Tag Archives: exhibitions

➤ Schama gives us a taste of the ambassador’s life

Travelling Light ,Whitechapel Gallery,Simon Schama ,video
➢ CLICK PIC TO VIEW BBC NEWS VIDEO of historian Simon Schama introducing his choice of travel paintings at the Whitechapel Gallery, and revealing his own Essex origins which he shares with artist Grayson Perry.

❚ TODAY WE CAN ALL SEE A HOST of paintings seldom available to the British public because they usually hang in our embassies and government buildings around the world. They are owned by the British government and all incoming ministers of state have the pick of this vast and impressive 100-year-old collection from which to decorate their offices. (The Blairs when in Downing Street lined the entrance corridor with lively Scottish colourists and the main public reception room showcased living stars of British art from Allen Jones to David Hockney. The Camerons have chosen endless routine landscapes and city views, several contemporary minimalist images by Susan Collins and David Austin, and among the few human beings, 19th-century prime minister Benjamin Disraeli, twice.)

Travelling Light is a selection made from the Government Art Collection by historian and broadcaster Simon Schama to explore ideas of travel. The show opens today at London’s Whitechapel Gallery. In commenting on his selection he said: “Travelling Light is all about setting off, trying to picture something, never quite catching it but in the process doing something beautiful.”

Highlights of the exhibition include an iconic portrait from 1814 of Romantic poet and intrepid traveller Lord Byron by Thomas Phillips (seen above), brought back specially for the display from the British ambassador’s residence in Athens, Greece. Schama waxes lyrical about the handsome young lord taking his gap year grand tour of Europe as a glamorising prequel to his life of madness and badness. He also loves the urge for adventure seen in Bloomsbury Group painter Vanessa Bell’s portrait of a Byzantine Lady (1912, also above) which is nominally the Byzantine empress Theodora, though Schama notes how it is also a striking self-portrait.

➢ Travelling Light is a display of GAC works of art selected by Simon Schama, running at the Whitechapel Gallery, Dec 16–Feb 26 (closed Mondays, free)

➢ The UK Government Art Collection is based in central London — free tours can be arranged by appointment

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➤ Meet Smith & Sullivan, the wags behind the story of the heroic 80s

Wag telling tales: Sullivan in full flow at an earlier photography show by Smith, right. Photograph by Shapersofthe80s

Update Nov 22:

➢ Although the first edition of We Can be Heroes has sold out, a special cloth-bound edition is now on sale for £35, plus a Deluxe edition for £350, at the Unbound Publishing website

❚ HERE’S AN IRRESISTIBLE PARTY INVITATION. As their fund-raising barometer hits 60% of target, the authors of We Can Be Heroes, a ribald account of Britain in the 80s, announce another soirée
 to raise public awareness. Their nightlife peers changed the face of the UK club scene which created dozens of new bands, artists and designers. Born with the mutant party-animal gene, Graham Smith & Chris Sullivan are taking over Robert Pereno’s new Society Club in Soho for two reasons: to show off Graham’s stylish clubland photos, which will be selling there until Christmas; but chiefly to win over buyers who are dithering over investing £30 in their huge coffee-table book that is garnished with tall stories from Sullivan as well as 100 other club-world collaborators.

Come along next Friday to meet them over a drink and to hear the garrulous Welshman Sullivan “in conversation with eminent journalist Michael Holden” — in other words, talking hind legs off donkeys. Orders for the book can be placed only online at Unbound Publishing (where Graham has an explanatory video) so they won’t be prising your wallet open on the spot. Inevitably, a further high point of the evening will be a free-entry after-party where Sullivan will be deejaying classic club tunes from 1976-84 half a mile away at The Aviary Bar.

We Can Be Heroes, Graham Smith, Chris Sullivan, Unbound Publishing,photography,As of today there are only 16 days left to buy your prestige 
limited first-edition of We Can Be Heroes (there won’t be a second edition unless they reach 100% on the first) and you get your name printed in it. You’ll be within the same hard covers as starry contributors such as Robert Elms, Boy George, Gary Kemp and Steve Strange. The clock is ticking because of the new “crowd-sourcing” technique to raise funds. This is being pioneered in books by Unbound, a new offshoot of Faber, whose authors include Python Terry Jones, cultural taste-maker Jonathan Meades, and creator of TV’s This Life series, Amy Jenkins.

