Apr 16 2012: Eight Kitsch Dream Images by Salvador Dali (Coronet Magazine, 1950)

Coronet magazine seems to have been, in format and approach, an attempt to imitate the success of Reader’s Digest. In among its pages of amusing anecdotes, abridged stories and other human interest material fairly typical of its time, however, are some intriguing advertisements and a definite curveball, given the journal’s otherwise rather conservative idiom, in … Continue reading

Mar 10 2012: A View Of The Thames Looking Towards Tower Bridge Showing Bomb Sites (c.1940s)

There’s something hugely compelling about this undated photograph, which at first glance shows a very familiar view along the River Thames, looking towards Tower Bridge, but on slightly closer inspection reveals some very unfamiliar bomb-sites and gutted buildings in the foreground. The photographer is not identified, but it’s presumably an amateur snap taken from a … Continue reading

The Invisible Hand, Pupaphobia and the Puppet State (NVA 11, 2013)

“The puppet is what best represents the position of man in today’s manipulated world. The hand of a puppeteer is always the hand of one who ‘leads’, the hand of the Great Manipulator. The puppet’s immobile expression, its inability to mimic, does not allow it to communicate the subtle oscillations of the soul, but it … Continue reading

Oct 30 2011: Reader’s Diary (Brittle Star Magazine, May 2010)

Of the three addictions that have shaped my life, I can only remember with certainty where the least desirable of them began: with an Embassy filter-tip, one summer afternoon outside a corrugated iron shed in New Quay, mid-Wales, at the antique restoration workshop where I spent my teenage Saturdays working. With music, I can clearly … Continue reading

Magic Show at QUAD Gallery (NVA, 2009)

The conjuror and the conceptual artist, the con-trick and the act of construction: each shares something deeper than its ‘con’ prefix, a connection that goes beyond linguistic roots to evoke focus and misdirection, suggestion and the act of ‘making visible’, the arts of provocation and end-of-pier entertainment. It’s a range made explicit in Jonathan Allen’s … Continue reading

Art Made By All, or Art in the Public Realm? (NVA, 2013)

“The enrichment of life calls inexorably for the analysis of the new forms taken by poverty and the perfection of the old weapons of refusal…” Raoul Vaneigem: The Revolution of Everyday Life (1967) “I tried to map a space where the everyday was the focus. An everyday that is at one level a source of … Continue reading

An A to Z of Artists Writing and Writers in Art (NVA, 2009)

A is for…Guillaume Apollinaire Guillaume Apollinaire was born in 1880 and died in 1918, but in his 38 years of life he packed in a great deal, consolidating the foundations of modernism as we know it in poetry, fiction and art with a stream of works including Zone, Calligrammes, Alcools and the stories and short … Continue reading

Angels of Anarchy – Women Artists and Surrealism (NVA, 2009)

So many misconceptions about Surrealism are unquestioningly peddled as historical fact in the public domain that addressing the subject often feels like approaching a thicket of weeds with a machete. Reviews of the current exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery, curated by Patricia Allmer, have offered a case in point, with broadsheet critics repeating various myths, … Continue reading