ISSUE 1 | NOVEMBER â€“ DECEMBER 2012
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CURRENT AFFAIRS & POLITICS ART, ARCHITECTURE & DESIGN FASHION MUSIC & FILM INSIDERS SOCIETIES YOUR SU CASUAL CORNER
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The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
music & film
from p. 13 art, architecture, & design from p. 7
insiders p. 23
from p. 17
Can there be hope for Syria? By LAURA LLEWELLYN
Photo: Zac Baille / AFP / Getty Images
Queries or comments? For queries regarding advertising, please contact Cleo Stringer at email@example.com. Please direct any other questions or comments to the editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org. uk. Editor-in-Chief | Hannah Zafiropoulos Deputy Editor | Chloë Ashby On-line Editor | Ieuan Willox Current Affairs & Politics Editor | Eliot Goat Fashion Editor | Giorgio Grande & Alex Moss Casual Corner | Amanda Mead Art, Architecture & Design Editor | Penelope de Jeu Music & Film Editor | Tom Mouna Advertising | Cleo Stringer Design & layout | Oliver Mitchell, Hongmiao Shi, and Amelie Timmermans Front Cover | Amelie Timmermans
WELCOME FROM THE EDITOR By HANNAH ZAFIROPOULOS Hello and welcome to the very first edition of The Courtauldian. Our initial ideas to create a newspaper were encouraged by the fantastic enthusiasm from students who really wanted a platform for their writing and ideas. Starting a newspaper from scratch meant that together we had the chance to choose a name, decide on sections and content, and design the layout. We wanted a publication to reflect the interests of our student body – something made by us, for us – and to that end we have included articles relating to art as well as wider issues that may affect us as students and as people engaged in discussing current affairs. Casual Corner will also show a more light-hearted side to the paper, including Courtauld lookalikes. After everybody had a chance to suggest ideas for articles, these were divided into five principle sections: Current Affairs & Politics, Art, Architecture & Design, Music & Film, Fashion and the
Julain Stallabrass’s Desert Island Discs p. 17
Casual Corner. Some of the highlights from this issue include a look at the American elections from both a political and an artistic angle, a Pre-Raphaelite photo shoot and an interview with Richard Cork and Cornelia Parker. There are many opportunities for students to get involved through writing articles to sending in ‘Weird Building of the Week’ or creating a crossword or puzzles. In an effort to combine our artistic tendencies with a traditional newspaper format we have also asked students to take photographs for the articles as well as create illustrations, and a big thank you for our front cover illustration must go to Amelie Timmermans. Special thanks for this issue must also go to Oliver Mitchell, Hongmiao Shi and Ieuan Willox for their never-ending commitment and hard work, and a huge thank you to all of the writers for the variety of insightful viewpoints expressed. If you would like to get involved in the next issue of the newspaper, email me at email@example.com.
CASUAL CORNER recipes, puzzles, crossword & more p. 26
In March 2011 the first Syrian protestors took to the streets following the arrest and torture of a group of students for writing antigovernment graffiti. Since then, the uprising has escalated into a fullscale civil war. 37,000 people have died, 400,000 have fled the country and 2.5 million have been internally displaced. With winter approaching, 3 million are in urgent need of food aid. A year ago, many believed it was only a matter time before President Bashar al-Assad’s regime was overthrown. Now there seems to be no end in sight. Each month this gruesome war of attrition begets a new barrage of atrocities and countless tales of human suffering. This article looks at how events of the last month fit into the overall picture of the conflict, and what they could mean for the future of Syria. With the re-election of Barack Obama comes the question of whether a second administration might mean a bolder approach from Washington in Syria. Historically, American presidents in their second term have devoted more to foreign policy. Within an hour of the election results, David Cameron had called on the president to join Britain in renewed efforts to “solve” the Syrian crisis. During a visit to the refugee camps in Jordon, the Prime Minister also pledged £40million in humanitarian aid and repeated an offer of safe passage out of the country to Bashar al-Assad. Within a day, Assad declared in an interview, “I am not a puppet, I wasn’t made by the West… I am Syrian… I have to live and die in Syria.” Two days later, in Qatar, on 11 November, Syrian opposition factions concluded a week of tense talks and established a 60-member leadership council. The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces is intended to act as the single entity that manages the political and military
affairs of the Syrian opposition. The coalition was welcomed by the West and the Arab League, who had become convinced of the ineffectiveness of the Syrian National Council. In the year since its formation, the SNC had failed to secure international recognition as the government-in-exile for all Syrians. The group, largely dominated by representatives of Syria’s majority Sunni Muslim community, was criticised for marginalising groups such as the Alawites – the sect of President Assad that currently controls Syria – as well as Christians, Kurds and other minority sets. The fragmented and disparate nature of the opposition, both politically and among the forces engaged in conflict, has been a key issue throughout the Syrian uprising. On the ground, selfgoverning rebel militiamen engaged in guerrilla warfare do not have the organization or external support they need to defeat the 200,000strong Syrian military. Moreover, in the absence of central leadership, the UN Human Rights Council has reported flagrant abuses of human rights within the rebel armies. Several videos showing summary executions of unarmed forces loyal to Assad have emerged. Western nations’ urgent calls for a streamlined opposition came amid reports that the lack of cohesion within the resistance isopening up space for jihadist groups. There is strong evidence that the Iraqi branch of al-Qaeda has infiltrated Syria. Recently the number of suicide attacks on Syrian government forces has increased. There have been at least 35 car bombings, four of which were claimed by Jabhat al-Nusra, a shadowy extremist group widely believed to have links to al-Qaeda. Last month, a spokesman of the ‘Revolutionary Transitional Council’ (a union of rebels formed in Aleppo this August) explained that Continued on page 3
National Gallery Seduced by Art p. 10
current affairs & politics Continued from page 2 “… although many reject the ideology of Islamist extremism, the fighters of Jabhat al-Nusra are regarded as heroes in Aleppo. They fight without fear or hesitation.” An opposition activist in Aleppo complained: “The Islamist groups are helping us to get back our rights, whereas the West is watching from the sidelines.” The new coalition’s credibility hangs on their ability to gain the support and loyalty of rebel groups and in doing so to prevent further human rights atrocities and drive out extremist militia groups. Critics are skeptical: will they succeed in achieving authority over groups that they did not form? How will they gain a base of popular support inside the country from exile? The new leader of the National Coalition, Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib, has called on the international community “to honour its commitments” by recognizing the group as the sole representative of the Syrian people. France and Turkey have done so, but Britain and the US have stalled, saying that they need evidence of ground-level support. The Arab League has called the coalition a “legitimate representative of the Syrian opposition.” As the Courtauldian went to print, the coalition was due to meet in London to put together a “clear plan” for political transition in Syria. Although time has yet to tell how the coalition will fare, this regrouping of the opposition will, no doubt, contribute to Assad’s sense of
international isolation. This week, Kofi Annan’s recent warning that the conflict could “explode over the borders” became reality, as Turkey and Israel were sucked into the fighting. Israel has fired “direct hits” on Syrian artillery after stray mortar shells landed in Israeli occupied territory. Meanwhile, as violence edged close to its border, Turkey called on NATO for the deployment of Patriot surface-to-air missiles. The city of Ceylanpinar has been caught up in the Syrian air assault of the rebel-held frontier town of Ras al-Ain. Once part of a single Ottoman-era city, the two are divided only by a flimsy boarder fence. The excessive force of the regime’s air strikes demonstrates the government’s willingness to sacrifice swaths of innocent civilians in the fight against the rebel insurgents. Ultimately, as long as the opposition forces have no air power, they stand little chance of toppling the Assad regime. NATO has ruled out enforcing a no-fly zone because of the risk to aircraft from Syrian missile batteries. But if Turkey does succeed in employing Patriot missiles, this could offer the rebels a chance to re-group within a safe ‘buffer zone’ along the boarder and develop effective military strategy. All hope lies with the National Coalition to unite the opposition and work together to bring about the demise of Assad’s rule. Regretfully, as we watch to see how events play out, only one thing seems certain: the bloodshed is far from over.
How I learned to love the mouse
Photo: DeviantArt user Doneky05 By JIM ROBERTS I have seen after the student survey that there is a large hatred for the mouse that scurries around the library and café. This tiny little creature is barely bigger than a PingPong ball. Ping-Pong balls have never hurt anyone, although if someone were to throw one at you over and over it would be a little annoying, yet that would be the same with a mouse. Now I know that a mouse is somewhat furrier and warmer than a Ping-Pong ball, but I don’t think that it could cause much more damage. Well, perhaps mice have got a slight reputation with death and disease, and the ability to frighten an elephant, but I’m not sure we have to worry about these with our little mouse. I realise that it
is a little unnerving noticing a small, little, ball run around out of the corner of your eye in the library, but I don’t really think a mouse can be blamed for the difference between you and a first. Just think of the mouse as a colleague, it has been probably been here longer than most of us, and therefore despite not paying fees could be considered a true Courtauldian. I’m not trying to say that we should worship this mouse, and treat him like a pet, but I don’t feel it would be possible to get rid of them. The building is old, and full of holes, and we are situated in central London, which is writhing with mice and other rodents. Undeniably the mice are here to stay; so perhaps it’s better to learn to love the mouse rather than continuing this wrath of hatred.
Photo: Fabio Bucciarelli/ AFP / Getty Images
We’ve never had it so good By ELIOT GOAT In 1957, Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan uttered the now (in)famous and often quoted phrase that ‘…most of us have never had it so good’. Exactly 65 years later and the phrase is in need of revision. Since the early 1990s, and especially since the financial crash of 2008 and the resulting economic recession, the prospects of one particular demographic have decreased more than almost any other: young people. As Judith Burns recently reported in the BBC, The Intergenerational Fairness Index, which compares the opportunity of different generational groups in specific areas from employment, pensions, housing and education, has claimed that “prospects for young people [since the start of the financial crisis] have nose-dived considerably”. Nowhere is this more evident than in relation to other, older demographic age groups. It is not only that opportunities have decreased dramatically in real terms for those aged under 30, it is this relative decrease in relation to other groups, especially those over 60, that makes the situation even more extreme. For the first time, across Europe and America, less than 50% of people believe that their children will have a higher standard of living than they did. The current unemployment rate amongst University leavers has been well documented. While the number of 16-24 year olds looking for work increased over the past three months, the total number of unemployed in this age bracket remains over one million, a staggering 21%. This number of 1624 year olds out of work is nearly the
entire total of those unemployed (1.6million, or 5%) when the financial crisis began. Paul Johnson, the director of The Institute of Fiscal Studies has stated that it is the young who are disproportionately affected by any recession but that, over the past 4 years, while youth unemployment has risen dramatically the same cannot be said of over-30s. Focusing on key areas such as unemployment, housing, education, debt, relative living standards, and future pensions, studies show that young people are increasingly being asked to support a burgeoning elderly population, who remain relatively wealthy with a significant disposable income, whilst witnessing a decrease in their own general prospects and standard of living. Mirroring a trend across much of the developed world (Japan is reaching a critical mass in its young/old population ratio), with birth rates steadily falling, people living longer and the baby-boomer generation entering retirement, an increasingly small, debt-ridden section of society is being burdened by ‘unaffordable entitlements promised to older generations’. Older voters have always been overrepresented in terms of voter turnout, and with a rise in the proportion of the population over 60 the influence of this group within the political process is only set to increase. Many political commentators see the possible emergence of a generational-specific political action group or party solely aimed at the needs of the elderly. All the while over 60s across the board enjoy free bus passes, free prescriptions and winter fuel allowance whilst young people are seeing their spending power
decrease, future pension investments reduced or even cut (just as the retirement age rises), job satisfaction plummet and housing costs soar. Many graduates are leaving university with debts of over £40,000 with little or no job prospects, with the increase in tuition fees set to make this figure even bigger. A report released in 2007 concluded that the best year for university leavers, taking into account employability, value for money, benefits and career prospects was 1970. Since then, and especially over the past 5 years, the burden on young people has increased whilst prospects have deteriorated. Gone are the days when graduates were met with job offers outside of graduation ceremonies by companies desperate to attract the brightest pupils. Working non-paid internships with no guarantee of a job at the end of it is not only demoralising but also, in some cases, making it financially impossible to make ends meet. While young people from more well off backgrounds can afford to work for nothing, the lack of even a basic salary coupled with the increased cost of further education puts off many from low-income households, so limiting social mobility even further. During the recent US election this mood was articulated by the unlikely voice of vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan. "College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters, and wondering when they can move out and get going with life." The Joseph Rowntree Foundation released a report in June of this year which predicts that the number of young Continued on page 4
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Lowest turnout ever: the police commissioner vote We’ve never had it so good Continued from page 3
Photo: Getty Images By HETTY UTTLEY The vote for the Police and Crimes Commissioner has proven to be, as many predicted, the lowest ever turnout for a national poll, beating the 24% in 1999 for the European elections with a measly 15% average. The government has come under heavy criticism and the Electoral Commission have plans to launch an enquiry into what seems to be a £75million failure in democracy. At a time of fierce austerity and a wavering public faith in the police force, this really couldn’t have come at a worst time. What were we actually supposed to be voting for? It was never really made clear to me, and now we are in a position where the public have chosen to vote in 12 out of 41 ‘independents’ to a role with an annual salary of up to £100,000 who have complete authority to hire and fire police chief constables, based on credentials listed on a website. At least 5 out of these 12 are former police officers, meaning that for those areas there hasn’t been much development; they are still in the position where the police are watching the police. Only 6 out of the 41 candidates elected were women, and none were from a black or Asian background, leaving us with a resounding majority of white males in these top jobs. However, since these positions come with the responsibility of hiring, firing, budgeting and strategizing the local police force, it will inevitably involve making difficult and unpopular decisions. What happens if the PCC comes under pressure or conflict? A 15% mandate is hardly a solid leg to stand on, and seems to undermine what the government are insisting is a very important role with a great deal of impact on the community. About a week ago I received, completed and sent off my ballot paper casting my vote on who I wanted to see as my home town’s
‘Police and Crime Commissioner’ or ‘PCC’. On mentioning this to my peers many stared back blankly, uninterested and unaware that such a vote was taking place and that they had a say in who would run the police force in their local area. Reasons for this could be one of many; the fact that we are students in London, the one place in England and Wales that is excluded from the vote. And obviously the lack of publicity about the election is a factor; I was completely unaware of the actual date of the election until I started to write this article. Thirdly, the confusion over what the role of a PCC is, and the effect they will have on our daily lives edges the election further into obscurity. Overshadowing from the American elections and a general lack of interest in politics from people of our demographic are perhaps causes beyond the government’s control, yet the whole situation seems to suggest a disconnection between what the public actually cares about and what those in charge think we do. My personal experience of casting my vote was very simple and uncomplicated. This was mostly due to my complete lack of information on any of the candidates that were written on my ballot paper. My vote relied completely on party allegiance and when I did eventually go online to look up the actual important information that would affect my vote experience, qualifications and aspirations for the police force what was provided on choosemypcc.org.uk was exactly as expected. Those candidates who were representing a political party established how they would work to resist the damaging policies and actions of the opposing government, and the independent candidates proclaimed adamantly that the PCC should not be an untrustworthy politician. Only two out of five of my possible PCC’s had provided any information on the
police elections website. Even the independent candidate, who would seemingly rely completely on the information he provided, hadn’t bothered to complete the questions or include a manifesto. However, clearly in other areas the independent manifesto was surprisingly successful, in some cases uprooting a fiercely imbedded loyalty to a political party. This could be evidence to what the public see as important criteria for a PCC many independents had backgrounds in the police force or the law. Or perhaps it just suggests further that the public have an increasing aversion to politicians. Labour seem to have succeeded in infiltrating the traditionally blue south with a total of 13 candidates elected, yet they suffered an unexpected blow when John Prescott was denied the position in favour of his Conservative counterpart, for which he blamed a lack of information and claimed that he wouldn’t run again. Ukip were more successful than the Liberal Democrat party, who suffered further proof of a complete lack of public confidence, when in the Coventry polls there were about 100 more spoilt ballot papers than Lib Dem votes. This, however, is hardly surprising, after fielding only 24 out of a possible 41 candidates. But at least I had access to what limited information was out there. Out of 40 million eligible voters, 7 million are without internet access and therefore were required to request hard copies through a Home Office Hotline, recently described in a Guardian article by an unnamed employee as ‘totally shambolic’. Surely, if such a poor turnout was expected, the government should have done all that they could to make voting easy and accessible for everyone rather than excluding a large proportion of those whose vote really matters. There was never going to be a successful turn out for the PCC votes. Holding an
election at such a non-descript time of year, hardly advertising (except for during X Factor and Downton Abbey a few weeks before the polls took place) and a lack of public knowledge or interest means that it is unsurprising that at a polling station in Newport in Gwent no one bothered to turn up to vote at all. Perhaps that’s the most disheartening thing of all; at a time of international political turmoil in the Middle East and electoral fever in the US we should be celebrating and taking full advantage of our rights to democracy, yet this record breaking turn out proves as a public we have lost confidence in the difference we can make.
people under 30 unable to afford to move away from their parents will hit 3.7 million by 2020. Whilst the economic hardships and living standards of the young have been discussed at length in the media of late, it is the effect this shifting level of demographic responsibility has on society which is perhaps the most long-lasting and worrying. The assumption that if you worked in your youth you would be able to enjoy your pension when you retired has been shattered. This has led to resentment amongst the young and at the unwritten social contract between old and young and between work and retirement. The sense of social injustice is evident when those now in their 60s can enjoy their retirement having benefited from free education, relatively low-cost housing and ringfenced pensions while leaving those younger to pay for it. The portrayal of young people has also been equally schizophrenic. They have been cast as victims of an unfair and maladjusted society and at the same time indicative of an apathetic benefit culture and social malaise that is affecting Britain. For the generation who were born and grew up in the time of Macmillan they may indeed have never had it so good but for those born more recently this seems a long way from ever becoming a reality again.
