Artvehicle 49 — Editorial

Great news for the tall! The New Museum in New York is planning a sequel to last year's excellent exhibition Younger Than Jesus and the search is on for artists over 1.73 metres.

In 2009 fifty youngsters born after 1976 showed over 145 works encompassing painting, drawing, photography, film, animation, performance, installation, dance, Internet-based works, and video games. This, according to Lauren Cornell, is because this generation is incredibly diverse, with artists moving seamlessly across mediums. We hope that Younger Than Jesus will offer a look at our world as reflected through the work of many artists belonging to the same time and yet representing entirely different perspectives on its problems and its beauties.

The Taller than Jesus Exhibition in the pipeline takes this concept a stage backwards. We are expecting Cornell goes on to not say a new view of the world, one from a slightly higher viewpoint. This time we are hoping for entirely different problems and beauties, but all from a very similar perspective.

The original kiddiewinks were discovered by asking loads of kiddiewinks to use the secret methods that kiddiewinks have to find and recommend artistic kiddiewinks for the show. Off they all went and scratched messages on to bus windows and got ugly, homemade tattoos in Maths to spread the word, and they managed to find 500 artists under 33 and a bit.

The word is already out there for part two - the opening paragraph of this editorial was discovered written on a small piece of card and left on a high shelf in Tesco's.

So far, so jolly: but still the basic premise for Younger Than Jesus still seems to be to find thousands of artists with one thing arbitrarily in common and put your favourites in a room together. There were some excellent pieces in that exhibition by some superb artists. However what ties them together is not the essence of their work but their date of birth; might as well be a starsign.

There have been lamer curatorial concepts. Most recently David Risley 'fesses up to knowing jack-shit about his chosen subject and elects to kick every fifth person in Denmark's Broadway Market and the ones that fall over are in his show. Or something. Actually, this? 'This exhibition will acknowledge my naivety and release me from my usual dictatorial position of choice within my gallery. I am handing over responsibility of choice to the artists. It will give me a crash course in contemporary Danish painting.'

'It will work like this - I will choose a painter who lives and works in Denmark, then, they will anonymously choose a painter who lives and works in Denmark, then, they will anonymously choose a painter who lives and works in Denmark. etc. This will carry on until the same painter is chosen twice or somebody says no. So, the show will be a random, meandering journey through what is being made here.'

Genius. And of course, bollocks. There were nine people in that show before someone said; What? You want me to be in an exhibition with no quality control and indeterminate size, somewhere between nine and all the painters in Denmark? No thanks. What you received David was a crash course in Danish patro-nepotism: a downward spiral of people recommending their mates that they feel a bit sorry for because they aren't very good. Valuable insight there - sorry I missed it.

Back in 2007 JJ Charlesworth, Andrew Hunt, and Robin Klassnik were asked to curate an exhibition at Nettie Horn. Entitled Neighborhood Watch, one clever/clever-clever idea and a bit smart writing and voila, an exhibition that that looks good on paper but you don't need to go to.

Here is a bit of it: 'How to organise an exhibition that is both exceptional in curatorial terms, and incredibly easy to produce, so that we don't have to do too much work? ?you get all those galleries in Vyner Street to contribute one piece of work, and put all of the pieces of work in a group show in the Nettie Horn Gallery'

Rumour has it that first they wrote something simple and direct, then one of them added the funny stuff, one the knowing parts and the other all the smug bits. Apparently they drew straws to see who did what and even the adjectives were picked out of a hat. It could just of easily have been grumpy, pornographic and brief.

Sadly though, it's the former: 'It is like a closed circle, but very open at the same time. It's about responsibility, but it is also about irresponsibility. It is about democracy in art, but it is also about not having democracy in art. It is about the curator enabling forms of non-hierarchical self-organisation, but it is also about everyone doing exactly what the curator says. It is about the possibility of community through art, but it is also about the destruction of community through the neo-liberal privatisation of the public sphere represented by the art market. It is like a Russian doll, but in the shape of a Fabergé egg. It is about being good neighbours and at the same time completely ignoring each other, yes?'

Aptly the text remains the centre of attention with the work in the sidelines. What happened was this: The up'n'comin' galleries sent the piece next to the storeroom door or a tiny something that was on the desk. The little, nothingy galleries sent something flashy and huge and put it on their websites. The big and important galleries ignored it completely. Interesting show then for the right/wrong/right? reasons. Some work worth seeing, kinda incidentally, and the stats could be fascinating. I hope you didn't make a rod for your own backs with the installation gentlemen. It would have been terrible if anyone had rocked up with some 36 pictures that required hanging in a perfect grid. Maybe there was an emergency clause: All the work gets laid out in a line, first piece to arrive goes in the far corner then all the way to the front door for the last one in.

Back in the East End the (I-am-my-)art world is gearing up for 2012. School for Saatchi meets America's Next Top Model in: Better Hair than Jesus. Those beautiful, Timoteied locks are going to take some beating but with Prince Charles and Agyness Dean curating there's no knowing which way it'll go.

Artvehicle Recommends: Igor Grubic at the Agency
Opening the evening of Friday 9 April and running until 15 May norn presents Igor Grubic 366 liberation rituals at the Agency Gallery, 66 Evelyn Street SE8 5DD. 366 liberation rituals are Grubic's year long series of actions intended to resist lethargy, both the artist's and society's. Taking as a starting point the fortieth anniversary of the protests of 1968, Grubic decided to dedicate one whole year intensely to art. His project comprises a series of micro-political actions and interventions that fuse a shamanistic approach to art with guerilla activity and civil disobedience. The Pigeon Wing and MicroPerformance are showing alongside norn, with a special event on the evening of Friday 30 April.

In this issue we have an interview with RUN Gallery about their exhibition 'Should I Stay or Should I Go?' at Chelsea Space, a review of Céleste Boursier-Mougenot's 'The Birds' at the Barbican Curve, a review of the opera 'Satyagraha' by Philip Glass, an interview with artist Samuel Fouracre and a review of 'The Real Van Gogh' at the Royal Academy. This month's artist's page is by Frog Morris.

Adrian Lee