interviews and articles

Irish Art Museums Told To Be "More Populist"

The assistant secretary general at the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism, Niall O’Donnchu, has written to the directors of several national institutions, including the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Imma), the National Gallery of Ireland and the Crawford Art Gallery, suggesting they seek out “commercial opportunities” for their organisations, and adopt “more populist” exhibition policies.

A copy of one of the letters, seen by The Irish Times, states that while acknowledging that the institution already pursues “commercial opportunities and businesses . . . We would ask, however, that you and your board take a focused opportunity to examine afresh whether all commercialisation and commodisation [sic] opportunities are being exploited to the maximum by you”.

After querying the institution’s exploitation of merchandising and related activities, the letter also examines policy and programming and asks: “Could your exhibition policies be more populist?”

Quoted from an article in yesterday's Irish Times - full text here

Martin Parr on the Ordinary Object

Here is an article by Marr Parr about photographing ordinary objects on the Guardian website . Below is an excerpt:

I want to put forward a case for taking more seriously the everyday object, we should appreciate those objects that are so familiar we usually don't notice them. Take the scarecrow, a wonderful example of outsider art, and made with a real purpose. If you were to say to their farmer creators that they were sculptures, they would look at you as if you were mad. However if you take photos of them in splendid isolation, the results are both compelling and surreal.

There are two categories of everyday objects: those that are constantly changing in terms of design, and those that are reassuringly constant. In the former category, take something as simple as the petrol pump. I photographed one in use in Salford in 1986, and now it looks like it is from another era. What at the time may have been rejected as a photo of great tedium has become a fascinating image.

A Blogger's Response to Bookish at the Lewis Glucksman Gallery

Today I checked the internet for coverage of recent exhibitions and found a post by a blogger named Tiffany about the exhibition Bookish: When Books Become Art. Here is an excerpt:

"A curious artist plucks love notes and illegible post-it’s from the pages of borrowed material. Tags from brand new shirts, receipts, and ticket stubs litter the library, but are hidden within the two covers of so many books. Sit down in your area library and flip through the pages, see what sort of archeological discoveries are dug up. What can one book carry to the next reader? A book is a vessel of knowledge and ideas. It carries germs and footnotes, garbage and timeless treasures. "

The full post can be found here:

Where do you get your ideas?

There's a booklet with today's Guardian called "How to write fiction". There's a article by Kate Pullinger addressing on of the most common (and most annoying) questions  asked of artists and writers.

Writers are often asked the question, "Where do you get your ideas from?" as though there is a special place where you can buy them: Asda for chick-lit, perhaps, Waitrose for literary fiction. But, even though this question gets asked a lot, most writers find it difficult to supply a decent answer. The truth is that ideas are all around us, in the people you meet, in the things you read and see and hear and experience, in your own childhood and family, in the wilder reaches of your imagination.

The complete article is here

Adrian Searle on Francis Bacon

There have been a lot of articles in the press recently about Francis Bacon due to his major at Tate Britain. Most I have seen mainly focus on his personal life and those that deal with his work are full of unquestioning praise of his genius. Adrian Searle has an article on the Guardian's website that offers a refreshing alternative perspective on his work. Searle admits that certain works by Bacon are "essential" but also makes the fair criticism that Bacon had a tendency towards mediocrity and repetition in his later work.

The top image is from 1988 and the bottom one is from 1944

The article is to be found here.

Serious Studio Space Problems in Dublin

The Irish Times have an article today about the objection proposed demoliton of the Hendron Building which houses artist's studios including Broadstone Studios. The article claims 60 studios will be lost. (This figure seems a little high - I hope there has been a mistake though there certainly will be a substantial amount of studios lost).

Pallas Studios will be forced to leave their building on Foley St. in February resulting in the loss of a further 14 studios (including my own). Some of these studios are shared by more than one artist . If the Times' figure is correct there will be more than 74 artists in need of studio space in Dublin in the near future!

The proposed development of the site of the Hendron Building is to include "a gallery or studio" but these seems a perfuctory concession and I am sceptical as to how substantial this will actually be. The fact that they are unclear as to whether it will be studio space or a gallery shows this has not been thought through. I imagine this will either materialise as a very commercial painting shop or will be dropped from the plans entirely.