Turn around now: 21% drop in study visas over 1 year
By GERARDO NAVARRO & MADELEINE VAUDREMER
The number of study visas granted has plunged by 21% in a year, as part of David Cameron’s crackdown on immigration. Last year 216,000 more people came to Britain than went, and Mr Cameron aims to reduce that number to the ‘tens of thousands’ by 2015. But why target international students in a country where higher education is one of the most important export industries? 30% of Courtauld students are from overseas, and each one pays on average £8,665 more than a Home/EU student. Overseas students from all degree programmes are the financial building blocks of the Institute. Since November 2010 Theresa May’s efforts to keep the government’s promise have damaged the economy and universities. The first people to feel
the extent of the changes are students who entered the country under the old, more flexible immigration policy. Graduates of 2012 would probably not have paid a fortune to study in Britain if they had known that they were not going to be allowed to work here afterwards. Mr Cameron felt it was necessary to address immigration because it is a subject for concern for more Britons than the inhabitants of any other large European country: 62% feel that immigrants are invading the job market, compared with a European average of 45% (The Economist). Options for slowing down immigration have been limited, however. Most immigrants come from the EU, and Britain would have to take the drastic step of leaving the EU in order to close its doors to them. The government cannot kick out asylum-seekers for fear of Continued on page 5
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012 Continued from page 4 violating their human rights, and being seen doing it. Of course, illegal immigration is an ongoing battle. Non-EU workers and students are the only category which the government can touch, and who have a significant impact on the figures.
Applying alone costs £239 Honing down on overseas students mainly means taking away their right to work. Towards this end, the government eliminated the poststudy work visa in April. This visa allowed students to look for work for two years after graduation; now they must go home as soon as they finish their degree. If they do find an employer, he must provide a starting salary of £20,000 (that of an Art History graduate averages £18,588 according to The Complete
University Guide), and proof that a native could not do the job. In other words, the government expects a working foreigner who has barely left university to be more highly skilled than their UK born counterparts, having gone through the same higher education, or face deportation. The government is also keeping a tight rein on universities, through the UK Border Agency. The UKBA accredits a university with the status of ‘sponsor’ when it is satisfied with class attendance (professors must take attendance in order to ensure that students are not holding down a job rather than studying) and the standard of English. London Met had to leave its students on the doorstep because it no longer qualifies as a decent sponsor. At the Courtauld monitoring attendance has now been upped to every interaction whether that is class, personal tutor meeting, field trip, or any such interaction between institute and student. Finally, the government cut down the number of hours students
can wait on tables part-time from twenty to ten per week. Overseas students now face bureaucratic complications that are bound to dissuade even the most perseverant applicant for a visa. Applying alone costs £289 and you are liable to have to pay that sum again if, as is likely, your application is rejected the first time on the basis of a faulty detail. Many people have to apply twice, and a few have even sued the UKBA to overturn the rejection. Not only is the process expensive, it is slow. Collecting a visa at home from the UKBA can take up to nine months: the UKBA prevented some applicants for poststudy visas in 2011 from leaving their country by holding their passports for long periods. Student immigrants from forty-two countries - mainly in South America, Africa, and Asia - all have to register with the police within a week of arriving in Britain. The only police station registering them is in Cardiff, and queues gather as early as midnight. The requirements an
applicant has to meet are even more absurd. For instance, you must have the funds for tuition and living expenses already in your bank account in their entirety. Most people do not have £24,000 handy. The irony of the situation is that the rules for applying change constantly, confusing students as well as potential employers. Few companies can afford to spend time untangling the mess, and must turn down overseas students. The government is acting blindly upon a promise it made in the flurry of the elections. Without regard for students who would make it into top universities, and could be an asset to Britain, the government has complicated the shift from study to work, as well as the visa application. To keep a promise in this case is to kill promise.
Not only is the process expensive, it is slow
Politics and propaganda: The art of the Obama campaign By ROSILY ROBERTS There is absolutely no denying that President Obama made history in 2008, when he became the first black president of the US. He has irrevocably changed the field of international politics. However, his effects have been more far-reaching, branching out into the domain of art and popular culture. Obama’s campaign posters have had particular influence in the art world, inspiring thousands of artists to jump on this ever-growing fashion for the propaganda turned art. Traditionally, such political posters have been reserved for the government or special commissions designed to be propaganda and propaganda alone. Take the posters of Soviet Russia, for example. These posters were designed with one goal in mind - to display the power of the Bolsheviks and gain support for the party. It is true that these posters fill our gallery spaces now, but at the time they were not created as works of art. They have become art only through retrospect. The posters created in support of Obama in 2008 were not that; they were created self-consciously, aware of their place in the art world. The most famous example of this is the popular, hugely recognisable image created by Shepherd Fairey in 2008. This stylized portrait of Obama in red, blue and beige with the word ‘Hope’ underneath became instantly recognisable and extremely famous, so famous, in fact, that it came to represent the 2008 presidential campaign. This simple, eye catching and, above all, memorable image shot to instant fame, paving the way for many others. In 2009, Shepherd Fairey’s original mixed media stenciled
version of the portrait was acquired by the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The reactions to the Obama campaign by artists were phenomenal, and incredibly varied. Many stayed within the realms of graphics, combining simple, memorable images, mainly of Obama’s face, with words or slogans, following in the vein of Shepherd Fairey. Yet others were far more painterly in their style, using expressive brush strokes and thick paint to create Obama’s face. Many use text, often quite powerful and emotive, such as ‘Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.’ Interestingly, there were also many responses in other languages: Spanish, understandably, but in German and French too. These posters differ from the ones created in Soviet Russia or Nazi Germany as they are created as pure art and not a functioning propaganda. That is not to say that they did not directly help Obama’s campaign. Websites such as ‘Design for Obama’ encouraged artists, or, anyone, for that matter, to submit a poster design, and, needless to say, the responses were vast. This is not propaganda turning into art; this is art becoming propaganda. Interestingly, in the 2012 campaign, these infamous Obama posters actually became propaganda for the Republican party, who claimed that the fading colours of the 2008 posters, which still hang on many bedroom walls, represents the fading of dreams and promises made in the first campaign. This was a hugely poignant element of their campaign, speaking directly,
perhaps, to those Obama supporters who had been disappointed with his first term. Yet, as the results of the election clearly illustrate, these posters, like Obama himself, continue to stand for hope and equality.
Below: Shepard Fairey’s now iconic Obama ‘Hope’ poster, which first became internationally famous during the 2008 presidential election
From ‘Hope’ to ‘Nope’ and back again Two contrasting views from an Englishman in New York By ELIOT GOAT Hope: When I woke up on Wednesday morning (the day after the election) I felt a mixture of huge relief but also a feeling of disappointment in myself that I had bought into the negativity of the Romney campaign and the media predicting that it would be a close election. The media circus made me believe that so many Americans were buying into Romney’s lies. I forgot and lost sight of how Americans can sometimes surprise you with their optimism and hope for a better future for everyone, not just the few. At some point, I lost faith in people to do the right thing. I was so relieved and happy that the polls and all the anxiety and uncertainty leading up to the election were over. The feeling is so different from 2008. Gone is the euphoria of making history that first time, of having a candidate of integrity, someone you can believe in and, dare I say, follow. Obama made me want to be a better person. He still does, but that euphoria has been tempered by the last 4 years of Republican obstinacy, the rise of Tea Party politics and the worst partisanship seen in a generation or more. Now that it is too late, the Republicans realise that you can no longer be a party of white old men and that their politics and ideas must also include blacks, Latinos, women, youth and all the rest of the 99%. It will be interesting to see how the Republican Congress acts during Obama’s second term. John Boehner (Senate majority leader) and Mitch McConnell, and all those in congress who signed Grover Norquist’s pact not to raise taxes had made it their sole purpose and one unifying Republican aim to do all they could to ensure that Obama remained a one-term President. Demographics is the big take away for this election. This election demonstrated that policies and party platforms have to be able to speak to, include and reflect socalled minority groups: black, Latino, women, youth, gay. Obama’s acceptance speech was a great glimpse back to the soaring rhetoric of 2008. I think the last campaign speech of his career, which he gave in Iowa on the Monday night before the election, was incredible too, maybe even more moving because it was the end either way and he knew it. The tears that rolled down his face may have seemed cheesy at best, and at worst - coming from any other politician on the eve of an election – disingenuous, but with Obama you felt that he truly meant it. That, despite the months of campaigning, endless speeches, town hall meetings, innumerable handshakes that he was still just a man like you or me. And in the end I Continued on page 6
6 From ‘Hope’ to ‘Nope’ and back again Continued from page 5 think that is what draws people to him. To steal from the soundtrack of Obama’s campaign: Signed, sealed, delivered… he’s ours. Forward! Nope: This election was all about demographics. The evolving makeup of the electorate saw a permanent and fundamental realignment in the political landscape and what has been described as a shift towards ‘identity politics’. Never before has the divide between two halves of America, between the ‘have’s and have not’s’ as portrayed by the media, and two visions for the future, appeared more apparent. However, whilst the media painted this election in black and white terms (not racially but ideologically) as a fight for the soul of America, of big government versus personal enterprise, in the long term the two candidates were far closer than many made out. Either man would have faced a divided Congress with the reality of having to work across the aisle to present and implement a workable plan for economic recovery.
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
The race problem in feminism today
‘Now that it’s too late, the Republicans realise that you can no longer be a party of white old men’ With unemployment at record highs and public confidence in both the President and the economy at record lows this should have been in the bag. The inevitable Republican in-fighting will no doubt round on several ‘bogey-men’ who will ultimately be held responsible for this defeat. However, whatever the final outcome of this process of collective soul-searching, there was a feeling on election night and in the days following, amongst the debris of unused confetti and unspoken victory speeches, that what is most needed is a return to the fiscal conservatism which lies at the roots of the Republican Party. Ironically, it was the focus on fiscal issues, rather than conservative social crusades, which saw the Tea Party initially gain so much ground support. The tack to the right on abortion, gay marriage and immigration is what ultimately cost the Republicans the election, both for the Presidency and in the Senate. The increasingly marginalised appeal of these issues goes hand in hand with the emergence of a new ‘coalition of minorities’ which looks set to become a new majority, and while they may not be united by any one single issue, what does seem to unify them and turn them out to vote in large numbers is their dislike and fear of the old white, male majority which is, or rather has become, the Republican Party.
By UMBER GHAURI In a year when Caitlin Moran, leading voice of feminism and author of ‘How to be a Woman’ stated that she ‘literally could not give a shit’ about the representation of women of colour on television, racism in feminism has reared its ugly head. Following the backlash targeting Moran, the wider problem of race’s intersections with feminism became a debate within feminist circles. The Courtauld Equality Society launched shortly after this with our first event: a discussion on feminism with the editors of Vagenda Magazine, a very popular feminist blog featuring witty and provocative articles on feminism today. The Vagenda is arguably the most popular feminist website in the UK, especially for younger adults. At the event the editors, Rhiannon and Holly, who also have a weekly column in the New Statesman, led a discussion on feminism. The audience repeatedly asked about Moran’s comments and how the editors reacted to this flippant and blunt display of racism. Rhiannon and Holly shied away from the topic in general, hesitantly defending Moran but mainly arguing their lack of influence over Moran
and ultimately acquiescing to the audience’s general will for Moran to apologise and examine her words and attitudes. A few days later, their New Statesman column ‘In Defence of Caitlin Moran and Populist Feminism’ added fuel to the fire. They argued that those criticising and attacking Moran were educationally elitist and did not understand that populist, funny, and easy-to-understand feminism was the most powerful and vital tool for engaging the masses. The multitude of problems with their article can be distilled. Firstly, they assume that race is irrelevant to most women but that underrepresentation of working class women is a central issue, which, as working class women themselves, they seek to rectify; secondly, they argue that intersectional feminism is too difficult to understand for most state school girls and the general public, it is only the territory of those who have an MA in Gender Studies, and is therefore useless on a practical level; and thirdly, they argue that Caitlin Moran and populist feminism is the best voice that feminism has. Additionally, the editors have asserted on twitter and at the event that there is no such
thing as a Tory feminist, and that the principles of Conservatism are totally in opposition with feminism. Does their brand of feminism really seek to be maximally inclusive? In the twitter uproar immediately following Moran’s ill-received tweet, they tweeted ‘Please, chill out’ and ‘So instead of fighting the patriarchy we're wasting time on in-fighting? Count me out. I'm off for a brew.’ I wish I could say these tweets occurred after the event, but I can’t. Perhaps I should’ve rethought things at that point but I think the shock of what felt like betrayal from my feminist peers was too strange and disheartening to fully understand. Honestly, I hoped that I had misunderstood their tweets. As the Head of Courtauld Equality, I would firstly like to admit my regret in having the Vagenda editors launch our society and lead the discussion. The Equality society originated in my wish to have a space where issues of equality, including class, gender and race, were seen as relevant to one another and undeniably interwoven. This is why we are not the ‘Feminist’ society. Additionally, I had never heard the word ‘intersectional’ when I created the society, the concept just seemed like common sense to me. It is common sense to me, maybe because I am a woman of colour, and maybe because I am just not as narcissistic and prejudiced as I feel Moran, Rhiannon and Holly to be. Our next event will have taken place by the time this article is published, and this will be a panel of four women of colour discussing issues of race as they intersect with feminism. It is important to explain here that whatever oppressions you face, they are not separate. If you are
is not, for example, either racist or sexist in any given scenario, but a unique combination of the two. Consider how stereotypes of black women differ from those of both black men and white women. Even consider how Rhiannon, Holly and Moran experienced the difficulties of working class origins, and how embedded this is in their feminist identities - that is intersectionality, whether they want to call it that or not. Now you might ask how we solve this problem. I would venture that the solution can only take the form of increasing the representation of different feminists, or just of different people. Moran’s flippant remark was a response to a question about whether she cared about how the creator of HBO’s ‘Girls’ had quite remarkably failed to include a single person or woman of colour in a show set in present day Brooklyn. While this example has its own particularities, the general problem lies in platforms and selfrepresentation. Lena Dunham (creator of ‘Girls’), Caitlin Moran, Rhiannon and Holly have been given a platform to express their own experiences as women, and this expression has proved quite extraordinary. It is in their role to represent others that they fail. The solution is not really for them to represent the ‘other’, but for women of colour, trans people, queer people, disabled people, working class people, fat people, and everyone else who is invisible in the media, to represent themselves. This is what my society aims to do, and that is why my position doesn’t mean it is my job to write your narratives, but to give you a platform to write your own.
one of the few state school-educated students at the Courtauld who also happens to be a woman, queer, not heterosexual, disabled, or any number of other things, you will know for a fact that your oppression
Film still from The Girls (2012)
art, architecture & design Kaliforniacation: An interview with Heidi Locher
Photo: Ryan Koopmans By ALICE THOMSON Not many artists have a background which is comprised of graduating as an architect from the RCA and then going onto designing some of London’s most celebrated private homes. Taking up a Fine Art masters at Central St. Martins in 2006, Heidi Locher transitioned into the art world becoming in every way a mutli-disciplinary figure; her current project Studio Locher focuses on her design and art work. Since then Locher has exhibited both in group and solo shows at The Whitechapel Gallery, The Jerwood Space and The Rod Barton Gallery. Her newest exhibition, Hotel Kalifornia (9th November- 27th November) at 28 Redchurch Street is part of a creative collaboration between Studio Locher and the Londonewcastle project. Heidi answered some questions in the week the exhibition opened about the project, her position between artist and architect and what this conflation of roles has meant for her work. You originally trained as an architect before taking a Fine Arts masters in 2006, would you still primarily call yourself an architect? I would call myself an artist, however the two are totally interlinked. Both ‘roles’ are conceptually led and since my concerns, in whatever I am designing or creating, are with intensity and atmosphere, one leads very easily to the other. I like it that I can do both. In architecture and design, you always have to resolve questions that have been posed in the quest for some kind of ideal or perfection. In art, your job is to explore those notions while unearthing deeply personal feelings. Artists and designers are lucky as we get to express ourselves fully through our work, whether it be in the design of a hotel or through delving into feelings of disengagement and hidden memory that might be acted out in a hotel such as in the Hotel Kalifornia exhibition.
