Galleries - March 2019

Even though Andy Warhol and Eduardo Paolozzi once showed together in a group exhibition organised by MOMA in 1967, there is no evidence that they ever actually met; and even in this joint show ‘I Want To Be A Machine’ at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the giants of British and American Pop Art are still kept apart in different rooms. Drawing from the Keiller and d’Offay collections, both artists are comprehensively represented, but never allowed to confront each other directly. Of course the similarities between them are obvious, with their mutual use of the iconography of popular culture and commercial practices –especially silk screen printing. Yet their differences are much more telling –for instance, for all his talk of wanting “to be a machine” Warhol showed little interest in mechanisation, while Paolozzi was fascinated by technology. The crucial difference is however, much more fundamental. On the one hand, Paolozzi’s work aims to transform and raise his popular culture and scientific subject matter to the status of fine art; while on the other hand, Warhol wants his imagery of fashion and celebrity to remain popular and become even more iconic. So while the best of Paolozzi’s art turns the modern into the eternal, Warhol’s contemporary images radiate forever in the timeless present. Bill Hare When the October Gallery was founded 40 years ago, the idea of an avant garde in art was still an almost exclusively Western European/North American 'invention', one to which artists in Africa, Asia and the rest of the world were expected either to accommodate, to 'Westernise' in short, or otherwise remain 'outside the pale' in the limbo of a traditional and unchanging cultural curiosity. The powerful influences of African Art on Cubism or Eastern Art on Abstract Expressionism, for example, was seen as the rightful dues of an inherently superior culture, while the idea that influences could travel the other way in a similarly revitalising manner (ie other than as pale imitations of Western art) remained largely unconsidered. With the transformational idea of the Transvangarde, a trans-cultural avant-garde, Chili Hawes, October Gallery founder and her team, have tenaciously told quite another story. It traces the mutuality of interests among artists of all cultures in finding powerful and contemporary artistic expression for the ideas central to their individual culture, not just the bland 'international' (and still essentially Western) style that dominates so many art fairs around the world these days. October’s March show, of the great Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, is a classic example of this philosophy in practice; a virtual unknown when they first started showing him in the early 90s, his majestic textile-like metallic screens have recently won him huge acclaim at the Venice Biennale and adorned the entire facade of the Royal Academy. NU Having been involved in my first graduate artists’ show in 1991 and having recently helped select another 'FBA Futures' at the Mall Galleries this January, the idea of supporting emerging artists has always been very close to my heart, no more so than now with the economic situation so particularly dire for the arts. So a particularly warm endorsement for the ever- enterprising Atkinson Gallery's ongoing series of MA and Post- Graduate exhibitions – their 2019 show this month includes some 37 artists from some 19 UK art schools (England, Scotland and Wales) and provides a profoundly encouraging snapshot of the health and artistic wealth of our often much maligned art-schools. Nicholas Usherwood R OUND-UP 8 GALLERIES MARCH 2019 from left A ndy Warhol ‘Self-Portrait with Reddish Blonde Wig’ National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the VisualArts, Inc /LicensedbyDACS,London.2018 Yunhsin Hsu ‘Animal Toys’ University for the Creative Arts, Atkinson Gallery S ame difference New masters Cross culture