BogeArt Events: Friday Late at the V&A ‘Queer is Now’

The Grand Entrance at the V&A

The Grand Entrance at the V&A

Every last Friday of the month the V&A hosts an evening event which is open to the public, and I thought it was about time we review it here on BogeArt. This month the theme was ‘Queer and Now’ with the aim to ‘challenge traditional gender roles and exploring the diverse worlds of the LGBTQ history through art, design, performance and politics’. This month’s event garnered a lot of interest as DJ’s from the notorious club nights LOVERBOY and Amy Grimehouse were playing in the grand entrance. The V&A brings the LGBTQ London night scene to the academic institution, and pairs it with think pieces concerning what ‘Queer’ encompasses today.

The 'Challenge Heteronormativity' pinata in the grand entrance, by Rachael House

The ‘Challenge Heteronormativity’ pinata in the grand entrance, by Rachael House

The V&A Garden at night

The V&A Garden at night

watching Amy Grimehouse

watching Amy Grimehouse

You have to get there early, as all the events and performances fill up on a first come first serve basis, and they all fill up quickly. Highlights included Salon Outre, who provided ballet from Swan Lake, burlesque set to Kylie Minogue and readings of Shakespeare’s homoerotic sonnets. Particularly interesting, and a little more serious, was a presentation by ‘guerrilla gardener’ Paul Harfleet, who plants pansies at locations where homophobic abuse has taken place and then photographs them. The photos stand-alone effectively, with a familiarity to images of the remembrance poppy, but, for ‘Queer is Now’, the artist presented correspondences between pansies in the collection at the V&A and his work.

During breaks I wondered around the cast courts, where real people had been invited to pose alongside the stone sculptures, in order to highlight the ‘constricting physical idealism and rigid social identities embodied in classical sculpture’. These ‘live sculptures’ also provided great life drawing compositions, which I have tried to capture in some snaps:

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My recommendation- see as much of the instillations, performances and talks as possible. The music doesn’t stop, and whilst listening to a set in the grand entrance of the V&A feels pretty fab, the majority of people were nervous to really get into it and dance, making me wonder if perhaps museum etiquette is too ingrained in us for this kind of night to fully succeed? If you really want to boogie then I would perhaps suggest actually going to the DJ’s club nights. It’s also hard to really get into the music when the evening stops at 10pm. The aim to utilise today’s music scene as a curation tool I don’t think has yet been fully achieved by any of these late night museum events (including Late at the Tate), but I do think they are getting closer. It’s not just the organisers who need to get it right, I think the viewer has some adjusting to do also. Saying that, what a fun, thought provoking and wonderful way to kick off the weekend!

We asked some guests what they thought of the evening:

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Molly, Art student, 20

‘I really like the theme, it fits in perfectly with the flamboyance of the V&A- plus some great music. I really liked the work by Paul Harfleet, I guess others did too as the room was packed!’

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Alice, 19, Geography student

‘Me and my mates just heard about this and decided to come last minute. It was great to see the LOVERBOY and Amy Grimehouse dj’s for free, especially in such a monumental venue! I’ve never seen a museum have such a vibrant atmosphere’

http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/f/friday-late/

Isabella Bornholt; BogeArt

BogeArt: First Thursdays Review

First Thursdays has been a staple in east London nightlife for a few years now. Every first Thursday of the month galleries in east London showcase their new exhibitions to the public, offering free beers and/or cheap wine to visitors. In my experience it has always been more about the free booze and the beautiful people, rather than being enthused by the art, and it became a regular fixture on my calendar in my late teens. Having not been for a couple of years, on Thursday I headed towards Redchurch street, with BogeArt readers in mind and Maddy at my side, to find out if first Thursdays could be more than just a pretentious way to pre-drink.

At first we headed to a little gallery on Redchurch Street which got our attention purely due to the promise of alcohol, it’s proximity to the overground and a break from the -12 degree night. As is often the case with spontaneous decisions on a Thursday night in Shoreditch, the gallery was extremely underwhelming. The visitors were sparse, as were the film posters on show, and it was hard to find the will to chat to the gallery owners/curators/assistants about anything, apart from the cold weather, when I was barely one drink in. I do not even remember/care what the name of the place was, nor do we have any photos as our camera man (a mate who offered to take pics for us after brandishing my photography skills as rubbish) had yet to arrive at this point.

