Never judge a gallery by its poster.
(...or an artist by a painting!).
Although I have effectively sidestepped my gallery reviews in order to enjoy the galleries even more, give my 'judgey-function' a rest, and concentrate on my own work, I need need need to get this weekend in Vienna off my chest.
Wow! The gorgeous MUMOK gallery in the Museum Quarter is holding two of the most thrilling collections I have ever seen in my life. I exaggerate not.
First was Optik Schroder II - Works from the Alexander Schroder collection (On until 27th May 2018) and next was Kunst ins Liben (Art into Life) - Collector Wolfgang Hahn and the 60s (on until 27th May 2018)
Kunst ins Liben - Curated by Susanne Neuburger (mumok) and Barbara Engelbach (Museum Ludwig Köln)
Exhibition architecture: Eva Chytilek & Jakob Neulinger
Optik Schroder II - Curated by Karola Kraus
Basically between the two you get an overview of Germany's and the world's greatest collection of Fluxus, Nouveaux Art, Performance, Happening, Conceptual and Contemporary artists all under one roof.
The spaces are used so entertainingly I felt like a child with the keys to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. From piece to piece it was one huge blast of fun, experimentation and visual delight.
I mean aesthetically this was a crowd pleasing introduction to various contemporary styles which more often than not alienate the average gallery goer. Not so here. The curator has turned these shows into playgrounds of creativity.
I am so inspired that I started working on 9 canvases at the same time yesterday. I am literally bursting with positive energy.
In the Schroder collection you can find Kai Althoff (mad fun), Tom Burr, Bernadette Corporation, Claire Fontaine, Gelitin, Isa Genzken, Anne Imhof, Sergej Jensen, Pierre Klossowski, Manfred Pernice, Martha Rosler, and Reena Spaulings to name a few.
And most exciting for me in the Hahn collection there was Joseph Beuys, Wolf Vostell, Allan Kaprow, Nam June Paik, John Cage, George Segal, Claes Oldenburg, and Tom Wesselman. I mean like wow.
And so over to the more classical sounding (and looking) Leopold Gallery where I was reasonably excited to expect a few Egon Schieles and Gustav Klimts.
The show advertised all round town is 'WOW!' and a crummier title I couldn't imagine...UNTIL.
Wow! The Heidi Horton Collection.
(On until 29th July 2018)
F#$k Me! Would have been an appropriate title also as I think it was the only thing we said other than 'Wow!' The entire show.
What I'm talking about is finding, not only room to room, but metre for metre THE most famous artist's most famous works side by side till I could barely contain myself.
We walked into one room and I could see a Warhol / Basquiat collaborative piece on the far wall and I do believe I started to physically shake. I am even now, writing this!
There were four pieces by Basquiat. The first time I have ever seen one in real life. They did not disappoint.
In the entrance section of this show there was a 20cm x 30cm portrait by Picasso (the spit of Susan Boyle! See below and judge for yourself) and 'At least we saw a Picasso,' we both thought as we walked into the first room.
Chagall, Picasso, Matisse, Francis Bacon, Munch, Baselitz, Lucien Freud, Yves Klein, Damien Hurst, Richter, Rothko, Warhol, Lichtenstein.....I have to cut off here..I am shaking again. Imagine 60 more of the biggest names in the business. They were there too!
For a non-permanent show this was unprecedented for me.
It was not just the 'star struck' element which titilated us though. The pieces in Heidi Horton's collection...well... I imagine, for the curator Agnes Husslein-Arco, it was like discovering the hordes of art the Nazis stole in the 1940s.
I loved these shows so much. I can only say go! And if you don't say Wow! at least a hundred times, you will never ever ever be convinced that art is a force for good and the betterment of mankind.
I also tried Chilli Beer for the first time. Meh.
And so I came home to my Prague studio all abuzz and started juggling with those 9 paintings simultaneously (see below - there are three pieces on the floor too!).
I am committed to making this blog as snappy, fun, experimental and accessible as I can. If any of what I post, paint, paste or print resonates with you, please forward to friends and colleagues with wild abandon!