Picture(s) of the Day – Popart at Barbican

It has a been a busy month at SF towers, and by that we mean alcohol, food, Christmas jumpers, snow, late nights and a lack of time to update. That and the two bust laptops that broke in the space in 24 hours.

In other news SF dropped by the Popart exhibition at the Barbican. Some great stuff there but nothing mind blowing, the best bits you will see below. If we are totally honest it was £12 for a whole bunch of nice things to look at but the narrative was a bit weak. It was a shame because the Barbican is one of the best Galleries in London with some brilliant exhibitions and events.

Oyvind Fahlstrom

Oyvind Fahlstrom

Something a little kinky?

Allen Jones

Allen Jones

Slick and angelic cowboy

Jann Howarth

Jann Howarth



Godfather of all Modern Art

Chess Master

Chess Master

There was this chap, a rather fascinating chap, one who has left an indelible mark on the world, one who it is argued shaped the world of art as it is known today. He involved in surrealism and was integral to the dadaist movement. What is also argued is that he had a hand in the creation of Pop Art and that there would be now Hirst (a bad thing?) or Tracey Emin without him. He also had a hand in Jackson Pollock the poster boy for 20th century abstract expressionism by encouraging Peggy Guggenheim to commission the artist to create something in her home (it took 6 months but was worth it). One thing for certain is that the hugely influential Ai Weiwie is a massive fan of the man that they called Marcel Duchamp.

At the Barbican at the moment there is a whole program of interesting Duchamp ditties and the one that drew SF was the Cabaret Duchamp. The only way to describe it without writing and essay would be quaintly-fucked-up-innocent-devious-brilliance.

Opening with host Will Gompertz getting two people on stage from the crowd to perform, who in turn picked out a poor fellow in the crowd who sang a Toy Dolls hit about a vicar cock-blocking (quite apt of the day that the world saw another creepy Pope chosen) then the main attraction.

Then…. an interesting spoken word turn by Stewart Lee, accompanied by a unplanned racket from two accomplices. Margaret Leng Tan performing on a miniature piano, a mesmerising and amusing turn by Martin Creed who coupled the guitar, harmonica, piano, ballet and a penis going from flaccid to turgid and back again in perfect timing as the crowd cooed and gasped with shock and delight.

The final act was Dog Kennel Hill Project who sang, danced, chanted and then perfectly summed up the thoughts of the crowd in a repetitive piece quote the crowds potential thoughts or maybe the reviews of critics.

The original... not the one on Old Street

The original… not the one on Old Street

How is this Duchamp? Well Duchamp was the man who said that anything could be art and that art did not have to be beautiful, the man who entered a toilet into a New York exhibition as art. Anything can be art and be interesting and this certainly was.

Everything was moving, just too slowly

NYC - nothing like the deep south

NYC – nothing like the deep south

Twelve brilliant photographers from across the globe in one place, the Barbican Centre London. Everything Was Moving covers thought provoking, amusing, dark, and difficult subjects in colour and black and white and using a variety of methods which were revolutionary back in the day. These days any Thomas, Richard or Harold can use an app to put an effect on a shot an make it look good, but not even close to these original shots using good old fashioned cameras with film.

Arse peacock

Arse peacock

With Apartheid graphically explained by Ernest Cole and David Goldblatt to Bruce Davidson and William Eggleston documenting the Civil Rights movement that shook up the USA in the middle of last century. Added to this Vietnam pictures, shots with Chairman Mau, Mexican black and white pictures and an Asian flavour with Raghubir Singh.

GoldBlatt - Size of the problem

GoldBlatt – Size of the problem

The most powerful shots for me were of the South African Apartheid from David Goldblatt, showing the European’s rather short sighted view of the black people in Soweto and Joberg. It was quite astounding what went on in South Africa when you consider the Worldwide outrage at Nazi Germany, although not as extreme in the results, quite as wrong in the thinking and affect it had on the people, the perception of all involved and the effects to this day.

Goldblatt - Looking for a solution

Goldblatt – Looking for a solution

All shots were accompanied with text to give added depth but the facial expressions told a thousand stories. From the deluded white settlers to the strong proud mine workers of Soweto.

Boris Mikhailov - Exposure overlays

Boris Mikhailov – Exposure overlays

Plus this dude looks pretty amazing….

Eggleston - capturing something very American

Eggleston – capturing something very American

On until January 13th, a top SF pick.

Michael Clark – New Work 2012 – We’re converted….

Michael Clark. That is all

On Wednesday night SF had a treat, the closest we had been to dance was Saturday Night aged 13, throwing shapes in some dive club somewhere in Europe or Starlight Express. Now all of these have their merits but after seeing the truly mesmerising New Work 2012 by Michael Clark, a frustrated dancer has emerged.

Rhythmic blues

New Work 2012 is currently at The Barbican in EC London, and comprises of two 25 minutes pieces, the first a piece set to atmospheric music by Scritti Politti which was the sound track to a ballet come contemporary display of strength, poise and rhythmic dance. Four lean as feck male dancers and four supple female dancers moving together and against one another.

Orange wall of sound

The second act saw the dancers dressed in beyond skin tight lycra that luckily left nothing to the imagination, their lythe bodies springing across the stage as huge words shot across the black background, a wall of sound literally beating off the stage as the dancers shot across performing in pairs, threes, fours and all in unison to weave shapes on the stage.

Perfect balance

The wall of sound is interspersed by strange dark noises, which it emerges is none other than Jarvis Cocker of Pulp fame. Halfway through the performance, emerging from the shadows comes a 70’s glam rock rockstar come Worzel Gummidge. Suddenly the event is transformed into a creepy Electro rock show as Cocker prances and curls around the stage while the dancers perform to the high energy and rather filthy sounds. Cocker’s new band Relaxed Muscle pound out the sound track to an ever more charged performance, he even leaves the stage in true rock god fashion to greet the crowd… only this time handing out sweets. Odd and amazing

Never seen anything like it but now a confirmed dance fan, throughout the show Clark makes the odd appearance and add the end the 15 or so bows to rapturous applause were probably worth it.