Self-Portrait oil on canvas 24″ x 36″ 1987
In 1987-8 I was interviewed twice by Goldsmiths College….firstly by Mary (Post-partum) Kelly and Nick de Ville (Roxy Music covers) for the part-time M.A. In the second interview (in my squat/house on north-circular) I clammed up as they launched a scathing attack on Peter Fuller who had informed most of my recent work then indeed the copy of Beyond the Crisis in Art shown below was a virtual template for my work drawing on post Bomberg figurative expressionism right up to Auerbach/Kossoff. See work at link below…
Horrible Heads paintings Flash Slideshow
To say I was dismayed to be attacked by a graphic designer, and a student whose finest work I discovered later was hanging five bin bags on a wall a la Barry Flanagan was an understatement. Fuller’s erudition was obviously beyond the ‘panel’ and off they jaunted to help launch YBAism. I still think Fuller is some kind of genius and I still think Goldsmiths was not…..
The painting above was stolen by another graphic designer some time later posing as a proto-Saatchi and that was it ..game over……
The picture below is all that remains of ten years painting in ruins in a garage in my home town.
Moral of this story? I have none …but I was right to not get drawn into their vacuous course.
I did not realise that the damage it was doing would last twenty years….in all senses…
“Those of you who are still bound up in the ‘anachronistic daubing of woven fabrics with coloured mud’ should take courage. You may be producing only footnotes to art history: but there is a chance that your work is among the finest of its time.”
Peter Fuller- ‘Where was the art of the seventies?’ 1980
More Fuller related material at
meanwhile here a edit from latest Jonathan Jones Blog entry at Guardian
In response to…
I don’t think it is for nothing that most artists appear to work with intellectual ideas (no matter how third rate rather than what they have witnessed with their own eyes.
I think from what Hockney said when interviewed about the new large landscape is that there is a qualitative difference in sustained looking and ‘reimagining’ as opposed to the fleeting multi-visual parade that swims before us every day.
Art students are no longer taught as I was in the late seventies to look properly based on a tradition going back through Bauhaus to the 18th century life-model. Instead a student is more likely to be found ‘social-networking’ than drawing for a considerable period of time. The consequence is that a new generation of tutors unskilled in such a practice would not know how to ‘teach’ even if timetabled back into college degrees etc.
The blind leading the blind becomes a sad truth. We are media rich and time poor. In such a society it easy for people to actually believe that something like Emin’s doodles are something else because they ‘resonate in Frieze-land’. In truth it vacuous scribbling but in a corrupt critical framework beholden to the powers that be and they mostly commercial interests NOT critics we are stuck with them. One of Hockney’s line-drawings is worth a hundred YBA’s simply because he skilled, erudite and is not blind to the world around him.
Peter Fuller published a stinging attack on the vacuous in 1980 in Beyond the Crisis in Art……contemporary art students should have it on their reading lists instead of Hirst and Emin’s laughable tomes but guess which is the more likely volume on the studio floors….and as for Gray’s Anatomy….most probably think it a band anyway…
To try and rate some of the current Friezeland generation’s ideas as Third is really being kind and over-rating them substantially.