Amanda and I went to the annual Contemporary Printmaking Show at the Mall Gallery. It was fantastic to see a cross section of the work of the best printmakers working right now. Some of the work was literally jaw-dropping and some made us wonder why it had been included. On the whole though the show was great and I would whole heartedly recommend it to anyone in possession of some means of time travel.
A couple of things jarred with me when reading through the programme afterwards though. The first was that there was a digital print in the show – a really simple image of a kitten that seemed to have been cut straight from a photo and stuck on a blue background. The kitty was cute enough but we both struggled to see the artistic merit – it looked like it belonged in the bargain bin at Clinton’s rather than on the wall of a gallery. I was further surprised then to see this image featured for special attention in the program. On reading the text it said the artist studied at blah blah school and, oh, is married to Sir Peter Blake. So there it is then – if you can’t do work that stands up on its own merits maybe you can sleep with someone whose does and you can get into decent shows. Maybe there is hope for me then. Just need Amanda to get famous.
The second thing was a deckchair. This deckchair featured a photo of Pete Townshend in classic windmill pose. Great photo and I’m sure that putting it a deckchair makes all sorts of clever allusions to Quadrophenia and juxtaposes the somnabulence of the sunbather with the frenetic energy of a rock’n’roll performance and blah. However, the blurb tells us that the work is signed by Pete Townshend (fair enough I guess) and Graham Coxon. Now, Graham is, I’m sure, a top bloke who was in a good band who were no doubt influenced by the Who, but what the f**k is it to do with him? Why does a piece of art need such a facile ‘celebrity’ endorsement and why on earth did Graham Coxon do it? I liked him until I saw that.

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