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This is the second in an occasional series on the right and proper way to behave in an art gallery.  But I really made a terrible error before.  Because this is Art Gallery Etiquette 101, lesson 1.  Really, this is it…

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Trellick Tower from below...

Brutalism – the ever-controversial, predominantly (but certainly not exclusively) British take on modernist architecture – has been kickstarting tenuously-topical debate yet again.  I already made a brief foray into the comments section on the following Guardian article, but in the days since I’ve realised there’s a wider cultural question I could raise that sits neatly enough within the raison d’etre of this here blog…

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An entertaining story here about how some well-meaning Victorians unwittingly misled millions of people for nigh-on 150 years:

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There is perhaps just one of the many ‘achievements’ of Tony Blair’s New Labour administration that has proved uncontroversial and universally popular.  It also happens to be the only one that directly relates to this blog: the 2001 decision to abolish entry fees to a number of the UK’s major museums and art galleries.

How wonderful then to see the Times living up to its reputation and asking for us plebs to be charged again to ‘encourage quality’ in a recent article their web editors have signposted under “Intellect R.I.P.”:

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I ventured out of my artistic comfort zone this week to visit the new exhibition of John Currin paintings at Sadie Coles HQ.  Located in the part of London where you get looked down upon if you’re only driving a Rolls Royce, this is the sort of small private gallery where you have to ring a bell and then await judgment on your worthiness or otherwise for entry.    (I snuck in behind someone much cooler and much richer-looking than I.)  It goes without saying that the air of exclusivity I find so unsettling in such places is also a vital ingredient in the seduction of those with the heavier wallets and shiner credit cards.

Currin’s work has intrigued me since I came across it in Matt Collings’s This is Modern Art some years ago.  His eerie juxtaposition of fleshy, painterly nudes and their grotesque, disproportionate bodies were greater than the sum of their parts, at least in their capacity to remain memorable long after viewing.  From interviews, Currin doesn’t necessarily come across as much of a thinker, so I suspect that the spotlight he shone on media misogynism and female body dysmorphia may have been unintentional (he just likes breasts), but it’s there all the same.  Having not seen his work in the flesh before, the new exhibition certainly sounded worth a visit. 

(Note: don’t click to read more if you’re likely to be easily offended…)

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If Hitler Had Been a Hippy How Happy Would We Be

It appears that the Chapman brothers have been stirring up a little controversy recently with some work ripping off some dead Austrian artist.  It’s really very unlike them.

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