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Excellent read as usual. Nothing less expected, anyway

'ONLY YOU' – A few words on Art and Life In London, by Art Writer Paul O'Kane

big-bang-data-at-somerset-house_world-processor-ingo-gnther-1989-2012-knechtel-fotography_69c4576066525121a248c79cb32f0e72Somerset House is home to the Courtauld Institute and galleries, a world renowned institution famous for producing world class art historians, curators and writers, and a collection that is key to understanding the turn from Impressionism to Post-Impressionism and thus the modern heart of modern painting. In recent years the huge courtyard and various other spaces that make up Somerset House (once a Royal Palace, a government archive and a Royal Academy) have been increasingly exploited as venues for other arts and entertainment events, including the ice rink which appears there every winter and now several new gallery spaces. ‘Big Bang Data’ is gaudily advertised on the windows of the 17th century building as you enter from the South or river side, and the show is staged in a labyrinth of new spaces within the basement area of the same South side buildings.


To set out your stall, initially…

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'ONLY YOU' – A few words on Art and Life In London, by Art Writer Paul O'Kane

A new year is starting. You haven’t been to any art events. It’s been that weird Downtime between Xmas and New Year’s and you’ve been either doing nothing in particular or hurriedly getting things done (like your own writing and making) that are impossible once the teaching term really kicks back in.


 A clip/scene from ‘Love Is All

However, looking back over your shoulder, through the past week as well as the past year, one thing you’d like to share this week is the love affair you’ve developed with the history of cinema. On Valentines Day, 2015 you were at The Brixton Ritzy to see director Kim Longinotto introduce and discuss ‘Love Is All’ (2015) a wonderful cinematic/history collage of extremely diverse ‘love’ scenes that she’d assembled for a commission. The range was not only historical, and diverse but – you must admit – moving, particularly…

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Ñaño, pls leelo, creo que estarás totalmente de acuerdo

'ONLY YOU' – A few words on Art and Life In London, by Art Writer Paul O'Kane


It’s been one of those painfully intense weeks when, as an ‘Associate Lecturer’, several of your small ‘contracts’ coincide uncomfortably and you find yourself working flat-out, through the weekend, rising super early and finishing late in the evening.

Thankfully -and despite bouts of exhaustion, frustration and occasionally ‘quiet desperation’- fundamentally it is all art, all education and thus all things that you fully trust and believe in, even if you are often -perhaps increasingly- concerned about the way art and education are managed, treated and used.

Aside from teaching two seminars and supervising several dissertations the main event you attended was the grand opening of an event that brought together the venerated veteran of the London art scene Gustav Metzger, The Serpentine Gallery, Central St Martins college and students, coordinated by artist, curator and director of CSM’s fine art studies Alex Schady.

The event is ongoing, online, and elsewhere. It…

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Food for thought

'ONLY YOU' – A few words on Art and Life In London, by Art Writer Paul O'Kane

Your week has been dominated by the AICA congress in London. The International Association of Art Critics first came to your attention only when you were nominated to join it a couple of years ago. Soon after you found yourself at the AICA congress in Seoul, acting as a moderator for a day of debates and then writing up an overview of the Seoul 2014 congress for the AICA website. Meanwhile you began learning about AICA’s amazingly rich and noble history, its changing identity and its aim or ‘spirit.’

In Seoul you were enlightened by a grand parade of international perspectives concerning just what an art critic or art writer might be today and in the future and might have been in the past. In London’s heavily marketised art world (you were recently informed it corners 76% of the European art market) the role of the critic seems relatively…

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'ONLY YOU' – A few words on Art and Life In London, by Art Writer Paul O'Kane

Blog readers will have to forgive you. Its kind of Downtime in academia (the quiet before the October storm) and also in the post-August/pre-Frieze art world. If you had some money you would definitely go to Venice for the first time in your life right now but only a trip to ‘Little Venice’ and perhaps a stroll along Regents Canal looks likely. If you do that trip you promise to Blog the results.


Little Venice, London

But in a way it is against your principles to say some of the above. You never wanted to write a Blog that was a series of ‘Reviews’ or some gossipy chat about the so-called ‘art world,’ Some seem to refuse to see your Blog however as any more than that, and so you are regularly asked to use the Blog to publicise a current show etc.

NO! NO! NO! You have to stay…

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'ONLY YOU' – A few words on Art and Life In London, by Art Writer Paul O'Kane

Cao Fei’s film ‘Whose Utopia?’ is not new, made in 2006 it does however make a new impact on its new context, screened in a darkened space at the heart of Tate Modern’s ‘Poetry & Dream’ department which features many, mostly male practitioners of Surrealist painting.

Cao Fei is neither male nor a Surrealist, nor does she emerge from European history of art but is one of the best known of the recent wave of Chinese artists impacting on the world art stage since the start of this century.

You’ve seen a lot of art this week, Modernism, Postmodernism and Contemporary Art as you continue, and bring to a close your Summer School while touring London’s museums and galleries with a host of students, but when it comes to Blogging time it’s Cao Fei’s film that stands-out strongly and clearly in your mind as deserving your attention and your (approximately)…

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