Author Archives: markmcleod50

Rashid Johnson at the High

This past weekend we were able to go down to the High Museum in Atlanta to see not only Vermeer’s “Girl with the Pearl Earring” but also Rashid Johnson’s work. I was most interested in Johnson’s work after seeing an Art 21 video on his studio practice.

From the High Museum website:

Message to Our Folks is New York-based artist Rashid Johnson’s first major solo museum exhibition. Titled after a 1969 album by avant-garde jazz collective Art Ensemble of Chicago, the exhibition examines how Johnson’s work has developed over the first fourteen years of his career. Johnson (American, b. 1977) deftly works with several different media exploring the physicality of his materials to investigate the construction of identity and abstraction, both visual and conceptual. Many of Johnson’s materials refer to his childhood in Chicago during the 1970s and 80s, suggesting both personal and broader cultural connections.

While Johnson’s works are grounded in a dialogue with modern and contemporary art history, specifically abstraction and appropriation, they also give voice to an Afro-futurist narrative – an approach that combines history, science fiction, magical realism, and non-Western theories of the origins of the universe. Throughout the artwork on view, Johnson explores the work of black intellectual and cultural figures as a way to understand his role as an artist as well as the shifting nature of identity and the individual’s role in that shift. By bringing attention to difference and individuality, he attempts to deconstruct false notions of a singular black American identity.



Black clouds in a blue sky.

Sculptural Narratives at Cazenovia College Art Gallery

Everything Begins with a Story – sculpture exhibition opens Oct. 11

The Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall will host a group exhibition of sculptural narratives: Everything Begins with a Story, Oct. 11 through Nov. 2. An opening reception and Artists’ Lecture are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 11, 4– 5:30 p.m., in the gallery.Jen Pepper, director of the Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall, says, “considering the numerous disciplines our gallery hosts – photography, video, design, various studio arts – curating this particular exhibition was exciting from the get go. This show’s selection in particular, brings together sculptors who tell incredibly imaginative and surreal narratives in three-dimensional materials, allowing for us to walk within the constructed worlds and fall down the rabbit hole, so to speak, as Alice did in Lewis Carroll’s written adventure.”The artists include ceramicist Roxanne Jackson; sculptor Mark McLeod; sculptor Lindsay J. Palmer; and ceramicist Errol Willett.  (See below for more on each artist.)Beginning in October in the Sculpture Court, international exhibiting sculptor, Rob Licht will be on site for ten days working with students on a site-specific work titled “Domestic Landscape.” Exhibition continues through Oct. 23, 2013. Visit for further information on Licht’s previous works.

The Cazenovia College Art Gallery in Reisman Hall, 6 Sullivan St., is on the corner of Sullivan and Seminary streets in Cazenovia. Hours during the academic year are: Monday through Thursday, 1-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m.; Friday, 1-4 p.m.; and Saturday and Sunday, 2-6 p.m. Summer hours vary. Exhibitions and receptions are free and open to the public. The gallery is handicapped accessible.

For information contact Jen Pepper, gallery director, by e-mail to Information is also on the Web

About the artists:

Roxanne Jackson ( is an assistant professor of ceramics at the State University of New York, Oswego. She has been a resident artist at the Pottery Workshop in Jingdezhen, China; the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska; the Ceramic Center of Berlin (Germany); and the Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland, Oregon.

Jackson has recently shown her work at Socrates Sculpture Park in Long Island City, and the Brooklyn Artist Gym in New York. She has also shown work internationally in London; Berlin; Chicago and various cities in Romania. Solo exhibitions include venues such as Thomas Hunter Project Space in New York; Dubhe Carreno Gallery in Chicago; The Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Artcite Incorporated Gallery in Windsor, Ontario; Gallery Homeland of Portland, Oregon and more. Jackson’s work has been acclaimed in publications such as O.K. PeriodicalsCeramics Monthly, Beautiful/Decay, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer and many others. She has been the recipient of grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Jerome Foundation, Kansas City Artist Coalition, Oregon Arts Commission, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Regional Arts and Culture Council and more.

In her artist’s statement she leads with a quote from Carl Jung: “A gentle and reasonable being can be transformed into a maniac or a savage beast. One is always inclined to lay the blame on external circumstances, but nothing could explode in us if it had not been there.”

