End of my first week invigilating at the Worcester Open and it seems to have gone well. I’m sharing the duties with Chris, an engaging young chap, three days each and all the leftover crisps and nuts we can eat. An opportunity to round off that unread novel, catch up on correspondence and spend some quality time with some rather good artwork. The DVD machines are working, viewing figures on the up, the gallery looks splendid and I Am the Warrior is starting to fill out nicely.
What is I am the Warrior? It is a mis en scene put in place by Juneau Projects and whose original intention was to house work entered for but not chosen to be in the Open Competition. In reality it is the former library shelves at the far end of the gallery that once held children’s books but now, resplendent in blobby-esque yellow and pink, only with the goalposts repositioned slightly with it now being open for anyone to enter work; just drop it off and Chris and myself will do the rest.
|Self Portrait @ WM&AG|
The Worcester Open contains, as one might expect, interesting work with all the usual suspects being present and correct: some film, some animation, paintings of course, a smattering of photographs, a wooden structure that may have once been part of someone’s staircase, a flag and a couple of small sculptures. Nothing truly remarkable, but generally speaking all are excellent in their own way and each a worthy entrant in the show. Trouble is, is it just me or is it all a bit predictable……dull even? It’s all been made and chosen seemingly in the best possible tasteful but, isn’t good taste the enemy of art?
|Not Now Pet|
Contrast this with ‘I am’s’ exhibits – take Alexander Williams’s ‘Not Now Pet’, a pink and blue psychedelic yodel seemingly puked up over a cheap canvas and all in the name of ‘art’; on a nearby shelve sit a pair of seeds, credited to and possibly accidentally stolen from Ai Wei Wei’s Tate show they find themselves teamed up with a pair of peanuts that the invigilators probably dropped and the cleaners missed and called ‘Not Ai Wei Wei’. Ned James has entered what appears to be a death head pin cushion whilst Charlie Pitt has exhibited work that a five year old might have done. No disrespect to five year olds, some of their work has merit.
Let’s finish with what the audience thinks. Is Jed Edwards’s lovingly detailed yet possibly pointless micro copy of Picasso’s ‘Des Moiselle d’Avignon’ that finds itself tacked onto some green boarding any worse, or less relevant than James Brennan’s Myth 111 – Protect and Survive, a small study in oil of a pair of pert yet undemonstratively undraped breasts which cushion a pendant and which is strategically placed above another work by the same artist of a tree, or bush, that is included in the main exhibition?
Perhaps we should leave it up to the Italian student who came in with his classmates on the Tuesday to decide. After all they, the Italian grown ups rather than their students that is, masterminded the Renaissance, invented egg tempura and could call on Leonardo, Titian and Caravaggio if there was a bit of wall that required tagging, He must have thought Brennan’s topless temptress the more critically engaged of the two works because he kept returning to it, over and over again, each time with a different classmate, pointing and giggling, eager to share his opinion with them.
So, there you have it, one occasion where going tits up pays. The Worcester Open just nudging out I am the Warrior in the popularity stakes.