.
This book could have done with a little more judicious editing from the capable and erudite Simon Grant, editor of the Tate etc and co editor of Picpus, a recondite pocket art gazette. However In My View comes into its own with Rachel Whiteread's musings on Piero della Francesca, Mark Wallinger's witticisms on Velazquez's Triumph of Bacchus, Bill Viola looking at Giovanni Bellini's Death of Christ and Hirosige Sugimoto being seduced by the vulpine eyes of a Young Lady by the Northern Renaissance painter, Petrus Christus.
There are astonishing revelations; who would have thought that Ed Ruscha, a master of mundanity loves Millais' Ophelia and that Victor Hugo painted? A Hugo sepia ink of an octopus was found by Raymond Pettibon; (again no reproduction of Pettibon's work).
Miroslav Balka's must-have Rondanini Pieta by Michelangelo is described as 'probably the last work Michelangelo made before he died, which may explain why it looks.' unfinished'. However Michelangelo got less satisfied with perfection as he got older and probably deliberately left the Pieta, and other sculptures like the Deposition and some slaves unfinished.
Candida Hofer's white desk in a white room juxtaposed with Mies Van de Rohe's gallery in Berlin; is a bit dull; as Van de Rohe said 'less is more' and Venturi's riposte was' less is a bore'. My favourite spread is Thomas Demand's demolished room alongside the Battle of San Romano, by Paolo Ucello, while Spartacus Chetwynd's sculpture, inspired by the fantastical park of monsters of Bomarzo, an Italian 16th century theme park carved in stone, should have been on the dust jacket . Thats enuff 'cultshar' .
Yuletide is blowing up a blizzard of mess and chaos indoors, due partly to the making of decorations with yards of paper chains, and when we ran out of gold and silver paper, we introduced strips of old numbers of the TLS. There is a fall out of glitter and glue stuck to most surfaces including my nose. While my father, the professor is also in residence and there is a vast accumulation of reading matter; ziggurats of learned tomes, drifts of newspapers everywhere and lots more wet ones forming an impasto on damp towels in the bathroom.
The professor reads voraciously from dawn til dusk and well beyond midnight; every waking moment really, bar when he is not at exhibitions or at dinner parties. Never mind a search engine; we don't need one, we have our very own walking wikipedia.
The 'prof' does not have much domestic know how though, he empties the rubbish out onto the kitchen steps into an imaginary bin, (the old one went because it was caked in pidgeon pooh), leaving a trail of coffee grains and honey across the kitchen. However a new wizard cleaning gizmo has come to the rescue, the Karcher steam cleaner, which zaps up filth with a steaming hot sponge and no cleaning chemicals are needed....magic.
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