The exhibition deals with personal mental scars that are hidden. In the exhibition’s short film this ended in a redemptive episode, whereas the photographs- in particular the super-enlarged photographs, seemed not to do this. What caused you to portray a redemptive episode in the film in particular? In the film Hotel Kalifornia, the idea was to be the voyeur - you as the viewer are looking into these hidden worlds as you move along the corridor of the hotel. The film’s role in the overall exhibition is to explore the notion of hidden memories and deep personal anguish. It is an investigation into moments of change that can leave hidden mental scars. The film is set within a modern hotel room, it has three sections, each focusing on one of the three stages of a woman’s life but all the roles are played by the same actress. The terrible moment of change is seen through the eyes of the child. The teenager suffers the consequences of the trauma while the adult experiences the ultimate cathartic release that, in turn, brings redemption. The use of slow motion, stylised white lighting and penetrating detail are designed to heighten the physical and emotional aspects creating a ghost-like, claustrophobic atmosphere. This redemptive episode allows us the notion of a continual cycle of life that, in turn, links back to childhood. You designed The Jerwood Space in Southwark, and in 2009 you exhibited your concrete painting installations there in Heidi Locher: The Silence of Sleep. These works were meant to disrupt the gallery space that you designed, and in Hotel Kalifornia there are similar scenes of destruction/disruption to the ‘hotel’. Do you think that the implications when space is disrupted are something that your interdisciplinary practice is predisposed to? Yes, I hope that this gives the work its power because I can read the
architecture then deconstruct and interrupt the spaces. I really like the idea of pushing preconceived ideas and unsettling those notions of perfection and beauty. The powerbragging aesthetic of hotel architecture, which serves, in this case, to control and contain, is set against fragility and extreme anxiety and emotion.
‘I really like the idea of pushing preconceived ideas and unsettling those notions of perfection and beauty’ You made the short film in the exhibition with your son, Frederick Paxton. Is this collaboration something you would repeat in the future? Are there any other artists/architects you would like to collaborate with? My son Frederick Paxton is a filmmaker who studies and works in New York. We hope to go to Japan after Christmas to shoot a short film we have been working on called Strange Hinterland. I completely trust Fred's' creative imagination and uncanny ability to cut straight to the heart of an idea and this has enabled us to form a powerful working partnership. In terms of dream collaborations, my hero is Ai Weiwei. I also adore the work of Cai Guo-Qiang. It would also be fantastic to work with a musician - my all-time favourite is Ry Cooder, that slide guitar is so evocative and takes you to that place in your imagination. His music would also link me neatly back to Hotel Kalifornia and Los Angeles where it all began.
Michael Werner Gallery: Peter Zebra Gallery: Rolling Stones Doig exhibition (until 22nd December) (until 26th January) This Scottish painter, famously If you’re an avid fan of the 70’s iconic known as Europe’s most expensive British rock band you’ll be at the living artist, is back at the Werner Zebra Gallery in no time. The space Gallery for his first solo exhibition has exhibited a selection of recently since his 2008 retrospective at the discovered (Peter Webb’s Tate. Look out for ‘Figure by a pool’ promotional shoot) and rare on the first floor. His manipulation photographs to celebrate the 50 of the texture and palette creates a years of the legendary Rolling figure fixed in time against this Stones. The exhibition shows the colouristic hazy and dream-like group in very different lights environment. through the varied photographers. You’ll fall in love again. Barbican: Random International: rain room (until 3rd March) Themes and Variations: Chinese There’s still time before it closes but make sure not to miss this contemporary art (until 8th December) manifestation of digital-based contemporary art. The work invites Gallerist Liliane Fawcett has compiled a body of original work you to ‘control the rain’: simply from 16 emerging designers from watch or enjoy wading your way through. The installation uses 2,500 China. This new generation of furniture-makers are creating in a litres of water, falling at 1,000 litres prolific way, freed from the artistic per minute...but you don’t get wet. suppression under Mao. Make sure Make sure to bring a good friend or to check out Caroline Cheng’s book, queueing time is approximately two hours! incredible hand made porcelain butterflies which she has stitched by hand.
Weird building of the week
Illustration by Hongmiao Shi By ALICE THOMSON There’s lots of weird stuff about. Things which are odder than managing to find your seminar room at the Courtauld. This week’s ‘weird’ building is the Crossness Pumping station, because it was designed to pump Victorian sewage, but looks like the set of Kiera Knightley’s next period drama. Built by Sir Joseph Bazalgette in Abbey Wood, South East London, it was officially opened by the Prince
of Wales in 1865. This illustration shows the immense amount of ornamental Victorian cast ironwork of the interior to the Beam Engine House, which is a Grade 1 listed industrial building.
Spotted a weird building on your travels around London? Send your weird building in to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
The Rodin Project
Public art must not be sacred By LUCY WATLING
By LISA OSBORNE The sculpture and drawings of Rodin are the inspiration and impetus behind the latest dance venture from the choreographer Russell Maliphant titled The Rodin Project. Incorporating a fusion of contemporary dance, street dance, breaking, popping and locking, and capoeira martial arts, Maliphant and his dancers create a dance language that is diverse and eclectic. Maliphant and his company created a dynamic and engaging dance performance that had you marvelling at the incredible strength and beauty of the human form. We were shown the movements of the body through the acrobatics and contortions of the six person dance troupe, consisting of 3 men and 3 women. Maliphant has stated that it was not only the sculptural work of Rodin that inspired him, but the life of the artist himself, and this is evident in the enigmatic choreography and setting. Indeed the production is a truly collaborative production between choreographer and individual dance talent showcasing a variety of fortes. There is also the strong collaborative relationship between the composer Alexander Zekke, lighting designer Michael Hulls, set designers Es Devlin and Bronia Housman and costume designer Stevie Stewart. Thus the team behind The Rodin Project function collaboratively and reconstruct some of Rodin’s most famous sculptures. The first half seemed to be an abstracted representation of the artist’s studio, with white drapery and cloth covering the set like sculptor’s dustsheets. The dancers emulated the poses of Rodin’s work; the female dancers, also dressed in white draping material, held walking poses and their raised arms were reminiscent of Rodin’s Age of Bronze. As beautiful as the forms and shapes created were, it meant the first half was slow and static. Movements were constrained and stiff, and there was no sense of flowing continuity. Almost like the rough sketches of a preliminary sculpture, the dance felt like a series of positions rather than a continuous course of movement; shapes and forms on a page with no context or setting.
The second half of the production was when the sculptures started to come to life. The drapery was removed from the set to reveal large black building blocks from which the dancers tumbled, slid and hung. The movements became faster and more violent in rhythm with the staccato strings of composer Alexander Zekke’s score. Dickson Mbi’s popping and locking was particularly impressive, with his body contorting into unbelievable shapes and moving in a rigid and controlled way across the set. There was also a particularly beautiful sequence where the three female dancers and Thomasin Gülgeç, formerly the star of the Rambert dance company, moved fluidly with one another. The dancer’s arms intertwined and turned one another and supported each other’s bodies in fluid synchronicity that was beautiful to watch. Considering the source of inspiration, some nudity was an inevitability. There was a fair share of nudity from the male contingent of the dance troupe with much male torso on show and used solely for highlighting the muscularity and the great degree of strength needed to perform some of the most acrobatic of sequences (which was in no way a delight to the female members of the audience). One such passage and a highlight of the performance was a sequence between Mbi and Tommy Franzén in which the two dancers showcased a gravity defying arrangement using solely the strength of their arms as they held their positions and hung off a vertical block of scenery. The scene was reminiscent of the Gates of Hell, with the two dancers fluidly moving up, down and in front of the rectangular block creating shapes and forms and tumbling from the top in ways that not even Rodin could have imagined the human body capable of. There was also a sequence in which a female dancer moved elegantly fluidly without the hindrance of costume. However in no way was the use of the nude female form gratuitous or voyeuristic. Hull’s lighting prevented the dance from looking pornographic, but captured the sensuality and beauty of the movements. The nudity was a visual reminder of the source material and the role of the female as model and
Photo: Laurent Phillipe muse. Having said that, it did also highlight this rather demeaning role of women in art history, and one that sadly was also reflected in this dance piece. The dominance and incredible strength of choreography for the male dancers meant that the women were given a rather backseat role. Their choreography always seemed superfluous and unnecessary, like staffage in a landscape. They seemed like mere foils for the male dancers and sadly were quite forgettable. If the choreography for the female dancers was enhanced then the production would improve fantastically. As it stands this production is already a revised edition of the dance premiered in February. It seems the production today is much smoother and less frenetic than its predecessor; however there is still room for much more improvement. It would have been all too easy for Maliphant to create a pastiche of Rodin’s sculpture, with the dancers recreating the statues and then moving directly into another pose. However, what Maliphant creates instead are subtle allusions and phrases that are reminiscent of Rodin’s sculpture. It makes the dance accessible and open; nothing is lost without intimate knowledge of Rodin’s oeuvre. Likewise to the art history student like myself there were recognisable suggestions of The Burghers of Calais, The Thinker, The Three Shades, and his sculptural studies of the nude form. You get the sense that Maliphant only worked from images of the sculptures rather than visiting the actual three dimensional works. To art historians who always believe that seeing the original artwork in the flesh is the only way to truly appreciate and understand it this may seem counterintuitive. However, I believe it has helped Maliphant to create a piece of dance that prevents it from being a pointless repetition of Rodin’s work but transforms it into something much more interesting. What he captures is the essence of the sculptural process and Rodin’s work. There is the distinct understanding of what the human body can do and a sense of coming full circle; from the human body, to the sculptural form through Rodin’s hands and reinterpreted through the human body again.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the sculptures of Henry Moore. I admire the politics of a man who sought to make his sculpture publicly accessible. And growing up in Leeds, home to the Henry Moore Institute, I fully appreciate the impact these pieces can have on an urban landscape. Yet I have to agree with Tower Hamlets Mayor Lutfur Rahmen in his decision to sell off Moore’s Draped Seated Woman, a decision
sale is a mistake, Tower Hamlets residents deserve ‘great art’, to sell would set a dangerous precedent allowing state organisations at al evels to slash funding for the arts. Communities need art, the chance to see it, to understand it, to create it. But the grossly inflated prices for certain modern artists today are entirely incompatible with these ‘arts in the community’ arguments. According to towerhamletsfoodbank.org.uk, the
Photo: Howard Stanbury which has attracted much hostility in recent weeks. The borough acquired the sculpture in the 1960s direct from the artist – at a reduced price – to adorn the Stifford housing estate in Stepney Green. Following the demolition of the estate and acts of vandalism against the sculpture, it was removed for its own protection to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park near Wakefield, where it has remained for the last fifteen years. The sculpture is now worth an estimated £20 million; the council is facing £90 million of cuts over the next four years. The great and the good of Britain’s cultural life have come out in opposition to this planned sale, from Tate director Sir Nicholas Serota to the Olympic ‘man du jour’ Danny Boyle. The general consensus: the
average annual salary of a Tower Hamlets resident is £11,400. How can a council – charged with supporting the welfare of its residents – justify this size of asset sitting unused, and as far as its London-based citizens are concerned, unseen, in a West Yorkshire park? Sell the sculpture. Set aside £100,000 for ten new public artworks, by upcoming British artists, to be displayed around the borough. Set aside another £100,000 to fund sustainable art education programmes in the area, perhaps a further £100,000 to fund undergraduate fine arts scholarships. You still have £19,700,000 remaining to address Tower Hamlets’ more material needs. I know Henry Moore would have agreed.
Photo: Laurent Phillipe
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Why every architecture lover should go to Yale By WELLS FRAY-SMITH
Louis I. Kahn’s (1901-1974) Yale Center for British Art, 1969-1974, with its concrete frame and infill walling of dark, unpolished stainless steel and glass, has an unassuming exterior. Tucked into a corner, the entrance is difficult to find and does nothing to draw you in. As I walked through the entrance into a vast atrium, however, I was silenced. Immediately, I felt the magic of Kahn’s work: the integration of mass, space and light. The walls appeared hefty and monumental in an unlikely marriage of wood and concrete, and yet they soared to the roof where daylight filtered through modular, concrete skylights. As I progressed through the building, the plan became clear. The building is arranged around two courtyards; the first serves as the entrance hall on the ground level and the second serves as gallery space. The two courtyards are connected by a main columnar stairway that stands as a sculpture as it rises through the second courtyard and serves other floors. Gallery spaces encircle the courtyards on three floors. On the top floor, the walls of the courtyard are perforated to yield large interior windows that look onto the courtyard and opposite gallery space, giving me a glimpse of
what I would experience as I progressed through the Center. The windows frame space and make it appear as though the architecture itself is a work of art. Looking through these windows, I felt as though I were on a balcony observing a powerful landscape. Suffused with light from above, the massive circle of the stairwell and the quadrilaterals of the windows, skylights, hung pictures, and courtyard itself were united as a whole. The effect was an interaction between circle and square, mass and volume, solid and void that made all the forms seem true, right, deep and platonically ideal. What would have on their own been heavy, simple and imposing, together appeared magnanimous, intimate and timeless. The primitive forms seemed sanctified by light streaming through strong, square skylights. I watched parts of forms dissolve and materialise in the light due to changing external weather conditions and my own movement. With every glance, the spaces and forms in the Center changed. Light gave life and simultaneously imbued the forms with silence, peace and otherworldliness. I could feel the silence as a potent presence, as though the building had an aura that stretched beyond its physical limits. Walking into the stairwell jolted me out of my awe. Having come from a large, rectangular space of silence
and light, I was suddenly confronted by the opposite. The stairwell was small, circular, dark and loud. The shift from ethereal to material grounded me back into the present moment. I became aware that I could no longer drift, look and respond; I had to concentrate and walk up the steps. I could feel, as well as see, different functions of each space. By creating two contrasting spaces — ‘served’ and ‘servant’— Kahn’s building elicits responses at all levels: visual, intellectual, visceral and emotional.
As light transformed the courtyard and gallery spaces, I too felt transformed. The ideal forms of formidable dimensions, the combination of materials—concrete, oak, travertine and linen—and most of all, Kahn’s use of mystical light transported me from everyday somnolence to feeling awakened and more at peace. I believe Kahn’s intention was to create a temple to creativity that would instil in the visitor a meaningful way to experience art. I was overwhelmed by the building I had travelled to see, but surprisingly, I was not inspired to experience the art actively. I felt ready to receive whatever the space— not the art—had to give. Functionally, the building’s power may well be its greatest failure, but spiritually, it is surely its greatest success, providing a pure, uncompromised shelter for the contemplation of all things sacred.
