|Marlene Dumas' brilliant portraits of Phil Spector at the Frith Street Gallery|
Actually I was once offered a job in an art gallery out of the blue, by an author when I worked in London publishing. It came as a complete surprise and I just didn't have the nerve to make such a big change in my career at that point -- if I'd taken it I wonder what I'd be doing now? Probably not running a very small university press. I also once turned down a job 'running' the bit of Warner Bros record label that takes the UK acts round to all the overseas labels and tries to get them to promote the acts. This was just such a radically unbelievable offer (ooh, those were the days -- it was the Eighties and I was working for Virgin Books at the time) that I could hardly take it seriously. I imagined myself going in on the first day and all the proper music-business professionals taking one look at me and refusing to have anything to do with me. It was when the person offering me the job told me that another big part of it was accompanying the acts and getting them through airports on their way to promotional appearances that I said 'no thanks'. I've read enough rock-group biogs to know exactly how stressful that would have been. Unfortunately the job-offerer took offence at my saying no and that was the end of a beautiful Eighties friendship... I remember he had a little trampoline in his office.)
|Google search for Marlene Dumas|
I particularly like Dumas' work because she uses photographs and other images as sources for her own images and that's something I'm interested in exploring myself. Making an explicit link to Richter (who of course famously uses photographs as the basis for much of his work), she has done some paintings based on Richter's paintings of Gudrun Ennslin, of the Baader-Meinhof Gang -- Richter's paintings, in turn, were based on photos in newspapers.You can just see one of Dumas' paintings of Ennslin bottom-right in the screen grab above.
(As we left I saw all the galleristas sitting at banks of computers in the back room where I wonder if they have to do the posh equivalent of phone selling to try to shift the paintings?)
|Richter Google search|
There was a whole room devoted to the Baader-Meinhof paintings, which I thought was relatively brave of the gallery as these pictures have caused a lot of discomfort in the past, particularly in Germany. Personally I find them very moving and not at all political in a crude 'left/right' way.
|Roy Orbison by Wilhelm Sasnal|
|St Brelade's Bay|
I have been rambling on for far too long. Just to say that all three shows are still on, and they did make a good day out because of the resonances between all three.
Perhaps the best outcome of the day was that my son decided to use Richter as one of the artists whose style he will look at closely for his GCSE Art and he's going to try out Richter's 'squeegee' technique for one of his modules.