So on we went to the Londonnewcastle project space which had a large queue outside; it seemed this was February’s blockbuster show. Inside it was packed and rather hot, but the hallway of deer skulls made from wax and sticks were enticing as was the broken bark we were treading over on the floor (how alternative). I managed to push through the crowds to get one of the limited beers on offer, and was ready to continue my cynical approach. Unfortunately for me, it was not long before I was actually rather impressed.

The exhibition on show was Animal by ‘spanishurban’ artist Gonzalo Borondo. It is curated to achieve a wow factor- with things projected onto the walls, hanging from the ceiling, scattered on the floor and a couple little claustrophobic cupboards to immerse us with the artist’s vision. The aim of the show is to ‘explore the conflict between our innate animal instincts and our present lives, which are coated with the dependence of technology and our fear for the unknown’, which on certain levels, I suppose, it achieves. The thing that impressed me most was the artist’s mark making: he painted on perplex glass, he created an animation using paintings and, particularly impressively, drew through etching in to paint on perplex. Interestingly, or ironically, mark making is one of the things that sets us apart from animals, a complete paradox to our ‘animal instincts’, as it is one of the defining features of human civilization. Before we left this exhibition our camera man had shown up so we have plenty of photos and even a video of Animal (see below).  x7zp9U qIInBN oZL50Z LdYPTL

The alcohol ran out, we had been there for over an hour and the edginess of it all was no longer a novelty so we decided to try our luck at Richix. Richmix is a cinema with a couple of exhibition spaces and is a regular fixture on the First Thursday scene. By the time we arrived there was no more free alcohol, and very few people (except those waiting to see Birdman). We bought some popcorn for a bit of fuel before examining the exhibit.

The exhibit was almost as underwhelming as our first stop, but perhaps if there had been a more buzzing atmosphere and free beer I would have given it more of a chance. Democracia real ya! was an exhibition showing Mexican street art, with the usual anti-authoritarian theme that one expects from street art. Undoubtedly in Mexico, with all its corruption and crime, there is perhaps more prevalence and gravity to this kind of art compared to the likes of Banksy. Although unfortunately, to my eyes at least, the format of this work has become so familiar that it is hard not to glaze over it as gimmicky urban illustrations. It’s even harder at 10pm when the lure of the pub was hanging over the group.

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So, off we went to The Owl and the Pussycat. At the pub people kept telling me how nice it was to ‘do something new’ with their evening and I definitely had a good time; I suppose enjoying 1 out of 3 galleries isn’t bad. We also asked two First Thursday virgins what they had to say, hoping that they would be devoid of my cynicism: dxjfh9

Shona, 20, student: What did you think about the exhibition?                                             ‘I really like how it was curated. The hay bales, turf, flowers and bark gave the exhibition a real festival vibe, and don’t we associate festivals with ritualistic and often animal behavior? I think everything was displayed very creatively and touched on some interesting issues.’

How has you First Thursday experience been?                                                                 ‘Its been cool, met some cool people and saw some cool things. It’s nice to be able to discuss the work with others. At museums the norm is to view things quietly. Tonight everyone has been very vocal- not sure how much of it is about the art though!’ gyEECk

Frank, 21, Sudent What has your first impression of First Thursday been?                       ‘Its fucking dope. I like the free booze’                                                                                 Anything else?                                                                                                                     ‘Not really’

Photography courtesy of Aaron Jones

Isabella Bornholt; BogeArt

BogeArt: Frieze Art Fair

As I have said before on this blog, I find Frieze a bit of a headache. There is a lot of art, a lot of bad art at that, and a lot of fashionable people walking around stocking up on dinner party conversation and waiting to have lunch at whatever trendy pop-up catches their eye. This year I spent the whole week at the fair as I was working there, which was actually great because I did not have to pay the hefty £30 entry fee. To add to that I could do little bit of the frieze everyday, rather then getting exhausted, overwhelmed and disheartened after a marathon day of art. Here are some snaps, the sculpture park was free so next time be sure to check that out even if you are not going to the main part of the fair. Our feature on frieze fashion is coming soon!