London churches as works of art By JAMES CAMERON
In the Middle Ages the local church was really the only place most people could see art. A pilgrimage to a cathedral shrine and its treasures would be a once-in-a-lifetime sensory overload that is difficult to comprehend in our image-saturated world. Yet while our visual culture and public museums make art accessible to all, they paradoxically distance it from everyday life. Paintings are presented as masterpieces, the likes of which can never be achieved again. They are divorced from context, the gallery label an epitaph to their original purpose. However, in a church, art and craftsmanship is not entombed in a glass case, instead it is serving its proper function: doors with wrought-iron patterns keep the cold out, stained glass windows let light in, finely carved screens divide the interior. A great tragedy for our heritage was the ransacking of this nation’s churches after the Reformation. The reformers of Edward VI and iconoclasts of the Civil War, selfrighteous with their disdain for the “old religion” attacked the interiors of churches and stripped them of their centuries of accumulated craftsmanship. But then followed Photo: Andrew Lowkes what many a medievalist sees as
even worse: the Victorians. But despite some undeniably overzealous “restorations”, largely they helped preserve the old buildings but also revive the spirit of the Middle Ages in the new ones. A joy in craftsmanship was promoted to help beautify public spaces for the enjoyment of all. One of the most famous churches in London built from scratch at the beginning of this revival of medieval spirit is All Saints, Margaret Street, just north of the bustle of Oxford Street. It was designed by William Butterfield in 1848 and built and furnished over the following decade. This building and those that followed must have shocked congregations who had spent all their previous Sundays in temporary mission churches or so-called “tin tabernacles”. Instead of an interior free of distraction to give the word of the preacher no rival, the walls are alive with colour and ornament. Guiding one around All Saints is rather pointless, as the immediate impact of the interior is visceral. Butterfield was a colourist as much as an architect. The building is his canvas, however the colour comes not from paint, but the careful choice of materials. Varieties of brick and exotic marble, encaustic tiles and stained glass all contribute to this unforgettable building. It is a church quite unlike any medieval
one, instead of the emerging High Victorian style, but it nonetheless has the spirit of the Middle Ages in its quest for stimulation through sheer optical assault on the senses. Churches like this are constantly under threat. Many Victorian churches in London have been demolished, others unsympathetically remodelled to cater for new types of worship, which unfortunately often means stripping a Victorian church of its Victorian furniture, its Victorian stained glass, and its Victorian altarpieces, leaving the building a sad shell of its former glory. A joy in creating ornament is what I fear our culture lacks, but churches can inspire the need to recapture this, at a time when so many of our buildings choose cheapness and alleged practicality over any expression of style. Only four churches in London charge for entrance, but many are kept open in its central areas, and leaving a donation of even just half the price of a Starbucks is the best thanks you can give for access to these remarkable buildings. All Saints, Margaret St. (W1W 8JG) is generally open in the day. The main Sunday service is at 11am which maintains a high level of liturgy to the church. suited www.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk.
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Richard Cork in conversation with Cornelia Parker
Review ‘Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present’ By MELANIE IDLER
Photo: Amanda Mead By WELLS FRAY-SMITH KATIE FALLEN
ART MATTERS The future of art in the UK is under siege. Last year, the arts council’s budget was cut by 29.6%. Government money that would have covered the core costs of running museums, galleries, theatres and other arts organisations has been routed elsewhere. Earlier this month proposals for the new English Baccalaureate did not include arts as a core subject. As the importance of art is called into question, we had the opportunity to sit down with two leading figures in the UK art world, Richard Cork and Cornelia Parker. To our surprise, a theme quickly arose and the conversation became about the power of art. Despite the diminishing status of art in the eyes of the government, forerunners in the art world are still convinced of its force.
woman, who in an effort to be helpful and restore the work, completely obliterated the traditional fresco behind it. As Cork explained, the news of the Spanish lady’s action "flashed around the world in an instant". The destruction of art invariably provokes an intense reaction from world media. The graffiti on Rothko's Black on Maroon, the hammer taken to Michelangelo’s Pieta and the shot at Leonardo’s Virgin and Child With St John the Baptist were all heavily covered in international news. Both the vandalism itself – a result of people acting like madmen, as Cork described it – and the intensity of the outrage, expressed in the ensuing global media coverage, illustrate the power of art.
The work, which some think to be an act of vandalism to the Rodin, is seen by Parker as an “intervention”. Her intervention precipitated people to look at The Kiss in a new and reenergized way. When under threat, by her intervention and the vandalism it provoked, The Kiss became an even more revered object than it had been previously. Her work left the Rodin “in a better state” as it was “reinstated in a more private place than before”. Vandalisms, interventions, and collaborations, we learnt, elicit a strong reaction, proving that we care about art.
Cornelia Parker describes the vandalisms as “attention seeking acts". It is "like urinating on something”. Her own work The Distance (A Kiss with String Attached) - composed of one mile of string wrapped around Rodin's The Kiss—was vandalised by someone who cut the strings. Parker “happily embraced” the destruction, choosing to tie up the cut strings instead of rewrapping the sculpture.
first revelatory moment with art. In the 1960s, when on a trip from Bath to London with his mother, he visited the Wallace Collection. He wandered through the gallery alone, having “an extraordinary time”, until he reached the room containing works by Rembrandt and Velazquez. There, in front of Rembrandt’s portrait of his son Titus, Cork had his first epiphany with art. He returned to his mother
Simon Schama notes great art “shakes us into revelation and rips us from our default mode of seeing.” Cork recounted his own
Richard Cork is an award winning art critic, historian, broadcaster, and exhibition curator. His most recent publication, The Healing Presence of Art: A History of Western Art in Hospitals, was
released by Yale earlier this year. Cornelia Parker is a British sculptor and installation artist whose work plays with themes such as destruction, cliché, neglect, and religion. Both interact with art in very different contexts but each is passionate about art, its preservation from vandalism, and its power. We began by discussing the issues surrounding the vandalism and theft of art. When asked about the most bizarre artwork he had ever seen, Cork responded by telling the story of a picture of a Madonna in Spain that had been repainted by a local
speechless, retrospectively now stating: “All I knew was that I had never known anything like this in my life.” Similarly, Cornelia Parker was moved after seeing works by Goya in the Prado: “I thought I was hallucinating,” she said, “I looked at people in a very different way.” For Parker, “Great art has a space we can find for ourselves; a space into which we can project”. We “make it what we want it to be”, rendering the power of great art universal. However, that Cork and Parker were each moved by art, but by very different images, testifies to the individuality of each experience. Parker values how her work inspires different reactions, stating that “people can write whatever they like” and that it is “open to interpretation… it has a life of its own.” The power of art is both universal and individual. Cork’s way of processing his individual experiences with art is to write. When standing in front of Piero Della Francesca’s Flagellation of Christ while travelling through Italy to draw Renaissance masterpieces, Cork found that copying the image could not, for him, adequately capture the aura of the work. “I could not begin to make a line, and I realized that what I wanted to do was to write about it”. It is “crazy in a way" that “in order to understand the experience I have with a work of art I admire, I have to write about it to complete the experience…I discover more about what I feel about the work”. Cork is a critic, Parker an artist, and both agree that art matters, regardless of its precarious future.
The first major exhibition of photography at the National Gallery, entitled Seduced by Art: Photography Past and Present, is an exploration of the highly fraught relationship between painting and photography. Curated by Hope Kingsley and Christopher Riopelle, it juxtaposes Old Master paintings with contemporary photography to create visual comparisons that help illuminate the creative processes of the Old Masters, as much as the contemporary artists who follow in their footsteps. The exhibition is divided into traditional genres such as portraiture, the figure, landscape and still life. It zooms in on the major early works of British and French Old Masters, alongside photographs by an international array of contemporary artists. High art forms are reinterpreted through the vernacular of photography, and each such comparison serves to illuminate the notion that photography is not simply a mechanical method, but an artistic act of creation and deliberation. As such, they don't just demonstrate a reality, but a truth. Photography is still a fairly modern discipline. Invented in 1839, it is a medium rooted in the mechanical, the result of a camera, a light sensitive surface, chemicals and gelatins. And when these materials respond with the light reflected from the world, it produces an image. But is this image art? This question has been central to the pictorial legitimacy of photography since the earliest days of the medium. When photographs were first exhibited there was a general consensus that they were too literal to be considered fine art. The practitioner was merely an operator who lacked the creative ability to make art. In order to understand photography as a medium in line with fine art, we must get a sense of its cultural weight. The painter in this case is the seductress, tantalizing the photographer for 180 years and leading him to use the same pictorial conventions and classical compositions until he could achieve the grand, noble effects found in the Old Master paintings. By doing so however, the photograph loses the immediacy and the legitimacy that made it such a truthful medium. The photograph, The Destroyed Room (1978) by Jeff Wall, is a deliberate notation on Delacroix’s The Death of Sardanapalus (1827), recreating the impressive scale and colour, except Wall destroys the protagonists and explodes the composition, leaving only the violent aftermath. Yet his photograph is as much of a fiction as Delacroix’s, as he stages the strong diagonals by using ordinary objects discarded on the set. It is a studio picture of chaos, but maintains the Continued on page 11
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012 Continued from page 10 Theatricality as though the subject were an Assyrian king, and not in fact a mattress. Also of note is Israeli photographer Ori Gersht's digital still life, Blow Up: Untitled 5 (2007), displayed alongside its inspiration, Rosy Wealth of June (1886) by IgnaceHenri-Theodore Fantin-Latour. In it he takes Fantin-Latour’s lovely vase and quite literally blows it apart. It is seen gradually exploding in a series of split-second photographs, the petals flying like shards of glass into space. In this way Gersht breaks away from the durational effect of painting. A painting evolves with the viewer, slowly unfolding its secrets. Instead Gersht used the advances in modern technology to capture a sense of instantaneity and time. The exhibition allows the viewer to approach historical art anew through another medium and a different time period. It allows us to see the similarities and differences in philosophical and historical perspectives and does a great job in celebrating the media of the two different artistic disciplines. Yet there is a lack of focus throughout the exhibition, and there is a strong sense that the photographs are in deference to the substantial notoriety of the paintings. It seems strange that the exhibition is intent on glorifying the photograph as a work of art in its own right, yet only endows the pictures with meaning when placed alongside established academic paintings. Perhaps the National Gallery will be Seduced by the Photograph and open a show that celebrates the photograph as its own independent pictorial medium. Nonetheless, the exhibit manages to demonstrate how the two crafts feed off of each other, and their shared geneses of visual life.
Review ‘UMuMa: being nothing and what lies between’
Photo: Chloe Ashby By CHLOË ASHBY ‘Being nothing’ and ‘what lies between’ — two notions familiar to students approaching the end of their studies and sensing the start of something new. What to do next? What to become? Three young artists, two of whom are fortunate enough to remain as yet in the comfortable clutches of higher education, relieve our anxieties about our futures through exhibiting the exciting promise of theirs. UMuMa was on exhibit at Lewisham Arthouse from October 24th until November 4th. The artists-cumcurators were trio Peter Ibberson, Bethany Marett, and Godai Sahara. Having met on the Slade Foundation Course, and decided, in Bethany’s words, that they ‘meshed well’, the contours of the exhibition were set. The concept ‘U-Mu-Ma’, a Japanese word, came from Peter: ‘U’ meaning ‘being’ reflects Bethany’s work and its explorations of the body; ‘Mu’ meaning ‘nothingness’ marks Godai’s creations that proudly lack a
definitive storyline; ‘Ma’ meaning ‘negative space’ describes Peter’s sculptures and the spaces they inhabit. The artists play with notions of being, nothingness and absence through the interior of the gallery itself and their collated mix of sculpture, 2D and video pieces. The exhibition and all that it encompassed shed light on the passage of time. The architecture of Lewisham Arthouse echoes an ancient Greek temple, an unexpected classical quotation that quarrels with the other, shall we say less aesthetically pleasing landmarks along Lewisham Way. Once inside the building and faced with this one-room exhibition, though, the clocks caught up. The interior space had a factory feel, an industrial aesthetic; white walls, grey flooring, feral wiring, and unconcealed plug sockets constructed a character that was unabashedly unrefined. Without overhead lighting the roomrested in darkness; three floodlights illuminated the artworks and lent a lick of allure, as an interplay of
shadows emerged interestingly among them. The monochrome palette, projected by the minimalist interior and the matching works within it, reminded me of Rothko’s Dark Paintings of 1969; the effect was a quizzical atmosphere and a suggestive space. The works tampered with time, even if only nominally, for example Peter’s monochrome sculpture #53 Time Machine. Godai’s 2 + 2 = 4 more figuratively explored notions of life and death; a packet of ‘essential Waitrose home ripening nectarines’ leaves the hungry viewer with nothing but four perished pits. I talked with Bethany about her step from learner (she read history of art at York University) to practitioner of art, which further teased out the exhibition’s ties to time and tradition. Asked whether her background in art history gave her an advantage as an artist, she was hesitant. At first she felt it was a hindrance: “Knowing what great things have been done before and worrying that what you’re about to produce will be too similar to
something someone else has already done can be intimidating!” Now she finds it inspiring. Bethany’s Membrane: Nude, a Polaroid work, and her life drawings of both ‘Penny’ and ‘Peter’, pay tribute to Jenny Saville, an artist she ardently admires; like Saville, she playfully experiments with beauty and movement through a repetition of lines and limbs. Bethany looks to artists and techniques of the past, and uses them as a springboard for her own unique creations. In the press release, Godai’s biography was somewhat vague (‘he is not ready to publicise his aim or vision in art yet’), except when it came to one thing: ‘he likes beer and he likes art’. He produced Pints, a video on loop, by snapping twelve photographs of his surroundings through a glass of beer for every pint he had, possibly an allusion to beer goggles. Like the exhibition as a whole, Pints is happily under the influence of student life.
Sinti and Roma Memorial for Berlin: What’s taken so long?
By LUCY WATLING
There’s a new addition Berlin’s ‘Memorial Mile’ – that stretch of the city, between the Reichstag’s government quarter and the ultramodern developments of Potsdamer Platz, which since Germany’s reunification has become the official place of remembrance for those lives destroyed during the years of the Third Reich. In a small clearing in the Tiergarten Park, scattered stones encircle a pool of still water. In the centre of the pool a
triangular plinth, upon it a single fresh flower, which is replaced daily. Violin music echoes into the clearing; around the pool’s edge is inscribed the poem Auschwitz, by Roma author Santino Spinelli. Between 1933 and 1945 an estimated 500,000 people were murdered as ‘Zigeuner’ by the National Socialist regime. This term, roughly equating to the English ‘Gypsy’ though perhaps more racially charged in today’s Germany, included in practice a number of groups: the largest,
the Sinti and Roma; others included the Lalleri, the Lowara and the Manouche. Forcibly relocated, deported to concentration camps, subjected to the worst horrors of Nazi medical experiments and murdered en masse, today the Romani language uses the word Porajmos to refer to this, their own holocaust. On 24th October, Chancellor Angela Merkel was among the speakers at the opening of the new monument, designed to mark this loss. Designed by the Israeli artist Dani Karavan, the ‘Monument to the Sinti and Roma of Europe Murdered under the National Socialist Regime’ stands in complete contrast to its largest neighbour, the brutal concrete expanse of Peter Eisenman’s 2005 ‘Monument to the Murdered Jews of Europe’. Karavan’s design is quieter, it’s location less obvious, the poetry and music working to create a tangible sense of lost culture. Yet there is a certain awkwardness to this project, extending beyond its unwieldy name. First approved by the German government in 1992, it has taken over 20 years to reach
fruition. Why so long? The entire issue of the Porajmos has been a somewhat difficult one for post-1945 Germany. During the years of the country’s division it was only West Germany which officially recognised this genocide, and only then in 1982 (though memorials were constructed and reparations made in the GDR on a case-by-case basis). Even today, the country has an uncomfortable relationship with its Sinti and Roma populations: right wing attacks against them are on the increase, campaigners have drawn attention both to their negative portrayal in public life, and to the official disadvantages flowing from the fact that many live in Germany without full citizenship. But Germany is not alone here. Across the eastern European Union, resentment towards these growing populations is increasingly spilling over into murderous violence. In the Czech Republic a policy of segregated Roma schooling – declared illegal by the European Court in 2007 – is today still in practical force. In France, the Sarkozy government’s initiative to deport offending populations to
Romania was enacted with little protest in 2010. And nearer to home, one need only look to portrayals of ‘Gypsy’ populations in the British media for evidence of a public attitude at best characterised by ridicule, at worse by deep-seated discrimination. Often officially classified as ‘immigrants’, with low standards of living and an even lower rate of access to education, many Sinti and Roma continue to live on the margins of European society, and it seems that little real effort is being made by governments to address the problems this causes. ‘Never again’ is the sentiment most often associated with memorials relating to Nazi atrocities in Europe. With this latest addition to Berlin’s landscape of remembrance, ‘no longer’ might perhaps be more appropriate.
