A Year Of Blatant Art Consumerism Our 12 Days Of Christmas
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
A partridge in an Ai Weiwei Tree
This year has been a sort of ‘homecoming’ for Ai Weiwei: with his passport returned galleries all around the UK welcomed his return with a flurry of activity, including a retrospective of his work at the RA which featured in its courtyard his wooden trees obtained by crowdfunding.
On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Two greying doves:
Gilbert and George late on in 2015 reminded us how powerful a punch these ageing geezers can achieve with their show The Banners at the White Cube, filled with various fuck FUCK fuck rants.
On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
A three mile long queue to Alexander McQueen (image):
The V and A managed to top its David Bowie blockbuster with its imaginative and futuristic display of the late Alexander McQueen’s fashion creations. Demand for tickets was so great that by the end of its run the show was enjoying all-night openings.
On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Four calling paintings
The National Gallery chipped into the growing trend for interactive, immersive art shows (see the one at Tate Britain offering chocolate with its Bacon) with its Soundscapes show, in which contemporary musicians produced pieces to enhance/distract from selected paintings, depending upon how much you value your paintings as visual, rather than aural objects.
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Five golden auctions
This year has seen several records broken for items sold at auction, with Bonhams, Christies and Sothebys all posting headline-making successes in the saleroom. Who needs a gold ring when you can invest in a Modigliani?
On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Damien Hirst a layin’:
Previously one of my most loathed art figures, Damien Hirst resembles a Golden Goose today with his newly built Newport Street gallery, which draws on his vast personal collection for free and regular exhibitions. Let’s hope the goose keeps on giving: a new, free gallery bringing traffic to this quiet part of London is always a good thing.
On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Seven swans a swimmin’ in the Versailles lake next to a giant vandalised vagina
Anish Kapoor’s mega sculpture was sprayed with graffiti in its temporary exhibition in Versailles. Personally I find the ginormous bong pipe currently in East London more offensive.
On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Eight, or rather one hare, erm.. not running
As a huge fan of Durer, it was amazing to see auction houses over-inflate contemporary art again. While to raise eyebrows, old-masterpieces like Hans Hoffman's 'A Hare in the Forest' actually failed to meet a reserve of 4 million.
On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Paul Durand-Ruel Drumming for Impressionism:
A surprise pleasure this year was the National Gallery’s continuing its run of thought provoking, well curated exhibitions with Paul Durand-Ruel’s collection of Impressionist works, examining how the movement may not have happened without his patronage. A great new slant on an otherwise over-examined area.
On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Tens of hundreds of protesters piping up against National Gallery privatisation
During Nicolas Penny’s departure plans were set in motion for privatising the National Gallery’s security and gallery invigilators, in a cost-saving exercise against increasing cuts in public funding.
On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
One lady – Maggie Thatcher – dancing
Following the bunny that didn’t sell, conversely, Christies sale of Maggie Thatcher’s belongings were initially given very conservative (small C) estimates. Yet as the sale unfolded a fury of bidding erupted around the world. The dispatch box, estimated around £5k, actually sold for £200k.
On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me:
Twelve lords a leaping: just about every major director bounding off to more attractive jobs elsewhere
Here’s looking forward to 2016 with newly arrived blood in our major galleries. I’m hoping for some imaginative and progressive programming.
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