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Emoji art- watch this space

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This guy was definitely the bell of the ball

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Maddy looking extremely unfazed by this guy dropping his trousers

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Me tryna look £500,000 next to a £500,000 sculpture

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Wow man

Isabella Bornholt; BogeArt

BogeArt Review- Late at the Tate ‘Feminist Tour’

Late at the Tate – a bi-monthly evening of poetry, paintings and performance – a popular venue and experience; certainly worthwhile for any culture vultures like myself. The feminist tour, led by the capable and renowned Sutapa Biswas, was indeed enlightening and every bit as feisty and liberal as eye-rollers might imagine when they hear the illegitimately notorious f-word. Biswas perhaps sacrificed delving into the intricacies of the works we saw for the sake of name-dropping and Gove shaming, but nonetheless the hour was insightful and rightfully rigorously opinionated.
I was made abundantly more aware of the difficulties artists encounter when having their work belatedly acquisitioned by the Tate; a problem that seemed particularly sexist to Biswas but perhaps is more political than it is gendered. Of course, female artists are generally first in the firing line in an era of austerity and attacks on the arts, but this is an increasingly prevalent issue that should be greeted with a united response to ensure art remains an appreciated necessary aspect of british culture. However, it is signifiant that just 13% of Tate Britain’s collection can be credited to female artists, as I was repeatedly told. The history of art has generally been the history of male orientated works; women are the lucky objects of sexualisation, rarely the protagonist.
We were shown a piece by Rose Finn-Kelcey, The Restless Image: An effective photograph capturing the distance between what is felt and what is seen; a perfectly calculated motion in front of an eerily silent backdrop. Biswas seemed to be grasping at straws when she attributed the handprints in the sand to leaving a mark for the rest of womankind in the exclusive world of art, but when presenting a feminist tour whilst providing a colourful list of friends and contacts it was an understandably tenuous comment. Biswas’ main rhetoric with regards to Finn-Kelcey revolved around her work being acquisitioned by Tate Britain after four decades’ worth of attempts. A frustration shared by many aspiring artists, supposedly of both genders but nonetheless hard-hitting.
I fail to see a direct gender focus in this photograph – the title itself addresses the theme and orientation of Finn-Kelcey’s art; motion and restlessness. Gender and Identity are significant contemporary motifs that could have been better explored, especially considered our current context where the realms of feminism and popular culture are no longer discrete. Regardless, Biswas was a charismatic artist and the tour was well worthwhile.

-Alex Newell (BogeArt contributor)

BogeArt Event- Late at the Tate 6th June:

Maddy and I were invited to this month’s Late at the Tate by a friend of mine who was performing. Late at the Tate is a great programme where one can enjoy a cultural evening with free entry to the exhibitions if you are 15-25yrs old. When we arrived there was a band playing on the lawn, free ice-cream and dozens of air force 1’s and acid wash straight from the studios of the Tate’s neighbour, Chelsea Art School.

This Late at the Tate theme was ‘Inhabit’, with the aim to ‘explore what it means to occupy space through sound and visuals focusing on issues of displacement, marginalisation, and feminism’. There were poetry performances hosted by The A & The E (https://www.facebook.com/theaandthee) and a feminist tour by Sutapa Biswas which our friend Alex went on. Her article on the tour is coming shortly.

Music played a big part in the evening with MogaDisco, Skinny Girl Diet, Dionne Reid and Reprezent Radio gracing the stage on the lawn. In the Tate’s BP Spotlight Source room (curated by Tate Collective London with the aim to draw links between the display of art in a salon hang and 21st century digital and social media platforms), Blackmale Beats played. When we went to investigate the Source room there was little emphasis on the display, with all the beer bottle-holding hipsters and the tall DJ with a trendy beard and a Pharrell hat (#noexcuse) there were too many cool vibes to pay attention to the art.

The highlight for me was the free entry to the Kenneth Clark- Looking for Civilisation exhibition, which is normally £11. A closer evaluation of the exhibition is coming soon. On the whole a lovely evening, but then again how can it not be with the sun, the Thames, free ice-cream and the Tate!

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Maddy in the oh-so-trendy BP Spotlight Source room.

for more info go to http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/eventseries/late-tate-britain

– Isabella Bornholt; BogeArt