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
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The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Gold Snake Necklace £35 FlashTrashGirl Myflashtrash.com
‘LADY MACBETH’ ‘LORENZO AND ISABELLA’ Emerald Earrings Aimee’s Vintage Coming soon myflashtrash.com
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
The fashion of the Pre-Raphaelites McQueen and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood: From Avant-Garde to National Treasure By GIORGIO GRANDE
McQueen. ‘Flower Dress, Sarabande Collection;.
McQueen, ‘Crimson Ensemble, Girl Who Lived in a Tree Collection’
The Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood sought to combat the highly strung ‘corset-culture’ of mid nineteenth century England. Granted, there is a ‘Victoriana’ allure in a bonnet veil and pagoda sleeve circa James Collinson’s ‘The Empty Purse.’ The PRB however, looked to the drama and sensuality of medieval and renaissance dress, liberating it from the limitations imposed in their reality with a sense of unbounded fantasy. It is a beautification of the past and revelry of nature that made the Pre-Raphaelites avant-garde. To borrow from Robert Hugh’s vernacular; the PRB represented ‘an armour-plated niche in the English imagination.’ Undulating robes, velvet capes and gilded gauntlets certainly continue to ignite the English imagination. An ignition that is not just apparent in reruns of The Tudors or Desperate McQueen. ‘Body Suit in Romantics, but fuelled the genius of Memory of Elizabeth How a contemporary national treasure, Lee McQueen. If ‘appropriation of Salem, 1692’ the elapsed’ informs the avantgarde, Alexander McQueen is an avant-garde or our own time. Referencing the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic, we can look to the Met’s recent ‘Savage Beauty’ exhibition to see how a contemporary designer looks backwards when looking forward. Articulating an inspiration of the maverick of history, McQueen states, “As a place of inspiration, Britain is the best in the world. You’re inspired by the anarchy in the country.” There is definite evidence of a love of Victorian tailoring in McQueen’s work. However, a piece that doubly articulates McQueen’s influence of the PRB and ability to remain innovative is his Sarabande dress from his S/S 07 collection. Here McQueen undercuts his design with a Pre-Raphaelite sense of ethereal melancholy. We see a salute to the Pre-Raphaelite love of flora punctuated with moody amethyst
and emerald jewel tones. McQueen also illustrates his virtuosity with what can only be described as an architectural feat of weaving fresh flowers into the garment for its catwalk debut. A dress that perfectly illustrates Sarah Burton’s regard of McQueen’s influences, “his starting point came from the idea of the sublime and the 19th century ideals of the sublime.’ With regards to his inspiration, McQueen states ‘I get inspired by the minds of the women in the past, like Catherine the Great or Marie Antoinette. People who were doomed. Joan of Arc or Colette. Iconic Women.’ This is a concept rooted from the Pre-Raphaelites, inspired by iconic women of the past, PRB paintings serve as homage to doomed heroines. The PreRaphaelite narrative is largely an animation of the passions and pathos of these femmes, finding a romance in a sense of hopelessness. One only needs to look to Millais’ ‘Ophelia,’ or Holman-Hunt’s ‘The Lady of Shallot’ to see this realised; as one only needs to look at McQueen’s ‘The Girl who lived in the tree’ collection of 08. On this collection, McQueen suitably reveals; ‘I wanted to show a more poetic side to my work. It was all about a feeling of sadness, but in a cinematic kind of way. I find beauty in melancholy.’ In ‘The Girl who lived in a Tree’ McQueen designed a crimson red silk coat with a dress of ivory silk tulle embroidered with crystal beads. This silk of the coat is heavily gathered at the collar and the cuffs, and is styled with a jewelled horned headpiece. Such a look evokes power, the baroque and almost sinister bloodlust. Such look seems both semantically and stylistically inspired by Lady Macbeth. By his own admission, McQueen wanted to empower women: “I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.” I struggle to find anything more indicative of Lady Macbeth in McQueen’s
statement, or rather, a PreRaphaelite embodiment of Lady Macbeth. By this measure, we have titled the looks in our photo-shoot according to iconic names of PreRaphaelite past. The term Avant-garde stems from a term used in Early Modern France to describe the advance guard; two or three army corps pushed out early to engage the enemy at sight. In this regard, Burne-Jones’ encapsulation of the armoured knight as seen in ‘King Cophetua and the Beggar Maid’ is both a historical and contemporary illustration of the avant-garde. McQueen’s Bodysuit comprised of Gold plastic bodice with gold pailletes and peacock feathers features in his ‘In Memory of Elizabeth How’ collection of 08 achieved a similar double affect. This use of a metallic, plated way of structuring his garment is almost a literal interpretation of
… finding romance in a sense of hopelessness McQueen’s attitude to designing for a contemporary female. ‘It’s almost like putting armour on a woman. It’s a very psychological way of dressing.’ This is what inspired us to include armoury in the styling of out photo-shoot, note the medieval neck brace in the ‘Joan of Arc’ look and the sword in ‘Lady of Shallot.’ Following precedents set by the PreRaphaelites, there is no doubt that McQueen is a champion of a new avant-garde, setting his own precedents to follow. Precedents that I can humbly yet gladly say became apparent our photo-shoot. I hope you will join me in raising a goblet to salute Lee McQueen, of the avant-gardes. Giorgio Grande.
Destitute, Decaying, Dead
How the Women of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood set the Precedent for the Broken Female Icon in Pop Culture today
By WILL BALLANTYNE-REID Whitney Houston found drowned in a hotel bath, arms extended and face gazing out, only partially submerged by the water. Amy Winehouse found overdosed in bed by a bodyguard who couldn’t rouse her from her sleep, her iconic beehive and flicked eyeliner still intact. The motif of the ethereally beautiful but broken woman is as relevant in the pop culture of today as in the paintings of the PreRaphaelite Brotherhood. When
considering the female role in the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelite movement, we must distinguish between the models that inspired the art, and the characters they adopted. The line between the lives of these models and the scenes they enacted was often a thin one. The interplay between the models and the artwork they inspired usually yielded destructive results. Lizzie Siddal was anorexic, a drug addict, in a tempestuous and often emotionally abusive relationship with Dante Gabriel Rossetti. She
almost died whilst modelling for John Everett Millais’ ‘Ophelia.’ Here, the water-filled bathtub she was lying in became icy cold, leading to a contraction of pneumonia. Siddal, a beautiful young female, was idolised for the art she inspired yet tortured by the demons that coincided with it. The subsequent destruction it brought to her as a person brings to mind the public’s demonisation of Amy Winehouse. The public condemned her personal struggles whilst simultaneously buying and praising the albums
inspired by her abusive boyfriend Blake Fielder-Civil, a boyfriend who reportedly introduced her to heroin and crack cocaine. In the same way that the success of Millais’ Ophelia (1852) left a bitter taste in the mouth of Siddal’s father (who charged Millais with neglect), the success of Number 1s like’ ‘Rehab’ and ‘You Know I’m No Good’ from the 2006 album ‘Back to Black’ (which posthumously became the best-selling album of this century), must have aggravated Winehouse’s friends and family
when witnessing the personal breakdowns that inspired her lyrics. The way in which models like Lizzie Siddal and Annie Miller became locked into the destructive cycle of the Pre-Raphaelite ‘icon’ also reflects their contemporary culture. Miller, an uneducated barmaid and a likely prostitute, later became the lover of William Holman Hunt, posing for his painting ‘The Awakening Conscience’ (1853).
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012 Continued from page 14 which models like Lizzie Siddal and Annie Miller became locked into the destructive cycle of the PreRaphaelite ‘icon’ also reflects their contemporary culture. Miller, an uneducated barmaid and a likely prostitute, later became the lover of William Holman Hunt, posing for his painting ‘The Awakening Conscience’ (1853). Here we see a prostitute leaping up from a gentleman’s lap, sparked by a morality awoken from its slumber. Given the personal context of this image, it becomes uneasy and almost patronising to view, a role similarly uneasy for Miller to model for. The way in which the models of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood perpetuated the cycle of artistic inspiration echoes the way in which modern female icons become trapped in their own media identities. Just as Siddal almost died playing the iconic character of Ophelia, Marilyn Monroe and Amy Winehouse died playing the role of their media self. There is a tragic irony to the way in which the sex symbol of Monroe, (famously replying to a journalist’s question of what she wore in bed with the provocative answer of “why, Chanel No. 5 of course”) was found naked in her sheets. The mystery and allure that she had once cultivated around her sexuality became undone when photos of her on the post-mortem table became viral. A similar irony encompasses the death of Billie Holiday, another female icon of Jazz who once sang that “living for you is easy living/ It's easy to live when you're in love.” Holliday was later arrested for drug possession as she lay on her deathbed and died alone with only twenty dollars, all she owned, strapped to her thigh. The collision of the private and artistic identities of the models of the Pre-Raphaelite brotherhood set a precedent that forged the way in which the public interact with the female pop icons of today. The media forces them to tread a similarly fine, and similarly destructive, tightrope when allowing their personal problems to become key facets of their art and their celebrity.
The Fashion Industry: An Illusion
By ALEX MOSS The exact boundaries of the Fashion Industry are ill-defined, with the overlap between different sections of this heavily glamourized world unclear to both the outside consumer and even industry insider. Fashion magazines tend to gloss over the mechanics of the Industry in order to hide the biggest secret in fashion: that fashion does not exist. Trend reports tend to give the impression that when ‘purple’ is the new ‘black’, this is part of a worldwide conspiracy determined to prove the temporary dominance of one colour or cut over another. This is not the case. Head designers of fashion houses will conceive a collection on average one to two years before it heads down the runway, and most will be completely unaware of what other design teams are working on. The basis for an ‘Haute’ designer collection (by that, I mean the monolith designers of the fashion world such as Gucci, Prada, Chanel, Dior or Valentino) varies wildly from season to season with no topic off-limits, as long as it fits into the boundaries laid out for the ethos of the brand. What sane person would go, ‘Over-sized fuzzy Jamiroquai 90s hats would look amazing in A/W 2012’? Certainly,
there is method behind the madness, though recent fashion events such as the creation of the Chanel ‘HulaHoop’ bag may throw this assumption into question on occasion… In short, the whole of ‘fashion’ as we know it is driven by the Avant-garde. Even the most mundane of items taken for granted in contemporary day-to-day wear such as the mini-dress were at one point considered ‘Avant-garde’. The question of where this fits into the fashion industry then arises. The ‘pure’ fashion industry consists of Designer Labels, Fashion Publications, High Street Shops and Perfume and Makeup, often subsections of Designer Labels. This is exclusive of Retail, Hairdressing, and modelling which are completely different business structures to that of fashion, although of course these industries and separate companies all support each other. Trends permeate from the top creative sphere of a Fashion House right the way down to discount imitation stores on the high street such as Primark, through the promotion of the media. The birth of any ‘fashion’ in the western world occurs at the four major fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris and Milan, in that order, twice every year: in September showing the
Spring/Summer collections and in February showing the Autumn/Winter collections. All of these shows are covered by the Press who send their photographs, articles and videos to their according magazines and related websites. At this point, correlations in cut, colour and general style are drawn and the most common are considered the ‘trends’ for the season. This process is absolutely democratic. As long as there isn’t overlap with the prior season’s trends then anything goes; it is easy to forget the ridiculous notion of something like harem pants somehow squeezing their way onto city streets that have never seen anything like them on their pavements before. After these trends have been established, High Street stores immediately go into the production of cheaper versions of them for release to the general public for the next season. This is a lengthy process and the High Street stores usually have a full team of pattern-cutters ready to create simpler versions of popular cuts using far cheaper fabrics. This same process on the whole also applies to Beauty trends, with catwalk innovation being translated into drugstores in the same manner. The financial relationship between Designer Labels and their off-shoot
beauty products reveals a lot about the metaphysical nature of fashion. Approximately 70-90% of all profit for large labels comes from their make-up lines, which is counterintuitive when so much emphasis is placed on the definition of a Designer Label being tied to its clothing. In 2001, Forbes Magazine valued Chanel’s net worth at a staggering $5 billion, an extraordinary sum when considering that the net worth of the Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessey conglomerate was valued in the same article at $10.7 billion, revealing that Bernard Arnault’s mega-company had to stretch far outside the world of fashion to drum up such a high turnover. Once we realise that all of this success rests upon the repeated innovation of the clothing produced by big labels season after season and how effectively the concepts behind collections and catwalk shows are portrayed, we also realise that not only does the notion of the Avantgarde produce fashion in the first place, it also produces big business. All of this points to one unspoken realisation: that fashion is the most valuable thing never to exist
How to get the Pre-Raphaelite Look By BEA CARTWRIGHT A successful incarnation of the PreRaphaelite style depends on following certain key fashion rules and omission of few Pre-Raphaelite taboos. Think Florence Welch; floral; flowing. A trend of the moment is dropped sleeves, especially with details such as delicate embroidery or lace. Although somewhat unattainable, Dior is a reference point for this look. Focus on a strong silhouette of structured shoulders and waist contrasted with undulating skirts and dresses. The look is featured in Valentino, Marchesa and Alberta
Ferretti’s A/W ‘12 shows. Think gothic fairy-tale - unleash the dark fabrics and baroque accessories relegated to the back of the cupboard. Release your inner Morgan le Fey with a jewel coloured Kaftan, or McQueen ankle length gown. Velvet robes add a historical romance and are made contemporary with a chiffon vest top paired with a stylised silver necklace. Go nymph with a printed maxi skirt or tunic. Neglect the St. Tropez. PreRaphaelite women were pale and proud. Let go of your summer tan. Avoid the minimalism, although a timeless LBD works well as a wardrobe staple, now’s the time for some poetics. Avoid leather, it will make the look too urban and undermine the ethereal aesthetic. Accessories are key to making the look contemporary; you should accent the hyper-femininity of the Pre-Raphaelite look with a tougher edge. Finish the look with oversized cameo rings, serpentine bracelets and chainmail headdresses.