One of the reasons fund-raising has been a slow burn for S&S is that, uniquely on the Unbound list, We Can Be Heroes is the only photo-book, requiring quality paper and classy printing. Sullivan says: “Ours needed six times as many pledges as the other text-only titles.”

Smith says: “Dig out your espadrilles and book yourself a baby sitter now!”

➢ Exhibition and talk, Friday Nov 4 … 7–10pm at The Society Club, 12 Ingestre Place, W1F OJF … and afterwards 10–3am at The Aviary Bar, 17 Little Portland Street, W1W 
8BW … Graham Smith’s photos remain in exhibition and on sale here until Christmas

➢ Skimmable list of media coverage of We Can Be Heroes so far

We Can Be Heroes, Graham Smith, Chris Sullivan, Robert Pereno, Society Club , Soho ,books,Unbound Publishing,photography, exhibition,afterparty, Aviary Bar, Robert Elms, Boy George, Gary Kemp ,Steve Strange, Blitz Kids,Wag club,

Smith & Sullivan’s invitation to a party: click to enlarge

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2011 ➤ Leee Childers interviewed: risqué tales of Warhol, glitter and Iggy’s best feature

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❚ LAST NIGHT BRITISH PARTY PROMOTER Chris Sullivan sat in a new London gallery cafe to ask Leee Black Childers about his formative years leaving Kentucky for New York City and getting drawn into Andy Warhol’s Factory crowd of the late 60s and 70s. For more than an hour at The Society Club in Soho, Childers confessed all about his formative years when Warhol encouraged him to “say” he was a photographer, after which he snapped many informal early pix of David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, New York Dolls, Patti Smith, Jayne County. All the photographs on display are on sale for the next week.

Our two videos catch a few ribald moments verbatim. Other landmarks included Danny Fields and Andy Warhol taking him to see this “terrific new band”. Using the camera his brother had given him on his 17th birthday, Leee produced sensational pix of the young misfit Iggy Pop at the Stooges’ first New York concert. Leee lived for a year with Iggy. “You should know that he had a really great mind. He would talk about Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, and kept me awake talking about philosophy all night. He was also a very kind person and had one of the best penises I’ve seen.”

Lee attributes the birth of the glitter phenomenon in 1970 to Theatre of the Ridiculous director John Vaccaro’s production of Heaven Grand in Amber Orbit which was set in a circus, to which he brought “giant, huge barrels of glitter and he said, Put it everywhere, and everyone onstage was covered in glitter”.

Linda Clark, Leee, Nancy Spungen, Sid Vicious, Dee Dee Ramone. (Photo by Danny Fields)

In 1971 Leee visited London when Andy Warhol’s ground-breaking show Pork took over the Roundhouse with nude scenes that revelled in the recent abolition of theatre censorship in the UK. During this trip he met David Bowie performing at the Country Cousins nightspot in Fulham: “I’d never heard of him but I went because they said he wore a dress, but he wasn’t wearing a dress. We also met Angie Bowie who was not wearing a dress either. That show was pretty lame.” Yet when Bowie later came to play in New York, Leee was asked to be the vice-president of his US company. He subsequently travelled with Bowie through Russia in 1973 and was tour manager for Johnny Thunders and The Heartbreakers when they supported the Sex Pistols on their 1976 Anarchy tour across the UK.

Leee hung out with the Sex Pistols in both London and New York. Asked from the floor “Who killed Nancy?”, Leee replied: “Nancy killed Nancy. She created the situation where it was impossible to go on” — referring to her fractious relationship with Sid Vicious. Though Vicious was charged with her murder in 1978, Leee says: “We all know it was not Sid.”

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➢ Last week’s report: Leee Childers brings his slice of 70s New York to London

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