She continues, “I explore images of extinction, death and transformation. I am fascinated with the natural processes of decay and destruction—particularly when in conflict with human systems. Nature is referenced, not by depicting the virile stag, but by illustrating its inevitable decay. Valuing macabre sensibilities, I create sculptures that cross over the slippery edge of life into what might lie beyond…

…Occasionally, I use imagery from horror films and the moment of transformation—particularly, when a human becomes a beast. This transgressive imagery creates tension in the work, especially when produced from the medium of clay—with its strong historical ties to comfort and beauty. Rooted in traditions of pantheism and superstition, the horror movie depicts a dark side of human nature. Mutated creatures, such as the ravenous werewolf, are created in the murky depths of our collective subconscious. These images ride the boundaries between animal and human, instinct and reason, the conscious and the subconscious.”

Mark McLeod ( is a sculptor based in theatrics currently living and working in Chattanooga, Tenn. He is assistant professor of art and gallery director at Cleveland State Community College, in Cleveland, Tenn. He’s been in numerous exhibitions and has organized on-campus artist residencies for the past five years. Most of his work deals with issues of memory, with some forays into the economy and masculinity.  He earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Syracuse University a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Winthrop University, Rock Hill, S.C.

Of his work, he writes, “These works document a beautiful moment that now only exists as a disjointed memory, shifting from fact to fiction in an unbridled narrative. The glass domes exist as “curtains” which memories have found comfort in hiding behind. These containers serve to protect the memories that we hold most dear, the ones that we want to remember as they actually happened.  Unfortunately, with each remembrance, we edit these past events, focusing on the good (or the bad) to create a new reality, a false reality.

“To actually view what is hidden would simultaneously bring to life and condemn to death that moment. By not allowing oneself to revisit the memory the event exists in this perpetual state of unchange. Whether these moments are found through faith, the bodies of others or the inventions of man, these moments of past events, of nostalgia, are the source of our longing.”

Lindsay J. Palmer ( works as a member of the Austin Green Art Creative Team Collaborative, and also teaches with Theatre Action Project, a non-profit with the goal of using arts and theatre education for social change. She focuses her work

primarily on the political impact of using one’s imagination. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in sculpture from Texas Tech University, and her Master of Fine Arts degree, also in sculpture, from the University of Colorado in Boulder.  Her work has been shown across the country and internationally, at galleries such as Museo De Las Americas in Denver, Colo.; The Harwood Art Center in Albuquerque, N.M.; and The Ice Box Gallery in Skagastrond, Iceland.

Palmer writes of her work, “I see gender and identity as another organizational structure that is constantly evolving. The way we structure our understanding of our world is surprisingly similar to the way we have structured our understanding of ourselves. The configuration of maps, for example, mirrors the way that we have divided up our human bodies. The process of understanding is the main function of maps. Much as gender does to the human body, contemporary maps have taken what for centuries humans were only able to speculate over, and turned it into an easily accessible grid of knowable symbols and signifiers. This grid becomes sedimented into experience, assumed to be a map of reality rather than an arbitrary representation.”

Errol Willett ( is a member of the ceramics faculty at Syracuse University’s School of Art and Design and has lived in Fabius, New York since 1999. He served as chair of Syracuse University’s Department of Art from 2009-2012. He has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Penn State University and did his undergraduate studies in art at Colorado University-Boulder, Skidmore College and the University of Regensburg, Germany. He was a resident artist at the Anderson Ranch Art Center, Aspen, Colorado; the Peters Valley Craft Center in New Jersey; and the Banff Centre in

Canada.  Recent projects include the permanent installation, “Overlooked Information. The Carbon Espalier,” at the iSchool, Hinds Hall, Syracuse University; the exhibition “Affinity,” at the Incheon World Ceramic Centre, Incheon, Korea; “30 Teapots,” at the Baltimore Clayworks Gallery, Baltimore, Maryland; and the installation “Staying on Good Terms with Nature,” Everson Biennial, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, NY . Recent studio work has looked at the hubris of our instinct to control and organize nature; at Islamic patterns, Chinese grain baskets, hollowed-out wood bowls and glazes made from wood-ash.