A 14-storey "landmark" building at the centre of the site, which is on a hill, would be visible from the city quays.

The proposed scheme does contain plans for an artists studio or gallery, however it is primarily a residential and office development.

Labour city councillor Emer Costello, who lodged a joint objection with Labour TD Joe Costello, said the inclusion of the studio or gallery space was "sheer tokenism" and the height of the 14-storey tower was excessive.

"The Broadstone Studios is currently home to 60 artists studios and gallery space on this site with 10,00 square feet. These studios are very successful and make a significant contribution to the local community."

Ms Costello said she was also concerned about the inclusion of an aparthotel. Plans for the restaurant appeared to be more of a "communal dining room for the aparthotel than an actual restaurant local people could frequent".

© 2008 The Irish Times

Full article here

Image: High Hopes by Lee Welch

Sunday Times Review of Bookish: When Books Become Art

There was a review of Bookish: When Books Become Art by Gerry McCarthy in the Sunday Times. He was lukewarm on the show in general and I didn't agree with some of his criticisms but he was positive about my piece. Here are the paragraphs where he dicusses my work.

There is humour in Bookish, notably in a piece by Niall de Buitléar. He spent time in the Boole Library in University College Cork, meticulously trawling the volumes for found objects. The result is the Found Bookmark Project, a collection of things which people have used as bookmarks and have little in common aside from being flat.

After so much sombre reworking of meaningful cover images and miscellaneous pieces of careful conceptualism, De Buitlear's piece is a reminder of the real life of books. It points us back to readers, without whom they are just lifeless assemblies of ink and paper. It offers us an intriguing glance into the lives of these anonymous people, with their shopping lists, holy pictures and letters of complaint.

By embracing the human aspect, De Buitlear enlarges interface between books and art. The rest of the show maps the territory with careful attention to detail but the Found Bookmark Project offers us a new port of entry into it.

Man on Hunger Strike over Kippenberger Sculpture

Pope Benedict XVI's summer break at a seminary in the mountains of northern Italy has led to demands for the removal of a "provocative" sculpture of a crucified frog on show in a nearby museum.

Local Catholics have complained to the police that the work by the German artist Martin Kippenberger, on show at the Bolzano Museum of Modern Art, is a "public obscenity". It depicts a bright green frog with its tongue hanging out, nailed to a cross, with a beer mug in one outstretched hand and an egg in the other...

Franz Pahl, the president of Trentino-Alto Adige regional council, has gone on hunger strike in protest over the exhibit.

From the Times online here

Here he is on the right.

Will Self interviews Martin Amis

I'm currently reading Will Self's first novel My Idea of Fun. It's the first thing by Self that I've read and it reminds me of Martin Amis. The dark humour and absurdly matter of fact attitude towards violence and depravity also reminds me of the David Shrigley cartoon Who I Am and What I Want which I posted a while ago in.

Here is an interesting interview of interview of Amis by Self. In the article Will Self makes a couple of references to the book he is writing at the time which is My Idea of Fun

Dashanzi - Beijing's Contemporary Art District

 The Guardian have a video about changes at Dashanzi the centre for contemporary art in Beijing. Former factory buildings had been occupied by small galleries but the area is being redeveloped due to the commercial success of Chinese art. This commercial development may have a negative affect on the local scene that enabled the success of the work in the first place.

Developers Using Artists in Brooklyn

There is an article in the NY Times about developers using artists to regenerate the Dumbo area of Brooklyn. This is not a new idea but the scale its happening on here is. Some artists are paying rent in paintings others not at all. "Some 1,000 artists and arts organizations are now working in the Dumbo section of Brooklyn, courtesy of the developers David Walentas and his son, Jed, partners in Two Trees Management. Operating on the principle that cultural ferment makes a neighborhood hot, Two Trees has offered creative people rents that they cannot refuse,"

Full Article

An Exhibition in 5 Chapters / Flax Residency Article

I'm off to Vilnius on Monday to create an installation continuing my project "The Found Bookmark Archive". I'll be collecting objects from Library books around the city which will then be on show in the Contemporary Art Centre.


I've also just finished a year long residency at Flax Art Studios in Belfast. I've written an article about my time there which was published in the Visual Artist's Newsheet and which I have attached. I have moved back to Dublin and will be looking for studio here shortly.

Flax Art Article: word document