Crossing arid zones

On the hottest and longest day of the year, Franziska Lantz comes to set up for her performance. The day before, I’ve prevailed upon my gym trainer and my boyfriend to shift all the furniture from one side of the room to the other, leaving a big open space at the large south-facing windows and under her suspended sculptures for Franziska to perform. We expect a full audience and are bracing ourselves for hot, thirsty guests, rushing out at the last minute to secure extra bags of ice and cold drinks. The sun is strong, and will stay with us until around 10 pm tonight.


A Saturday in May touring the West End galleries

It’s been a funny week here in London, where the art world seems to have decamped to Venice for the opening of the Biennale. I am looking forward to benefiting from all the reviews for my far more edited and peaceful visit later in the summer.

There are many good shows on at the moment, and the tour today with PH, JH and AZ took in a good sampling.

Peter Halley and Gilbert & George

A Gallery Walk Through with Peter Halley and a Visit to the Studio of Gilbert and George
1 February 2017

I was telling someone today that one of the silver linings of getting older is that I can legitimately claim to have been around and conscious when important people, events, art and culture were first developing. I was there when it started.


Walk through of Mark Wallinger’s exhibition ID at Hauser and Wirth

When we last had lunch together, Mark tells me how excited he is to be painting again, and how he struggles to get the black paint off his hands. I see the soaring ceiling heights of his new Archway loft studio space.

Visit to Luca Bertolo’s Studio in Lucca

Why do I rebel against my own satisfactions, but then want others to join me in my demonstration against the status quo? CC and I are invited for the bank holiday weekend to stay with friends at their idyllic villa in Lucca.

Mark Wallinger in conversation with Curator Xavier Bray at Dulwich Picture Gallery

Self portraiture is a tricky business. It can be a practical choice: an artist’s face may simply be the only one in the studio at the time. It can be an act of egoism and control: defining for posterity how an artist wishes to be presented to the world. And often it’s a line of inquiry, investigating all the permutations of identity and self.

Ruth Barker performance at Freud Museum April 2016

I’m thinking a lot about performance as an art form these days. Maybe it’s because I’m living in a space with few walls on which to display tangible, visual art. I’m making an effort to see more performance art, and to feel my way through this kind of practice that is constantly treading on the division between artist and audience, subject and object, participant and observer.

Playing with clay at Camden Arts Centre with Salvatore Arancio

Why does good artists’ work seem inevitable? Call it a style, or a vision, but the art is often in the consistency of its expression. This is how we can recognise a student of Rembrandt from his treatment of light in a painting, or a follower of Ingres, from the way his line describes a contour in a drawing.

Evening at Arcade

At Arcade the other evening, artist Paul Simon Richards spoke with curator/writer Sabel Gavaldon. Richards showed his 13 minute film L*A*B.

New Whitney

Thanks to the good graces and special Founder Member status of LTP, I got to see the new downtown Whitney before its official opening! LTP and I cycled over from her Tribeca pad on Citibikes, and approached the museum from the Hudson River. The Renzo Piano building appears behemoth, rather industrial and functional, with its 5 “smokestack” exhaust funnels standing proudly, waiting to become iconic.

El Anatsui at Princeton

A few years ago I endowed an artist’s residency at my alma mater Princeton. The residency enables an international artist each year to go to Princeton for a few days, give a public talk, visit with students in workshops and small group discussions and have one-on-one meetings with faculty from various university departments.


512 Hours and Marina Abramovic

15 August

ICE and I went to the Serpentine yesterday to check out Marina Abramovic’s 512 Hours. After surrendering all our belongings, most especially recording devices and watches, we were asked to wear noise cancelling headphones and enter the gallery that was dominated by a low stage in the center, on which were standing about a dozen visitors, with their eyes closed, and several pairs were holding hands.