Willett writes of his work, “My forms are often inspired by the parallel concerns of architecture and craft. Architecture often deals with inside/outside relationships, marrying the architect’s sculptural ideas with his/her concern for context and utility. The Egyptian pyramids and the earlier Ziggurat temples from the ancient near east are examples of this interplay between form and use. They also exhibit incredible creativity within the limitations of available, local materials.…

“…I am looking at modern architecture and also at the confusion in modern atomic physics over waves and particles – seemingly unrelated. Formerly, all life forms were broken down in physics to either waves or particles and behaved accordingly. Now at the atomic level scientists find basic life forms behave as both wave and particle simultaneously; matter which appears to be in motion and at rest. These discoveries in physics show the fundamental structure of life as many things simultaneously…”

Mark McLeod makes art that supersedes the visual

from the Chattanooga Times Free Press by Holly Leber

The aesthetic of art is often the least of Mark McLeod’s concerns.

It’s all about the perception, the anticipation, the creation.

McLeod, who teaches at Cleveland State Community College and holds a master’s degree from Syracuse University, likes to create works that deal with memory — and more importantly, the protection of memory.

“If you acknowledge the event, you destroy the experience,” he said. “So by covering those objects up, or covering up parts of that memory, you kind of protect them.”

This philosophy comes into play in his series Beautiful Things, part of which is on display in the Association for Visual Arts gallery. The series includes bell jars, which have been spray-painted deep colors, and canvases that have been faced toward the wall.

The question, then, becomes: Is there anything under the jar? What? Is there anything on the canvas? What?

And, most importantly, does it matter?

“Did it matter if I did anything on the canvases or put anything underneath the bell jar?” mused McLeod. “The more I think about it, I think the answer is no. In the long run, the title sums it up — it’s about these events in our lives we hold near and true, and we don’t talk about them because it would destroy them.”

At some point, he said, he puts an object beneath the jar and later removes it.

“The temptation is to look, but once you look, you destroy those moments where you’re hesitant.”

McLeod made reference to one of his favorite works, “Erased de Kooning Drawing.” A drawing by artist Willem de Kooning was gifted to, and then erased by, artist Robert Rauschenberg in 1953. The work hangs in the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

“You have the question, what’s the drawing,” McLeod said. “Is it the erased part or the (original) one he destroyed?”

In other words, perhaps, art is more than meets the eyes. The creation and intention supersedes the result.

“My students look at Jackson Pollack and say, ‘I could do that,’ and of course they probably could, but it’s more about he’s reacting to his environment at the time that the average person may not know.”

He’s made pieces, he said, strictly for the aesthetic — “Hey, this just looks neat.”

“I don’t feel as emotionally connected to those as pieces that have an embedded story behind them or there’s a gut feeling as to why I made them,” he said. “They look interesting to me, and I have hundreds of them in my studio. But I just can’t figure out where to go with those.”

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present

Marina Abramovic’s 2010 show The Artist Is Present: ‘How, asks the documentary, was this art?’

In one of those odd-seeming consequences cinema nevertheless regularly turns up, Willem Dafoe narrated a piece called The Life and Death of Marina Abramovic, premiering in Manchester last year. While he stars on screen in The Hunter this week, she is now the subject of an excellent documentary about the staging of her own retrospective show,The Artist Is Present, at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2010.

Matthew Akers‘s fascinating film ponders not only the nature and validity of performance art but paints a somewhat hagiographic portrait of Abramovic as the movement’s “grandmother”. Charismatic and beautiful at 64, the daughter of two national heroes of General Tito’s Yugoslavia, Marina began her career in 1970s Belgrade – where many considered her insane – and continued when she met Ulay, another performance artist, in Amsterdam. The pair began a series now dubbed The Relation Works, examining the pain, power and physicality of love and coexistence. “I fell in love with her when I saw her cut a pentagram in her stomach with a razor blade,” recalls Ulay.For that show, she sat for seven and half hours, every day, for three months, on a chair, without food or water, gazing into the eyes, expressionless, of audience members and visitors who sat opposite her, gazing back. It was a staring contest of the sort kids do in the playground, but performed with utter seriousness and solemnity in one of the world’s great galleries. How, asks the documentary, was this art?