Although a timeless LBD works well as a wardrobe staple, now’s the time for some poetics
By GIOVANA CULORA
Dreamy, alabaster complexions, roseate cheeks and dark, rosebud lips are all classic hallmarks of PreRaphaelite beauty. It is not hard to feel seduced by this hopelessly romantic allure. However, achieving the look today is not hard to attain; it just requires a few simple steps. First of all, choose a favourite PreRaphaelite muse. Selecting a model muse who bears similar resemblance to you is the most straightforward way to achieving this look. Not merely a make-up cliché but a crucial life lesson: less is more; the base layer needs to be natural, almost sheer. Start by applying a pale base colour so that the matt Pre-Raphaelite complexion is created. Apply a conservative amount of liquid foundation, set with mineral powder to achieve this. Massaging a few drops of lip-cheek stain such as Benefit’s Benetint (RRP. £24.50) under the cheek bones achieves the favoured PreRaphaelite blush. To contour the face in the Pre-Raphaelite mode, apply a pale pink or white highlighting powder, (eye shadow normally works well) on the cheekbones, Cupid’s bow and under the eyebrow arch. We’re after an androgynous brow to offset the feminine palette, achieve this by using either brown eye shadow or eyeliner. We want to stay in the earthy tonal range for the eyes, soft, muted tones such as browns, plums and honeys are essential. To authenticate the look, avoid any
mascara or eyeliner or black eye make-up, not only will this kill the effeminacy of the Pre-Raphaelite aesthetic, panda eyes during our Ophelia baths are never pretty. To dramatise your Pre-Raphaelite look, dark bruised lips are a great idea. Start with a lip-cheek stain as a base colour; building on this, a plum or berry tone applied to the central part of the lip to create an illusion of depth and fullness. As long as the texture is matte and natural, getting that coveted luscious Rossetti pout is simple. Pre-Raphaelite hair is by nature dishevelled and does not require many hours of styling with many more pots of mousse. The less structured and worked the hair is, the more authentic the style looks. For the little styling needed, the hair is easier to manipulate whilst wet/damp. To add texture to a short cropped style all that is needed is a moderate application of hairspray. Getting those luscious Lady of Shallot locks is what we’re after for mid length to long hair. Start by working through a volumizer on the mid-section of the hair. To create the effortless waves of your muses’ tresses, plait the hair and leave to dry naturally, without any heat. Once the hair is dry, take out the braids and loosely brush with a soft bristled brush, affording you the ability to style according to your preferences. Middle partings and ‘half-up half down’ styles are typical in many of the works. To make the hairstyle quirky and modern, add a floral headdress or bejeweled accessories.
music & film
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Review: Red Bull Culture Clash
Review: London Philharmonic Orchestra/ Osmo Vänskä By JAMES ALEXANDER CAMERON
By JIM ROBERTS The sweet smell of Favourite Chicken greeted us as we, along with a throng of other shabbily dressed people, descended the stairs at Wembley stadium in search of the arena that was to hold this year’s Red Bull Culture Clash. Taking its roots from Jamaican sound clashes (an event in which different reggae sound-systems competed to win over the crowd with huge, homemade speakers) Red bull has, for the last 4 years, put on a culture clash, an event that is designed to showcase the best bass music that London has to offer, and serve it up to a bunch of deranged, inebriated, music obsessed kids who will ultimately decide who is the best sound of the night. As the tag line of the night suggest: One sound will rise. Now I can’t really talk down on the people who go to these events, as truthfully I am one of these weird little people who find it fun to get all sweaty, run and jump around in a big room full of lights and music. Sounds a little like we should have carers when you put it like that, but I guess at base level that is what clubbing is. Well, this wasn’t quite like a normal club night; it was ‘culture clash’ - not only were the tickets a little more pricey, but this was in Wembley. Wembley, a name identified with huge bands such a Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones and One Direction… not the DJs and producers who were set to play at culture clash - a strange motley line up of nerdy DJs, old Rasta men, and boys in hoods and rucksacks who are more at home playing dingy basement clubs of North East London. Previously Red bull had taken over Camden Roundhouse, but this year was a step up, and Wembley would be the home to the four sounds, and six thousand revellers. So who were the four representative sounds? In the first corner was the Annie Mac presents stage, featuring a lineup of the likes of Magnetic Man, Disclosure, Annie Mac and the dulcet tones of the dread locked Sargent Pokes, who was set to spend the night running around hoping the
Rastas in the other corner didn’t realise his locks weren’t really up to scratch. In the second corner was a new act of Boy Better Know, headed up by arguably the king of Grime, ‘Wiley’, who actually showed his face. He has a little habit of not turning up, which judging by his YouTube videos featuring himself under the influence of one substance or two, is probably because he actually has no idea they are happening. In the third corner was the mighty sound of Channel One Sound System, who returned this year to try to reclaim their trophy. Having been playing the sound clash circuit since 1977, Mickey dread, the selecta, plays strictly vinyl, and strictly dub reggae, while Ras Kelab gruffly chants down the microphone exclamations promoting the use of marijuana and how ‘Jah’ is great. And finally, in the fourth corner was the bashment sound of Major Lazer, headed up by the slickly dressed Diplo. Before I begin to talk of the event, I think I should mention my slight hesitation of what I may have let myself in for having spent a valuable 18 quid on each ticket, which really should have gone towards the electricity bill of my house. I had been before when the event was in the roundhouse, and it was amazing, but seeing the words Wembley I got very excited thinking it would be in the stadium and thought that nothing could get better. Forgetting that I would be living in a fridge for a few weeks I bought a ticket and sat shaking like an excited little boy who has just been told he’s going to Disneyland, which is another place that doesn’t always live up to the hype. Anyway, all was still good, until all of a sudden it was revealed that sixteen year olds could come too. Now I don’t want to sounds dramatic or anything, but I can’t think of anything worse than little, prepubescent, kids running round buzzed on WKDs, while your trying to enjoy music. I know I was this age at one point, but I don’t remember being one of those kids who for some reason thought it was ‘cool’ to wear glasses with no lenses and wear clothes that would look cheap on
Katie Price. Well I can’t lie in admitting I was worried that I might be asked to buy someone alcohol, and was slightly regretting having spent so much money on a ticket. However, perhaps the X-Factor was on that night, but it seemed like God had granted me a little bit of karma and had stopped any from coming. To be honest I actually felt young in the sea of tall, quite well dressed men and women that drifted us towards the entrance on a wave of music and Red-Stripes. As we queued to get inside, another wave of paranoia crept up my spine, like a crooked spider. The crowd around me was predominantly male, and not the nice, friendly looking men, but men who looked like they got their kicks from getting juiced on steroids and joy riding round places like Romford. I know that one of Boy Better Know’s songs was ‘We need some more girls in here’, but I hadn’t realised that it was necessary to actually make this a reality. Anyway, I decided to forget these things and enjoy my near twenty pounds worth of music and enter inside. Very quickly these worries were forgotten. As we drifted down one of some twenty entrances into the main arena, I realised the scale that they were going for this year. The arena was huge, and as far removed from the sweaty caverns of clubs that I was used to as possible. The stages loomed over the crowd, with lasers and bass music that engulfing the enthusiastic music lovers, like a ‘hungry hippo’ snapping down on its small white food. The atmosphere was amazing, and I quickly began to realise why I had splashed out and thought myself such a big spender. Here were another 6,000 or so people, who like me, had come for music. All the acts fed off the infectious vibe that emanated from the audience. Each act pumped out watts and watts of bass that rushed into the damaged eardrums of the wide-eyed, spangled dancers. The event itself was a competition and did involve rounds in which the acts attempted to win over the crowds, displaying what they do best, and why people travel from far and wide to see them on a weekly
basis. Special, one off dub-plates were made for the event, being dropped on excited ears ready to hear these freshly pressed tunes. As the night went on it seemed that Channel One, playing the sound of One love were going to do it again. The carnival atmosphere that radiated out of their stage seemed to be winning over a crowd that flocked their, like moths to a lamp, a warm grin spreading across their faces. Finally it came down to the last round, in which each stage was to bring out their special guest. All the stages had brought out fairly standard special guests that did raise an eyebrow, but didn’t really seem like game changing moves. That is until Major Lazer announced their special guests of Usher and Rita Ora. Now I was fairly sure that the age bracket of the night had been fairly high up until this point, when all of a sudden I was surrounded by small sweaty creatures, who really didn’t look like they should be out this late. The high pitched squeal of every ‘y chromosome being’ in the room echoed above the sounds of the vuvuzelas, whistles and fist pumping that had reverberated throughout the rest of the night. It seemed here that the night was won. The crowd was asked for one final applause for each act, and the decibel metre seemed to suggest that Usher’s angel voice had won the evening. However, to the shock of everyone in the crowd Boy better Know won. Grime had triumphed over everyone else. The crowd didn’t seem displeased or exuberant, but this was the outcome, and there was no attempt to ask for a revote. They seemed content with the fact the evening had been ‘a banger’ and the winner seemed insignificant. It seemed that here in the walls of Wembley stadium, situated in a country which last year saw riots across the country as an outcry at a democratically voted government, that equilibrium had been reached. The people were not bothered about who was actually in power, as long as the right thing was done and ‘the music kept on playing’. I realise this allusion is pretty disillusioned and far-fetched, but it sounded like a poignant and a dramatic thing to end on….
Described as a “grinning skeleton”, Nielsen’s Sixth, the misleadingly named “Sinfonia Semplice”, was an apt finale for this Halloween night on the Southbank. It is a difficult work to play and interpret, where moments of great sublimity are set up only to be instantly demolished by flippant bathos. Vänskä made sure in the sparser first movement, the silences were as important as the noises, and the quite insanesounding counterpoints of the second movement humoreske handled seemingly effortlessly. At times the bizarre score, such as the final raspberry from the bassoon, can appear as demented selfparody, but here the performance made it seem as a true and frank expression of angst towards the end of the Romantic tradition. The night begun in much calmer territory with Sibelius’ Third. It is one of the least-played of the composer’s seven, which is a shame, as it is one of his most beautiful evocations of Nature and his Finnish homeland. The driving rhythms of the first movement were given just the right amount of force by Vänskä, not overpowering the other subtle orchestrations. The andante’s gently rocking melody was also finely balanced between the overwhelming Sublime and delicate Beauty, with some fine wind playing from the LPO. When the finale’s main theme emerged from the distance, it was given suitable emphasis as the defining moment of the symphony, a revelation in Nature akin to what a figure in a Caspar David Friedrich painting experiences. Despite some minor fluffs in the strings, the only weakness was the ending of each movement. Even the final notes seemed as an anti-climactic whimper, but then the worlds which Sibelius creates within his symphonies are so evocative that no one really wants to leave them. Mozart’s five violin concertos, all dating from when he was only around twenty years old, are hardly cornerstones of the repertoire, but soloist Christian Tetzlaff made the third so enjoyable, perhaps they deserve more. In between the anxious Dane and the sublime Finn, Mozart’s sunshine and roccoco invention provided a great contrast, and Tetzlaff’s fluently lyrical playing brought out the operatic qualities of every line. The moments of dark clouds in the development sections were also brought to the fore, making this a most satisfying performance, and not just the token concerto shoved in the middle of the bill.
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Reignite Paris: The subversive potentials of the drag Cinderellas
By ZOË JANE Paris is Burning is often declared a must-see for anyone interested in queer culture. I was initially drawn to watching it because of its cult status and my personal interest in drag. In a nutshell, it’s a documentary packaged as entertainment, I advise you to watch it twice. The second viewing is to make sure the surreality doesn’t overwhelm the perceptive critiques of society. Unfortunately, the insurrectionary title falls slightly short, offering but not committing to a host of radical potentials. To take a leaf from Bell Hooks, the problem lies in the underselling of African-American and Latino gay ball culture as a mere frivolous spectacle. The fault lies in the edit, where audiences are sure to get lost in the overwhelming array of (I have to say, fabulous) costumes! You come to the ball to ‘walk’ in a fantasy catwalk and compete under different categories, often offering a chance to perform roles or jobs that because of racial/sexuality/class discrimination are unobtainable in the “real world”. The division between the real and the imaginary is ignored in the bubble of the ball. The MC shrills biting comments as a panel judges the contestants based on their ‘realness’. The contestants’
performances at the ball diversify standard male to female drag, ranging from acting/dressing as someone powerful such as an ‘executive’ or a ‘military’ official, through to satires of ‘banjy’ (ghetto) youths. To be voted as ‘real’ means that you have successfully camouflaged yourself as straight. Your success in ‘realness’ is not only a criterion in the competition, it’s a survival tactic, the difference between being able to “get home with no blood on her” or not. “This is white America…if you have captured the great white way of living, looking, dressing or speaking you is a marvel!” - Carey Paris pursues a dual narrative of entertaining the viewer in the eccentricities of ball etiquette, whilst also appealing to emotions through intimate interviews with its key players or ‘legends’. The spectacle of the event contrasts to the interviewee’s experiences of being marginalized. The ball creates a space where discrimination can no longer stand in the way of your dreams. Their performances could be considered as creating a subversive parallel that challenges dominant power structures, but by battling on the aesthetic plane in front of only your peers does it not become solely an idealization, confined to the realm of make
believe? Throughout the film the interviewees are positioned as different from the audience (who like the director is presumed to be white and privileged), the camera facilitating their observation as exotic objects on parade. In the same way that I have put slang in quotations, the film isolates the words as they fill the screen like specimens on display. The voice of the narrator is like a circus master introducing his animals, defining the meaning of these strange words as images of the ball run across the screen. Participants are framed as mysterious weirdos that need to be decoded before they can be consumed. The interviews do reveal the everyday realities of race/sexuality/class, but these glimpses are not given enough time to challenge the audience. It is too easy to simply fetishize the glamour and dismiss it as entertainment. An emotionalgravity is injected as we sympathize with their desires to be famous, whilst also sensing the director’s postmodern disdain for the pop-culture consumerism that is obsessed with a longing for stardom. Octavia St Laurant is a ‘femme’ queen who lives and works as a woman. Her narration is preoccupied with her future career
as a model; she highlights her motivation as a means to survive in a world where money is the key to every door. “Why is it that they could have it and I didn’t? I always felt cheated.” LaBeija Pepper LaBeija aligns the disaffection felt when comparing his standard of living to the upper classes, with the desire to posses the same luxury goods. But the focus is drawn away from LaBeija’s experience of social inequality by focusing the visual language on the superficiality of consumerism and yearnings for fame. Images of designer shops and advertisements, twinkling trophies and competitors at the ball are inter-cut while he comments on the poverty of some of the ‘children’. The splicing together of the two creates a wave effect where the audience is rewarded with a spectacle as relief from the harsh realities. Hypocritically the film also hints at being able to fulfil those desires, the director’s privileged position allowing her to give them a platform in mainstream media and recognition outside of Harlem. “They will go out and steal something, get dressed up and come to the ball for that one night and live the fantasy” - LaBeija The romanticism of celebrity glamour is fetishised everywhere as
Desert Island Discs Julian Stallabrass By TOM MOUNA Unfortunately a member of the Courtauld staff is stranded on a desert island; luckily before they got stuck there they managed to grab the music, films, and artwork that they really need to survive: Prof. Julian Stallabrass is the first ever Courtauld desert islander. The three pieces of music he threw in his bag were: “J. S. Bach, Violin Concertos The Doors, LA Woman (1971) Captain Beefheart, Troutmask Replica (1969)”. Out of these Julian's all time
favourite is: Bach's Violin Concertos. rtos. His favourite because of: “a synthesis of great emotional range and rigorous musical structure.” Along with the music he managed to gather his favourite films: “Solaris, Tarkovsky, 1972--leaves image sequences that dwell in your head forever. Once Upon a Time in the Westt, Sergio Leone, 1968--strangely strangely the film of the Paris uprisings of that year, a Marxist, operatic Western! La Dolce Vita , Fellini, lini, 1960, a prophetic critique of the media and celebrity, leading to a strikingly
beautiful but desolate conclusion. Of these three his favourite was: “Solaris, Tarkovsky, 1972” Because: “It's “ hard to watch but still a deep mystery to me.” The Courtauld Gods were smiling on our desert-islander and allowed him a luxury art work, and luckily this pragmatic one was ready for his arrival: “If “ I'm going to be stuck on an island, then the luxury art work had better be a house: house Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Waterr , assuming there is a cascade to build it on.”
a means to escape one’s own circumstances, that often involve criminalized activities such as stealing (‘mopping’) or prostitution. Dorian Carey is the wise older queen that douses the Cinderella hopes with the everyday realities that “you work or you starve”. Carey is critical of the ball scene, trying to create a distinction between fantasy as pure escapism and the importance of ritual that reproduces multiple meanings and acceptance of the self. This distinction revitalizes my own understanding of a less superficial purpose to drag and its many forms. The radical potential produced by the ball scene is more than an alternative entertainment; it was a space for creative expression and an analogous community that provided support for one another. The surnames of the interviewees refer to their ‘houses’, a family of friends each with a ‘mother’ queen creating an alternative structure of kinship to patriarchal familial norms. There are a few things to watch out for in Paris, primarily the white middle class director who doesn’t acknowledge her own position, and has framed it as an ethnographic portrait. But by taking a peak beyond the sequins you will find an important testimony and challenging critique of society that is still resonant today.
Calling all Kuchus!
