ON POETRY, WRITING AND RANDOM CULTURAL MATTERS

Monday, 2 January 2017

Gavin Turk at Newport Street Gallery


 The commendable raison d'etre of Damien Hirst's beautifully designed and appointed Newport Street Gallery is to show his own collections of work, currently Gavin Turk.

Before the art, a word on the gallery: it's quite a pain to get to at present as Lambeth North tube is out of action, so we jumped off at Waterloo and then took a bus to Lambeth Palace, where I noted, en passant, that the Garden Museum is closed for renovation, mores the pity.

The gallery is spacious, totally fit for purpose and free. Just as well, as I can't imagine folk wanting to enrich Mr. Hirst any further. So, thanks then to philanthropy and his willingness to open his doors on a collection that would no doubt otherwise be sitting in a warehouse somewhere awaiting the inevitable fire.

The works on show are themed by room: the first two on Turk's all important signature in a variety of guises, including Klein dipped sponges, which I loved for their resemblance to basalt, and au Pollock in huge canvases. Then it's the Warhol homages; various screen prints of himself, and as Sid as Elvis, and the car crashes, followed by the waxworks. Finally there is the skip, and bronze cast rubbish bags and rubbish. Cave, the plaque he made for his unsuccessful MA show, is afforded a room of its own, which is a gloriously witty hanging. It made us both smile and giggle.

Pharmacy 2 for a very strong and reasonably priced flat white at the end of a morning's highly enjoyable and seemingly private viewing. Hardly anyone was there except us given that it required determination and that the rest of London was probably at the Oxford Street sales. A bus ride to Piccadilly took us home over Lambeth bridge and through a city wrapped in fog, which the watery sun tried to illumine. Joy.

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