If their affair were ever made into a movie, Marina would be played byAnjelica Huston and Ulay by Jeremy Irons. “Theirs is one of the world’s great love stories,” opines the very cool, eloquent and English-bornWhitney Museum curator Chrissie Iles; and this documentary certainly probes that part of Abramovic’s life with great thoroughness, even engineering a reunion between the pair.

It is just one of many great scenes in an exhilarating, elegantly executed film that holds a mirror up to the art world, its protagonists and its devotees, forcing us to question the whole circus.

Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present – review | Film | The Observer.

Rachel Whiteread: ‘I couldn’t say no. It felt right to do this one’

When the social historians come to write the story of how east Londonchanged so dramatically between the years 1985 and 2015, it will surely be the artists that they quiz first: the frontiersmen and women who watched the process of “improvement” and gentrification from the smeary windows of their wondrously cheap studios in abandoned offices and disused factories. Rachel Whiteread first pitched up in Dalston some time in the late 80s, when she was a postgraduate student at the Slade School of Art: she shared a flat above a fried chicken shop on Kingsland Road with four other girls. “I remember calling my mum from a phone box outside,” she says, her voice on the edge of laughter, as it often seems to be. “There was blood all over it. I thought: ‘Oh my God, where have I moved to?'” When she heard her mother, down the line from Muswell Hill, she might as well have been speaking to her from the surface of the moon. “But I said: ‘Yeah, it’s great, mum. It’s brilliant… it’s… fine.'”

And it was fine – so fine, in fact, that she never left (she still lives only a mile away, with her partner, the sculptor Marcus Taylor, and their two young sons, in a converted synagogue in Shoreditch). “It was quite heavy. It was all Yardie gangs then, and you’d go to a nightclub in some dodgy basement, and everyone would be standing around with guns. But it was interesting, too. The different cultures; the rough with the smooth. I’ve always liked that.” After her degree, she looked for a studio. Lots of artists had places out in Hackney Wick, but she found a space in Carpenters Road in Stratford – formerly known by locals as Pong Alley, on account of its many factories. “There were a few of us: Grayson Perry, Fiona Banner, Fiona Rae, Simon English. It was a sort of silent club: if you could survive Carpenters Road, you could survive anywhere. It was the Badlands. Hackney Wick was really posh compared to us.” She once made the mistake of leaving her bike chained up outside a pub. By the time she returned to it, only the frame remained, as pitiful and useless as a single shoe.

Does she mind that this world, spectral and edgy, has now pretty much disappeared? Carpenters Road has been all but erased by the Olympic Aquatic Centre. “I’m not sure. It was a hinterland that couldn’t really exist in a city that’s constantly expanding. I found those places fascinating because I’m very interested in industrial archaeology. There was an old fur factory at the back of the studio. We’d break in, and come out with these weird pelts. It was really quite extraordinary. But it was toxic land, and now, hopefully, there are some facilities that will be used. I mean, they’ve spent millions on Victoria Park [London’s oldest public park, which lies between Hackney and Mile End], and it’s just fantastic.” I can’t help but wonder, though, where on earth young artists work now? She makes a face. “I’ve heard… [she lowers her voice a little] that they’re all down in Deptford.”

Did the landscape of the east feed into her art? She thinks it did. “My early work – the mattresses and the hot water bottles and the things that leaned against walls – that all came from looking inside myself, but also from seeing stuff in the street. I was forever watching people try to stuff old mattresses into bins. There were a lot of second-hand shops, and they were my treasure troves and my sketch books. I’d buy tons of stuff, put it on the roof of my car, and try to work out what to do with it all later.” And of course, Hackney’s derelict buildings worked a strange magic on her, too. In 1990, she made Ghost, a cast of a deserted room, hollows for doorknobs and all (Ghost, which at one time belonged to Charles Saatchi, is now part of the collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC); and in 1993, the year she won the Turner prize, there was House, for which she cast the interior of an entire Victorian terrace, the soon-to-be-demolished 193 Grove Road (it stood in Mile End Park until the local council made the baffling decision to destroy it).

