There is an exhibit in Punk 1976-78 which made me break out in (nostalgic) smiles. It is a T-shirt called You’re Gonna Wake Up One Morning And Know Which Side of the Bed You’ve Been Lying On, made by Malcolm McLaren. On one side it lists names of enemies of the punk state: Peregrine Worsthorne, John Betjeman, Bryan Ferry, Nicky Weymouth, Antonia Fraser, Rose and Anne Lambton. On the other side, it lists the names that have less offended: Christine Keeler, The Sex Pistols.
In 1929, the poet Brian Howard attempted a similar list, under headings “J’Accuse”, and “J’Adore”: Missionaries and Eligible Bachelors in one list; Jazz, Acrobats and DH Lawrence in the other.
Viv Albertine of legendary band The Slits has defaced one of the exhibits at Punk 1976-78 with a pen, writing “what about the women!!” on a poster that claimed only the Sex Pistols and the Clash were responsible for this “vital cultural legacy”.
At Found, at the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury, we see a covey of artists, from Tacita Dean to Gary Hume to Thomas Heatherwick. They examine how chance predicates our lives, using found objects, from a star-shaped reassortment of neon tubing by Fiona Banner to a study of the ordered geometry of playing card-back designs by Graeme Miller. Symbols of myriad possibilities, loss of money and gaming tables piled with oyster shells and doubloons emanate from the dog-eared playing cards.
Elsewhere, Dies Irae (God’s Wrath), the Catholic hymn, was played through 114 radios in a small, fusty, orange-lit room, the creation of Iain Forsyth and Jane Pollard, who take their cue from Kubrick’s opening sequence in The Shining.
At Somerset House, Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick was verily an antidote of a show: it grabbed you, shook the palsy of London out of you, and filled you with stimulus, dread and gratitude. Joanna Lumley (somehow) is featured in a film projected over four walls of a small, dark cubic room – all four projections are corridors; the sliding perspectives, with the sharply lit faces of other gawpers, and their sharply pencilled silhouettes, make for a giddying scene.
We also have Duro Olowu’s Making & Unmaking. A typically graceful, eye-catching show from the Camden Arts Centre, the curator has made a clever game of his hangings on the main wall of the central hall; arranging textiles, paintings and photographs in a mishmash, over a wallpaper of West African textiles.
At the Royal Academy, with David Hockney’s 82 Portraits and 1 Still-Life, we seem to see portraits of statesmen; aristocrats; the wielders of power – like the gallery of a stately home. This is David Hockney’s extended family, his dealers, his cleaners, his Lord Rothschilds.
Alex Katz’s Quick Light at the Serpentine has a canvas where we are lost in a black wood, with arbitrary lights glimmering in the distance that suggest something – the light of the hearth that brings us back to the icy pleasure of being lost.
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