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Call me Kuchu, by Katherine Fairfax & Malika Zouhali-Worral, 2012: Documentary promoting the LGBT struggle in Uganda premiers just as it is announced the ‘Anti-homosexuality bill’ will be passed as a ‘Christmas gift’ By ZOË JANE
Sign the petition for President Museveni to keep his promise to not pass the bill: www.allout.org/en/actions/uganda-now
Call Me Kuchu follows LGBT activists in Uganda as they battle through the courts and try to counteract the assault from the media. The ‘Anti-homosexuality bill’ is a proposal put forward by David Bahati that criminalizes homosexuality in Uganda. The bill will make homosexuality punishable by 2-7 years in prison and obliges anyone who knows of a homosexual or kuchu (including family and doctors) to report them or they can also face prosecution. The bill also names HIV sufferers as ‘repeat offenders’ who can also be punished. Religion is the mandate under which this persecution spews. The campaign has been funded and encouraged by American Evangelists who praise Uganda for protecting against homosexuals. The oppressors capitalize on the fears of the population by scapegoating homosexuals in the AIDS crisis. Atrocious accusations are being structurally upheld by the lack of health education in Uganda, some of which is funded by international aid. Despite Obama condemning the bill as ‘odious’ he is yet to change programs such as PEPFAR whose focus on abstinence instead of prevention continue to obscure the practical realities of HIV and AIDS. This documentary follows David Kato, the first openly gay man in Uganda, and a group of LGBT activists as they fight in the courts against a fresh wave of harassment. A local newspaper inflamed the homophobic rage by publishing issues devoted to exposing homosexuals, including pictures,
Review ‘Slush EP – Pedro 123’ By TOM MOUNA
Pedro 123 was relatively unknown until his recent well-received remix of M.I.K's 'Donny Don' released on Get Some UK and Tim and Barry's Just Jam label. A couple of solid features on Just Jam's live Wednesday evening webcast, and a string of remixes which have been popular with the likes of Ruska and French Fries, have created a ripple of excitement around this young DJ and producer. The Slush EP is his debut solo EP, released on vinyl and digital on the 12th November. His is a new type of grime matching the current club trend for something superficially a little slower than the 140bpm of grime. Circa 2002-2008 grime production, the likes of Wiley and Waifer are obvious influences. However, placing Pedro in the electronic music spectrum is difficult because of the uniqueness of what he is creating. His work is a kind of hybrid, yet he is not unique by virtue of this - the current UK
Bass scene is all about creating hybrids, whether that be of Grime, Garage, 2step, Sublow, Bassline, Dubstep or Jungle. But what marks Pedro as unique is the influences he is assimilating; creating something very fresh and very new. The opening track, ‘Slush’ is hardhitting and bass heavy. The melody is repetitive and sparse; a simple heavy drum pattern, accompanied by grimy sublow, but taken to the bare minimum. It is made up of four very simple elements: the continuous click occupying the highest frequencies, the squeaky mid-range tones, the raw mid/low of bass every eight bars, and the deep dark sublow. With almost all grime production the lowest tones plays such a key role in controlling the tempo and pace of the song that they can essentially function as autonomous. Yet here Pedro has done something different. It is not the sublow/deep bass that control the tempo, but the tones that come in between these lowest tones and the mid-tones. These mid/bass
tones do not control because of the power they gain through repetition, as in a Wiley or Footsie beat, but are prominent here because of their sparsity. The current UK Bass sound, where bass is no longer the main concern, seems to be an influence in this. Overall a unique and innovative beat. ‘Jetpack joyride’ has a faster tempo, carrying along the flow of the song more quickly; but there is still a sense of Pedro's want to deconstruct the usual grime sound, stripping back those elements that he does not want. Part of this deconstruction is about introducing new elements usually foreign to the 140 bpm he is producing at, like the regular four-bar of Jungle-esque kicks here. The ultimate control that the bass has in a Wiley production can send any club mad, yet the higher pitch of the bass in conjunction with the disjunctive elements like the Jungle-esque kicks and heavy snare every eight bars would, I expect, produce much the same effect.
personal details and calling for readers to send in addresses of the “homos”. This modern day witchhunt attacks from every side. Christian extremism incites this violence through misinformation, holding public prayer meetings that seek to defend against “them”, equating the cause of the AIDS epidemic with homosexuality. LGBT people are imagined as a force of evil, “recruiting” children and purposefully spreading this plague. These false accusations that propel the campaign and instigate hatred have been linked to the influence of a U.S. secret society called ‘The Family/The Fellowship’. The proposer of the bill (Bahati) stated in an interview with Jeff Charlotte, “The bill is the fellowship. It was our idea”. This imperial pressure is not only coming from private organizations, but from the U.S government itself. Under the Bush administration the AIDS relief program PEPFAR allocated 33% of the funds to be used for abstinence programs. In 2008 it was reauthorized, and requires a report to be made if over 50% of funds are spent on non-abstinence promotion. Policies like this continue to manipulate aid, serving a religious agenda that benefits homophobic currents. Abstinence pledges often sidelines sexual education and provision of condoms for prevention. This documentary unearths the smearing influence of the U.S. in Uganda, where the weapons of law, media, and religion have all come out to attack the LGBT community who despite fearing their lives still take courage and fight.
The final track of the EP is Checan's remix of ‘Slush’. This is another young producer to look out for, linked to the quickly growing Unknown to the Unknown label. Typical of his Sheffield roots, the predominant sound is that of Bassline; pioneers like DJ Q and Niche are clearly big influences. The introduction is more of a build-up to the main event than in Pedro's original. However, after the introduction that sets the tone for something a bit more throbbing, the song settles into a surprisingly tame melody. This understatement suits the EP as a whole, but Checan does not do understatement as well as Pedro; Checan is a great producer, but either he did not want to overshadow Pedro's original or Pedro's original sets the bar too high. Either way something is missing. Look out for Pedro's next release 'Swap Numbers EP', out on the 20th November.
In the cinema:
OUT THIS MONTH: AMOUR (Nov. 16th) An elderly Parisian couple deal with the effects of progressive dementia in French director Michael Haneke’s unflinchingly honest portrayal of love, intimacy and old age. Looks set to be difficult but advisable viewing. THE MASTER (Nov. 16th) Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman are both imposing onscreen presences in Paul Thomas Anderson’s beautifully shot tale of a soldier readjusting to a post WWII world, and the charismatic man who offers him a new chance at life. THE HUNT (Nov. 30th) Casino Royale’s blood-weeping villain Mads Mikkelsen plays a small town pre-school teacher whose reputation is inexorably tarnished when a child’s lie is presumed to be true in this disturbing Danish drama. Mikkelsen has already won the Best Actor award at this years Cannes festival for his role as the victim of mass hysteria and injustice.
KILLING THEM SOFTLY Brad Pitt excels as the enforcer brought in to clean up the mess of a card game robbery gone awry in this grim crime thriller, set distinctively in post-recession America. Whilst the script is a little clunky at times, the film is ultimately held up by Pitt’s performance as the weary gunman. DREDD Gloriously violent with fantastic 3D slow motion effects, Dredd stars a deadpan Karl Urban as the eponymous Judge while co-star Olivia Thirlby (Juno) provides the film’s emotional resonance. SKYFALL Director Sam Mendes’ take on Bond is being touted as the best yet, and there’s a lot of evidence to back it up. Craig is on top form as 007 travels from Istanbul via Shanghai and London to a climatic showdown in Scotland, and Javier Bardem’s Silva is the most chilling Bond villain in years. If you’re not a fan of the franchise it’s worth watching for Roger Deakins’ (No Country for Old Men) incredible cinematography alone.
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Film reviews by Jess West
ARGO Summary: The US embassy in Tehran falls to pro-revolutionary Iranians in November of 1979; six employees escape. To flee the country they must successfully impersonate crew members for the fake sci-fi film Argo, a plan created by the CIA’s Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck). Review: A blend of Hollywood satire, period drama and thriller, Argo marks quite a departure from
RUST AND BONE (DE ROUILLE ET D’OS) Summary: Ali (Matthias Schoenaerts) drifts to the South of France to look for work with his son in tow, where he meets Stephanie (Marion Cotillard), a killer whale trainer at the local marine park. When Stephanie suffers a tragic accident at work, it is Ali who pushes her to pick herself up again, and she in turn helps him turn his own life around. Review: The premise of Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone is a common one: a woman rescued from unfortunate circumstances by a brutish savior, both redeemed and revitalised by love. The clichés appear regularly and were this a Hollywood offering, would no doubt be nauseating, but the strength of Cotillard and Schoenaerts’ performances manages to keep the predictable plot interesting. At first glance, the two main characters seem fairly
Ben Affleck’s previous work as director, yet he is clearly comfortable with the change. For his third feature Affleck has taken on what seems at first beyond him: a historical thriller with multiple locations and a side of cinematic self reference: a film about making a film. It was previously tipped to be directed by George Clooney- he's now on board as a producer. This is certainly branching out from source based material (2007’s Gone Baby Gone was an adaptation of excellent crime fiction author Dennis Lehane’s book) and stories set in his home neighbourhood of Boston (2010’s The Town).
Affleck quickly acquaints his audience with the details of the situation through a blend of graphic novel style sketches and fauxdocumentary images, and this concise introduction makes it easy for the film to go straight into focusing on our six escapees. All are relatively unknown actors, which enhances our emotional connection with the characters and their dangerous situation. The tension is impressively built and, more importantly, Affleck succeeds in sustaining it for the entire film. One of many highlights is the excellent script, which veers from hysterically funny to intense and
unsympathetic. Stephanie is introduced to us as a self confessed flirt who goes to clubs for the thrill of attraction, but gets ‘bored’ once a man is interested; Ali is shown as a negligent father, running away from his problems and too self indulged to give his motherless son the attention he needs. In showing us the selfish, childish sides of each character before their respective tragedies strike, Audiard ensures that whether or not our sympathies ultimately lie with Stephanie and Ali, we are emotionally engaged with their situation. The film's preoccupation with the physical is evident: Ali works as a bouncer and a fighter, and Stephanie's sudden disability is shown in contrast to this. One of the key achievements of the film is that we do not see Cotillard's character rendered unattractive or sexless, nor is she defined by her disability. This is due in part to our differing attitudes to those born with disabilities versus those who acquire them through accidents. It is also due to Ali’s unconditional acceptance of Stephanie, and the ways he views her loss as something to move on from rather than wallow in. The soundtrack is fairly emotionally manipulative, bringing
out Bon Iver and Katy Perry’s Firework, but this clumsiness is offset by Audiard’s exquisite shots of Stephanie at work, and her reunion with the whales she formerly trained. An unnecessary subplot appears in the second half of the film, involving unemployment, betrayal and work ethics, and serves only to show Ali’s continuing thoughtlessness with regard to his family members. This forces another tragedy to occur, which at this stage feels almost mandatory. It is unfortunate that Cotillard is less present throughout the third act of the film, as focus shifts to Schoenaerts’ problems, but it is to be expected of Audiard, whose films are often male dominated and heavy on violence, as exhibited in 2009's excellent A Prophet. However, the male attendees at one of Ali’s fights are shown subdued by Stephanie’s quiet dignity and calm assertion, her strength a different kind to theirs altogether. Overall: Although often flawed and prone to cliché, the performances of Cotillard and Schoenaerts, who elevate the film above your typical hard luck story, and the gorgeous cinematography make Rust and Bone a worthwhile watch.
sobering in seconds, and lets the conflicting emotions enhance rather than neutralise each other. Affleck is also adept in his use of contrast, boldly intercutting a scene of a brutal mock execution in Iran with a public script read through in Hollywood: the inference being that these events are both for show, both are hollow performances. These scenes balance each other in a surprisingly effective way, and show directorial confidence and strength. Standout performances are numerous: Scoot McNairy- of recent Killing Them Softly fame- is impressive as the leader of the stranded group, whilst Alan Arkin
and John Goodman, with some of the best lines, are on top form hilariously mocking the nature of Hollywood in the second act. Despite having minimal screen time Bryan Cranston also makes his mark as Affleck’s crotchety CIA boss. Overall: A fantastically tense and well scripted thriller, with strong performances all round and a great satirical stab at Hollywood. The departure from his directorial norm proves once more that Affleck is one to watch out for. Highly recommended.
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
There Will Always Be An England (Oh really?)
Illustration: Bea Cartwright By DANIEL FRAMPTON Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears: I come to exhume provincialism and to praise it. The evil that men do lives after them: the good is oft interred with their bones. And grievously hath the parochial answer’d it. But here I am to speak what I do know. You all did love the indigenous once, not without cause: what cause withholds you then, to mourn for it? A proviso, then: this may indeed appear to be an unpardonable defence of the indefensible. Certainly, the redoubts are few and the garrisons undermanned. In 1847 the Duke of Wellington was moved to write an open letter, one fretting over the defenceless state of Britain’s coastline and its vulnerability to foreign invasion. But if we were to similarly view the state of Britain’s Martellos today, as an allegory for her national art, we would not only find them nigh-derelict curiosities; far worse, in fact, we would see that the beaches have already been stormed, the land occupied. Britain has been conquered by the forces of internationalism, Albion reduced to a demure, acquiescent Vichy – its most compliant collaborator: indifference. But where is the temperamental insurgency? Ford Madox Ford wrote in Some Do Not that, ‘In such a world as this... a sentimentalist must be stoned to death. He makes the others so uncomfortable.’ If this is indeed the case, the insurrectionist would be failing in his dutiful obligation if he did not throw a few rocks back before buried under the pile himself. One major stipulation of the Orwellian state in Nineteen EightyFour is the ease with which the contemporary asserts ‘an appearance of orthodoxy’, while its incarcerated inmates have ‘no grasp whatever’ of what that orthodoxy is. And now, in 2012, we find ourselves with the seemingly superlative and
desirable preference; an orthodoxy championing the eclectic and the inclusive, an ecumenical lingua franca of ‘Newspeak’ that all selfrespecting liberals must subscribe to in order to avoid the urticate accusation of ‘cultural bigot’. But internationalism is not pluralism; unless you consider the colonial assimilation of multifarious cultures into one homogenous dominion to be an enviable form of caliphate. It is, rather, a very delitescent type of tyranny; homogenous, imperialistic and iconoclastic. It has many paradigms: Piet Mondrian’s NeoPlasticism; Ben Nicholson’s period of Abstract-Puritanism; the sterile styling’s of Le Corbusier; Malevich’s Suprematism; Picasso’s alignment with Primitivism; Marinetti’s oppressive assault on the past; and the Abstract-Expressionist ejaculatory jizz (best spat out than swallowed) of the grandmasterquack Jackson Pollock. As the great English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams once defiantly remarked: ‘Better to be vitally parochial than to be an emasculate cosmopolitan.’ Yet some readers may no doubt think the eradication of borders, liturgies and eccentricities to be a desirable form of cultural genocide and patricide; a very noble suicide. But in a time of rapid and uncontainable globalisation – an increasingly elongated epoch of eroded ethnicities and massacred dialects – if art has just one obligation to which it must dutifully adhere then surely it is to enact a resistance against the corrosion affected by the contemporary. But unforgivably, not only has Western art failed to man the redoubts, it has actually been complicit in pulling them down. Internationalism embezzles the cultural economies of native cultures. Picasso’s anthropological pillage of African and Oceanic cultures, for example, cannot be denied. With a cultural face, its
corollary, and our great injury, is homogeny. However, this is not, conversely, an isolationist’s advocacy in the sense of plotting to tow the United Kingdom a hundred or so miles westwards into the secluded bosom of the Atlantic Ocean. Yet it is no coincidence that Britain’s most prolific and defiant, though terse, period of idiosyncratic outburst, an episode lasting just five years in the twentieth-century, materialized as a consequence of the Second World War, when, fighting for its life, the country was cut-off from the influence of the European Continent. Under the direction of Kenneth Clark and the War Artists Advisory Committee, Britain’s most endowed painters blossomed, exuding an identifiably British art – artists such as Graham Sutherland, John Piper, Paul Nash, John Minton and Eric Ravilious. Furthermore, the ‘atavistic emotion of patriotism’, as even George Orwell noted, had its uses, as it did in 1940, in uniting the nation, pro bono, ‘like a herd of cattle facing a wolf’. Yet perhaps this is exactly why the autocratic internationalist seeks patriotism’s demolition. Under the loud directives of internationalism, the inveterate native is nothing but an outmoded relic. In 1932 the artist Paul Nash noted that the conflict was one of the ‘industrial versus the pastoral; the functional versus the futile’. Today, the Old Guard isn’t quite dead, but evidently exhibits a longstanding tubercular cough and lives a life in exile, languishing in the provinces – artists such as Harold Mockford – outside the concrete boundary wall of the M25. And many so-called cosmopolitans would be hard-pressed to identify even just a few of the defining characteristics of Albion’s autochthonous idiom in paint. Seventy years ago, one critic described it as ‘the opposite of fanatic... the opposite of
intellectualised: it means kindly and affectionate: it means technically competent: it usually means romantic.’ English art’s enemies saw this as clear as its defensive cohorts. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, the fascistic leader and sebaceous douchebag of the Futurist set, was at least honest in vocalising his iconoclastic intent; condemning England as a nation ‘enslaved by old worm-eaten traditions, social conventions and romanticism’, its art ‘nostalgic... longing for a past that is beyond recall’. And of course, he was perfectly correct in this tersely astute abstract. But Marinetti sought to abolish Britain and its intrinsic sense of itself. Clearly, he had no sympathy for Cicero’s great retort, that the negation of the past and its inheritance was the equivalent of wishing to confine oneself to the mental condition of an adolescent. Native British art was always going to appear timid, conservative, and even embarrassing, when compared to the audacious experiments carried out under the grand auspices of modernism on the Continent. Unfortunately, in this myopic view – that the worth of a nation’s art, and its right to existence, can only ever be relative to that of the always superior ‘isms’, and thus substandard – artistic liturgy, history and modesty became nothing but synonyms for ‘inferior’. Yet there used to be Britons who stood for national dialect. When asked what the Royal Academy stood for in the 1930s, W.R.M. Lamb, its Secretary since 1913, replied in earnest that it was ‘the custodian of precious elements which might be overlooked or mislaid in the general hurry’. However, in this new century there is the common dictum – held most of all by my fellow comrades on the Left – which believes that there is no place for tradition and provincial patriotism today. Indeed, many
consider it the greatest disgrace. Yet years ago, when a love of country and an observance of duty actually saved Britain from Napoleonic tyranny, this was not the case. Indeed, when the painter Charles Eastlake was made a Royal Academician his great friend, the sentimental and wildly partisan J.M.W. Turner was moved to comment, in a manner not at all meant to be flippant or mocking: ‘My dear Charles you are now a complete brother labourer in the same Vineyard and England expects every Man to do his duty.’ We abolish these congenital sentiments at our peril. For the contemporary and the international mean the dissolution of duty, and of English art – a Ben Nicholson whitewash in the veritable Cromwellian manner. English art requires a Trafalgar of its own. And if the indigenous artist or historian, the defender of the provincial, should like to know how to go about their duty, and in doing so defend their native culture, and others too, it can be simply summed up by the simplest order that Admiral Lord Nelson ever, perhaps, gave himself, one made upon the eve of Trafalgar, that ‘no Captain can do very wrong if he places his Ship alongside that of the Enemy’. For our national art and history is a rude poetry that reverberates down to us from the past, its purpose to shock us out of our own indifference and, in doing so, to cure us of our docile obedience to the contemporary. That pause of reprieve between every heartbeat, the past is also uncouth and combative, made to be felt keenly. A bastion of liberty, it is the last and greatest defender of nations, and of what Shakespeare once evoked as ‘that white-faced shore... that water-wallèd bulwark, still secure and confident from foreign purposes’.