House – Rachel WhitereadRachel Whiteread’s House (1993), the cast of the interior of an entire Victorian terrace, the soon-to-be-demolished 193 Grove Road. Photograph: Rex Features/Jon Bradley

It’s fitting, then, that Whiteread has now reciprocated by putting something back. She and I are sitting in a small dining room at the Whitechapel art gallery, where one of the major commissions of theLondon 2012 festival has recently been unveiled: a frieze created by Whiteread for its facade (Walter Crane had a plan for a mosaic for the gallery’s main entrance in 1899, but this was deemed to be too expensive, and it was never executed; she filled the space intended for Crane’s design). What’s it like? Well, there are gloriously delicate clusters of gilded leaves, which bring instantly to mind – once you’ve struggled to the other side of the choked Whitechapel Road for the best view – the art nouveau Secession Building in Vienna, with its extraordinary filigree dome (and also, perhaps, the cheap jewellery you can buy along the way in Whitechapel market). But there are also four terracotta reliefs cast from the gallery windows, faintly pink, but terribly stark. It’s almost if the piece were the work of two artists: Whiteread, in her jeans and boots, and some other Klimt-loving fellow, in velvet and silk.

What was she thinking? “Well, I did spend a lot of time in Vienna [when she was working on her Holocaust memorial], and the Secession was always a beacon in all my misery. That was one of the postcards on my wall. But I was also thinking about the Arts and Crafts moment. I was thinking about the street. I was thinking about Hackney weed [aka buddleia], which pops out of buildings all over the place.” The eureka moment, though, came when she went up to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral with a camera. “I was trying to find somewhere where the old and the new worked together, and I was thinking about what it is that really makes something a presence among all the greyness – and that turned out to be gold leaf.” Another laugh. “I’m really happy with it. I had a few cross moments. A project like this takes four years. All the bloody meetings. I would start stamping my feet because you can’t make a good publicsculpture from meetings. But English Heritage are pleased now, and it looks how I thought it would look. I’m just waiting for the first blue plastic bag to get attached to it…”

Rachel Whiteread frieze at Whitechapel galleryLondon’s Whitechapel art gallery, showing Rachel Whiteread’s new golden frieze. Photograph: Gavin Jackson/arcaid/Courtesy Jason Bruges Studio

Are these big public commissions – the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial;Plinth, which stood on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square – intimidating, or is she used to this way of working by now? “I’m certainly not used to it!” She’s indignant at the thought. “I could have made a whole lot more outdoor work, but it’s not something I gravitate towards. I prefer being in my studio quietly getting on with it. But if there’s something you can’t say no to, even though you know it will be a real pain in the arse, it’s a calling. It felt right to do this one. The Whitechapel was such an important museum for me; I saw so many fantastic shows here when I was younger, things that changed my world.” Unlike certain of her contemporaries, Whiteread is, I think, no stranger to gratitude. Fantastically amiable, modest, and unshowy, there is something gallant about her, too, as though, deep inside, she is always braced for adversity. And it’s certainly true that the surprise of her career – the simple fact that she is able to make a living at all – has never left her. “I’m incredibly lucky,” she says, now. “I often think that. To do what I love, and be paid for it.”

Rachel Whiteread was born in Ilford in 1963. She spent her early childhood in Doddinghurst, in rural(ish) Essex, and her teenage years in Muswell Hill, north London. Her father, who died shortly before her first show, was a teacher turned polytechnic administrator, and her mother was an artist (she has two sisters, who are twins). Her mother, who died in 2005, was a powerful influence. “Her generation did all the schlep work so people like me could do what we do,” she says. “She never made a penny out of what she did, but she made art for 35 years. Just being in her studio, watching her work, that was enough. We’re very different artists, but she was always passionate, and quite political. She was a feminist in the 70s. She put together this exhibition at the ICA, Women’s Images of Men. The work for it was all selected from our basement in Muswell Hill, and I got to make the coffee and listen.

“But it wasn’t so much her feminism that affected me, as her balls. They didn’t have much money, yet she just got on with it.” Is she surprised women haven’t progressed more in the years since? “I’ve always seen myself as an artist, rather than as a female artist. On the other hand, only two and a half women have represented Britain at the Venice Biennale: me, Tracey [Emin] and, a long time ago, Bridget Riley [in 1968, Britain was represented by Riley and Francis Bacon, hence Whiteread’s use of the word “half”]. That’s quite unbelievable.” How does she account for it? “I don’t really know what to say about it. I’m not the person who makes those decisions.”

