Friday, 11 December 2009

If men had babies would there be wars?

Anish Kapoor's retrospective at the RA, which closes today, is making the news headlines because of its success, but I thought a load of red candle wax fired out of a canon didn't have the "emotional resonance" advertised. How could it? Kapoor's red was Christmas candle red and matched the RA shop's Christmas gift ideas. However, what do I know? The exhibition was jam-packed when I visited, with a lot of people going cor-wow.

For some emotional engagement, next door there is Wild Things, an exhibition of truly obsessed sculpting geniuses, Gill, Gaudier-Brzeska and Epstein. The show closes with the truly terrifying overpowering Rock Drill by Sir Jacob Epstein (1880 - 1959).

"...the astounding modern reconstruction of Epstein’s terrifying masterpiece Rock Drill of 1913-15, at once the first representation of a robot in art, and one of the first times a found object (a real rock drill) had been incorporated unchanged into any work of art. Those who first saw the statue were shocked by what looked to them like a big, aggressive phallic symbol. But as the Great War took its toll, it became impossible to see the towering mechanical creature as anything other than a symbol of death itself in an industrialised form. For now the robot and his tool looked like a machine gunner indiscriminately mowing down anything that crosses his path."

Look carefully at the torso, and you can see it appears to contain an unborn child.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Morrissey's Life Writing

I was in Tate Modern St Ives a few weeks ago and discovered some unpublished life writing by Morrissey tucked away in the book that accompanies the exhibition The Dark Monarch, Magic and Modernity in British Art. I thought it was pretty good. It's called The Bleak Moor Lies. Supposedly from his forthcoming autobiography.

I put it up on the Morrissey forums, and someone posted the whole story contravening copyright. I don't know why it's not published yet. Maybe a/ publishers won't pay Morrissey enough, or b/ publishers wanted the story of his bust ups/drugs to compete with Jordan/Ant and Dec, not really his kind of thing. Anyway, Saddleworth Moor is where Hindley and Brady hid their victims, and I think Morrissey's ghostly encounter is pretty well done.