Whiteread knew she wanted to be an artist as a sixth-former. “I dropped everything else. I was quite obsessed. I was taken over by the idea of making things.” She went to Brighton Polytechnic to do her degree, and she was soon on a roll. “There was a room you could book out for a week, and I went into it with 12 sheets of black paper and a pair of scissors. I knew I was going to make something, but I had no idea what. I set myself lots of tasks like that.” She fell into the furrow she has ploughed for most of her career thus far – the idea of negative space, of sculpting the gaps in between things, of making the air solid – early on, too. Richard Wilson, the artist, used to drive down to Brighton in a kind of mobile foundry, in which, on his arrival, he would teach his students. “They were real fire and brimstone workshops,” says Whiteread. “I made all these sandcasts. I pressed spoons into them, and then I poured in lead or aluminium – and you had a spoon, only it was filled up. I thought: wow! A spoon that has lost its spoon-ness.” Casting the inside of a wardrobe –Closet (1988) – or the spaces beneath the seats of chairs – Untitled: One Hundred Spaces (1997) – was a huge leap in technical terms. But the idea was essentially the same.

To those who accuse her of repetition, Whiteread says: “Everyone repeats themselves. Robert Ryman has been making the same painting for 70 years. I like to explore something in depth. Over the years, I’ve cast lots of spaces, but the work has also been to do with materials and colour and translucency and depth.” As for the scale of her work, it is mostly dictated by the forms of the things on which any given sculpture is based; she certainly isn’t trying to make a statement, macho or otherwise. “I’m not scared by scale. I just make things the size they need to be.” It took her, working on her own, a year to make Ghost. “I’m very practical and pragmatic. It needed to be that size, so there was no question it wasn’t going to work. I did it through sheer bloody mindedness, and I designed it to go in a skip. I didn’t think for a minute that anyone would want it.”How wrong she was about that. Success came quickly, as it did for all the Young British Artists. There were four pieces at her first show at the Carlisle Gallery in Islington: ClosetMantle (a cast of the space beneath a table), Shallow Breath (a cast of the space beneath a bed) and Torso (a cast of the inside of a hot water bottle) – and two dealers wanted to buy all of them. Not only that, they wanted to buy the next 20 pieces she made. “They would do things like send taxis round, with a message: come to our hotel. I’m not very good at being pushed around. I was penniless, but I thought: no, and that was a very sensible choice, though I still don’t know how I resisted.”On the good side, they brought Harald Szeemann [the Swiss curator] to the gallery, and he asked me if I wanted to do a show with Bruce Nauman and, well, that was the start of it. I made Ghost, and there was a lot of interest.” Charles Saatchi, it’s worth noting, was not the first owner ofGhost. Nor even the second. Whiteread thinks he might have been the third.We talk about the YBAs, the fact that so many of their careers are still going strong. “Yes, you’d think there would be a lot more casualties.” Cue hearty laughter. When I say some of them seem to get better and better with time, she says, with a snort: “Yes, some.” Her feelings about that time are mixed. She loved the mutual support among artists, which was, according to her, wholly genuine, and has continued down the years. “But it irritates me that art has become so popular.” Is she serious? “Yes. It’s not that I want it to be a cut above, but I want people to understand it, and take it seriously. It’s become pop culture. I can’t step outside my front door without tripping over a bloody graffiti tour, and I’m yet to be convinced that graffiti is art. You have to really choose your moment if you’re going to see a show. It’s just unbearable otherwise, the crowds. I used to teach, and I loved it. But I stopped because I got so irritated with students who just wanted to learn to be famous artists rather than understand how to make art. I was really tough about that stuff: ‘You lazy fuckers,’ I’d say. ‘This is not how it happens.’ But it’s part of the culture now. Instant art, instant gratification.”Has she seen Damien Hirst’s retrospective at Tate Modern? “Yes.” And? “It was strange for me. We were direct contemporaries. Voom! It was like looking through a flicker book of my life. It discombobulated me for a good few weeks. Damien is a phenomenon. He’s done some great things, and some not so great things. He confuses people with over-production.You like it? Well, here’s 2,000 of them. You want that? Well, here’s another 1,500. It’s partly his ego, and it’s partly his trading roots. But it is on his own terms, and it’s sort of extraordinary.”What is she going to do next? Something a little more quiet. “I made a piece in Norway. There was this boathouse on a fjord outside Oslo, in the middle of nowhere. It was going to be destroyed. So I shipped it here, cast it, and put it back on the fjord. I’m going to do a few more like that: two in LA, one in Norfolk, one somewhere else. I’m calling them my secret sculptures. They’re little forgotten buildings, and I’m going to fossilise them. When there are enough of them, I’ll make a map and a book, and people can go on journeys to find them. I’m really happy about the idea. It’s public art that’s not public art. That’s how I like to see art.” Meanwhile, she is hoping to give Place (Village), her dramatically beautiful installation of dolls’ houses from 2008, to the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green on a long term loan.Is it ever hard letting work go? Place (Village) was clearly such a labour of love (Whiteread bought hundreds of dolls’ houses on eBay over a period of many years). She shrugs. “I would love my work only to go to good homes, but the art world is very strange. You can’t always be in charge of what’s going to happen to stuff. Most collectors are extremely nice; they love something, and that’s why they buy it. I think if a collector isn’t very nice, the work won’t stay with them very long anyway; they just want to sell it on, probably. But you have to let go.”She smiles broadly, aware perhaps that she is about to surprise me with an unexpectedly strong statement (her preference, as you will have gathered by now, is for understatement). “You’d be in pieces if you didn’t. It would be like saying goodbye to your children.”

Rachel Whiteread: ‘I couldn’t say no. It felt right to do this one’ – interview | UK news | The Observer.

Protesters take 16-metre wind turbine blade to Tate Modern

Dozens of activists have deposited a huge wind turbine blade in the Tate Modern in protest at BP‘s sponsorship of the gallery.

Members of the Liberate Tate pressure group carried sections of the 16.5-metre blade across the Thames’s Millennium bridge on Saturday morning before assembling it in the gallery’s Turbine Hall.

The one and a half tonne blade, taken from a decommissioned wind turbine in Wales, was presented to Tate staff along with an official request for it to be made part of the gallery’s permanent collection.

Liberate Tate spokeswoman Sharon Palmer said that “in a time of climate crisis” visitors to the gallery “should not be made to feel that they’re legitimising” oil firms such as BP.

Last December, Tate’s director, Sir Nicholas Serota, was presented with a petition from 8,000 Tate members and visitors, organised by Liberate Tate and two other campaign groups, Platform and Art Not Oil.

BP’s sponsorship of British arts institutions, including the National Gallery and the Royal Opera House, is worth more than £1m a year. It first attracted protests after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Two months later, five gallons of molasses were poured down Tate Britain’s stairs at its summer party. Demonstrators also released helium balloons with dead fish attached in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. Gallery staff shot the balloons down with air rifles.

Sponsorship is increasingly contentious as arts organisations make up the shortfall in government funding.

A spokeswoman for the Tate said: “Tate can confirm at 11.40am today there was an incident in which a wind turbine blade was left in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. The blade has now been removed by Tate’s security staff.”

BP could not be reached for comment.

Protesters take 16-metre wind turbine blade to Tate Modern | Art and design |

Line of Sight

Line Of Sight is a rare view into underground bicycle messenger racing which has become a global phenomenon. For over a decade Lucas Brunelle has been riding with the fastest, most skilled urban cyclists around the world while capturing all the action with his customized helmet cameras to bring you along for the ride.

DVD available at:

This is bike riding like you’ve never seen before, in gripping first-person perspective through the most hectic city streets, on expressways in Mexico City, over the frozen Charles River, under the Mediterranean Sea, across the Great Wall of China and deep into the jungles of Guatemala.

Directed and Edited by Benny Zenga, Line of Sight is 60 minutes of the best Lucas Brunelle footage, with titles by Futura 2000, plus extras, outtakes, and a 40 page art book featuring photography and spoke cards from a decade of Alleycat races around the world.

“Lucas Brunelle goes for it. If you want to see what it’s like to play a live game of ‘frogger’, on a bike, with only one life, check out Line Of Sight.” – Mat Hoffman