Prints & Drawings Room By RACHEL SLOAN Think of the Courtauld Gallery and the first thing that’s likely to come to mind is the paintings. The paintings are only the tip of the iceberg, though. The collection also contains about 7000 drawings, one of the most important collections in the UK, ranging from the Renaissance to the twentieth century. The print collection numbers about 22,000, a large proportion of which are reproductive prints originally assembled as a study collection. Because of their sensitivity to light, prints and drawings can’t be kept on permanent display. The good news is that you can come and view them in our Print Study Room; we’re open on a drop-in basis – no appointment necessary – every Wednesday afternoon, 1.30-4 pm, during term time. The entire drawings collection can be found online at www.artandarchitecture.org.uk; a smaller proportion of the prints are online, but a major print cataloguing project is now underway which will result in greater visibility for the collection. Because prints and drawings can only be put on view for short periods of time, we frequently plan new displays which, given our status as a
university gallery, are always research-driven. The beginning of term saw the opening at the Frick Collection in New York of Mantegna to Matisse: Master Drawings from the Courtauld Collection, a major exhibition of about 60 of the finest drawings in the collection and the culmination of several years of research. Room 12, on the top floor of the Gallery, always has a selection of works from the permanent collection which relate to the main exhibition; the current display, in conjunction with the Peter Lely exhibition, reveals Lely as a draughtsman and a collector of drawings. Keep an eye out for the next display, opening in late January, which will bring together prints and drawings of the female model by Picasso, Matisse and Maillol, and shows a rather different side of Picasso’s art to what you’ll see in Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901. We always have a changing selection of prints on view in the Print Study Room itself, curated by our Print Room Assistants, as well as Print Room Talks, highlighting a single work from the collection, two or three times a term (the next one will take place on 10 January).
The belated revelation of a Courtauld graduate
Barnard Castle in County Durham, taken on 14th November 1971. By HANNAH VICKERS This Summer I graduated from the BA course at the Courtauld. I am ashamed to say that during the past three years I stepped foot in the Witt & Conway libraries fewer than ten times and knew little about the collections they contained. It was not until two months after I graduated that I discovered the treasures of the Courtauld’s image libraries, on returning for a brief spell to make a survey of the negative vaults. These refrigerated cells are crammed from floor to ceiling with boxes and paper envelopes of photographic negatives – some two million in total. Carefully holding negatives up to the light, I glimpsed drawings by Rubens and sculptures by Barbara
Hepworth, French alabasters and Crusader architecture. Aside from the subject matter, the very forms that the negatives take vary widely, from acetate strips of 35mm’s to glass plates the size of A3. Emerging to warm up in the main section of the Conway I’d spend breaks and after-hours immersed in the collection of photographic prints. Tom Bilson, Head of Digital Media at the Courtauld, kindly introduced me to a selection of these. I discovered photographs of Anthony Blunt in a boat surrounded by students and camera equipment, one of many images from the Courtauld’s wide-ranging Photographic Survey. The collections of a number of individual photographers are also held in the Courtauld. Included is
the work of Paul Laib, a photographer who captured artists, and takes us into their studios and in front of their works, even up close to their hands. Then the photographs of Anthony Kersting take us around the world, from a quintessential shot of Barnard Castle in County Durham, framed between turgid sky and river, to a repulsive yet engrossing closeup of a haemorrhoid operation in Egypt. These are just a few examples of the remarkable, unique photographs held in the Courtauld’s photography collection. I hope that present and future Courtauld students will discover these treasures before they graduate.
Becoming Picasso: Paris 1901 By BARNABY WRIGHT, Daniel Katz Curator of 20th Century Art The Courtauld Gallery, 14 February to 26 May 2013 In February The Courtauld Gallery will open what promises to be one of the most exciting exhibitions we have ever staged. It explores Pablo Picasso’s breakthrough year as an artist – 1901 - and looks at how the young Spanish nobody started to become ‘Picasso’. In the summer of 1901 the nineteen-year-old Picasso made a dramatic entrance into the Paris art world with his first major exhibition in the city. He produced most of the 64 works for the show in about six weeks and won over the critics with his restless energy and precocious talent. The reviewer Gustave Coquiot introduced him as:
“Pablo Ruiz Picasso – an artist who paints all round the clock, who never believes the day is over, in a city that offers a different spectacle every minute… A passionate, restless observer, he exults, like a mad but subtle jeweller, in bringing out his most sumptuous yellows, magnificent greens and glowing rubies”. The works were a breathless gallop through the styles and subjects of modern French art and Picasso was fearless in taking on the great masters of the age, Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec and Van Gogh to name just a few. The exhibition was a success but despite this, Picasso decided to change direction. Haunted by the recent suicide of his close friend, Carles Casagemas, and determined to produce art that was more profund and monumental,
Picasso produced a series of major figure paintings, boldly rendered in mournful colours, which herald the beginning of his famous Blue period. These works from the second half of 1901 did not receive the same critical or financial rewards as those in his summer exhibition but today are considered some of his most important early paintings. The Courtauld exhibition brings together a major group of Picasso’s 1901 paintings to tell the story of this one remarkable year when he first made his mark on Paris and began to find his own artistic voice. It will be a unique opportunity to experience these works which will be on loan to us from international public and private collections. Do come and see the exhibition and don’t forget that Courtauld students always have free admission to the Gallery.
Picasso, Child with a Dove, 1901, oil on canvas, 73 x 54 cm, private collection
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
The Courtauld Film Discussion Group
By SIMON PARKIN, The Composite Order President The Composite Order (a.k.a. The Lads’ Society) was formed upon the idea that something of the pub crawls of Leeds and the smashed windows of the Bullingdon might be breathed into the dwindling male population at the Courtauld, providing the occasional welcome distraction from the danse macabre of student life. The levity of curry nights, pub golf and printed t-shirts gently buffing out the creases left by 13hour library shifts and the cafe still not serving bacon sandwiches. Despite our ambition to promote inter-year camaraderie amongst the University's most marginalised demographic, the lads, our events are open to all. If you interested in drinking, socialising, and generally upping the quality of Courtauld banter then look no further. As many of you will have noticed, the Courtauld lads are currently grooming glorious moustaches for the Movember charity. At the time of writing, we have raised £794 to raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and testicular cancer. I would like to thank everyone who has donated so far and I hope that we will continue to receive great support. Upcoming Events: THE COMPOSITE ORDER CURRY CLUB MONDAY 26TH NOVEMBER THE PUB GOLF TAVERN CRAWL FRIDAY 7TH DECEMBER
The Courtauld Film Discussion Group aims to provide a casual environment for watching and talking about any and all types of moving images; 35mm, digital, and even .gif. In the new year we'll start bi-weekly screenings and discussions in the Courtauld Cafe. We'll also be tying in events with the literature society. We're also planning to make more of the fantastic movie theatres in London. The ICA, BFI, and the Prince Charles Cinema (One of London's best independent cinemas, and a personal favourite of Tom, Jake, and Quentin Tarantino)
are all within 10 minutes of The Courtauld. They showcase the rarer and more unusual films that you might not have seen before. We'll see some good, some bad, and some ugly films, but hopefully they'll be films that you've never seen before. We don't know everything there is to know, so suggestions of cinemas to visit, films to see, and subjects to talk about are highly welcomed. Join the Facebook Group 'Courtauld Film Soc' - or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.
The Courtauld Literature Society For a second year the Courtauld Literature society returns to offer new and current students a forum for literary appreciation. Our aim to be an inclusive forum for discussion is coupled with refreshing material, with the provision of leisure time reading being the prerogative of the society, that in no way hinders students already committed to heavy workloads. So far this term we have enjoyed the company of many great authors, enjoyably recognisable to some and excitingly new to others; works by Virginia Woolfe, Sam Selvon, Edgar Allan Poe, Wilfred Owen and the War Poets, Dylan Thomas and even some Dickens. We read extracts from larger novels due to time constraints, short stories and poetry, often showing short films of adaptations and recorded poetry recitations.
To aid discussion we provide overarching theme; there can only be limited material by an author offered as reading, so it is encouraged that members of the society feel to can incorporate into discussion, works of interest that correlate to the weekly leitmotif. A Christmas reading list will be issued, with recommendations for books that students may like to review for the Courtauldian Literary Supplement in 2013. The reviews can be categorised into either our classic or contemporary segments, contact Roisin O’Connor for more details. If you have not attended the Courtauld Literature Society previously, and cannot make the meetings, you can still write a review for a book of your choice and send it to email@example.com. uk
Business of Art Society
By DANIELLE CLARK BRYAN, Business of Art Society Chair
This term the Business of Art Society has had a great response from the whole student body, from curious first year BAs to Postgraduates with a wealth of “real world” experience to share! At BoAS we emphasise the importance of exploring current contacts and forming new ones. This provides a great opportunity for students to start networking, with the security of the Society’s reputation to support any invitations. As a result, this term our members have made exciting progress inviting speakers and arranging events in many areas of art business. On Tuesday 4th December at 6pm, Ezra Konvitz, Courtauld alumna and co-founder of the art-sharing social website ArtStack, will be coming to give a talk on his career. He will lead a discussion on how social media and online networking has affected the traditional structures of the art world and the way we, on a personal level, come into contact with and connect through art. This dynamic
and insightful talk will be open to all students and we hope to continue the online art business theme throughout the year. In January, contemporary fine art dealer Emily Tsingou will be giving a presentation on her experience in art dealership. We will also be hosting a discussion between two lawyers who work in different areas of art law, following the success of last year’s popular talk by art lawyer Anna O’Connell. Other areas of interest being explored are tours around an auction house, art and investment and marketing and a long term project involving interviewing a series of collectors is being organised by members of BoAS. This term has also been crucial for deciding on the organisation, structure and running of the society. Key positions have been appointed: Eleanor Rees is Deputy Chair, Chloe Ashby is Secretary, Yoojin Choi is Postgraduate Representative and Hannah Wood is Treasurer. Furthermore, this year the first BoAS website was launched and we expect to increase our online presence throughout the year.
The Courtauld Theatre Society
Theatre society is a brand new society set up this year by BA3 students Joanna Thomas and Izzy Morris. We organise trips to various theatres across London, making the most of the many cheap student tickets. Everybody is welcome to come along; and we always meet for a drink before the play starts – so it’s also a great chance to socialise and meet other students. Our first event was Taming of the Shrew at the Globe, we all got £5 standing tickets (our legs got a bit sore but it was the best view of the stage! ) Next we went to see Taboo (a musical written by Boy George) in an off-west end venue in Brixton. It was very funny, although perhaps a bit too much audience participation for some of us… Upcoming events: A Christmas Carol at the Arts Theatre – 6th December (£12.50) – get your tickets soon (info on the facebook group) We also have another December event in the pipeline, and lots of ideas for next term. Our aim is to choose a wide range of plays and theatres. We’re also open to suggestions! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Courtauld Ski Society
Let’s get Piste!
This year is the first year that the Courtauld Institute has its very own Ski Society. The Courtauld Institute's Ski Society is excited to present "Let's Get Piste" the Courtauld's first ever multi-year trip. Hosted by the British University's Snowsports Council, the ski trip will be going to Alpe d'Huez on the 22 March to the 30 March 2013. Even the firsttime skier can enjoy the glistening white slopes, either by participating on the slopes or off them. Apres-ski is an inaugural part of the skiing experience! Early bird bookings end on the 25th December, and you can book online at www.buscevents.com. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com.
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
The Courtauld Sport Society
The Courtauld Art Society So far this term the Art Society has been focussing on getting the life drawing classes up and running. We were very pleased to welcome Mary Treherne, a commissioned portrait artist and teacher from The Hampstead School of Art, who has been extremely good at getting us all back into the swing of actually drawing again! The work so far has been amazing and personally, Iâ€™ve noticed a huge improvement in my work just after a few classes. They
Sports Society was one of the newbies on the block this term at the Courtauld. We have been aiming to get the the student body active and have a bit of fun along the way! So far we have started slowly with weekly Pilates Classes on Mondays and a Running Club on Tuesdays. While the Running Club have hung up their trainers for the winter months, watch out for its return in
the Spring Term. Pilates is set to become a regular feature in the Student Cafe - a great form of relaxation after a day in library! However, with the end of term looming and the Spring Term just around the corner we thought it was time to up our game a bit. At the Freshers Fayre we mentioned the possibility of starting a football team and although this initially proved to
be a little more complicated than expected there has recently been a break through. Watch out for news on some Christmas footballing fun and the first Sports Soc Social at the end of term. And after lots of festive and merry celebration Sports Soc will be back in the New Year with lots more sporting activities to help you work off your Christmas belly!
By Rowena Cameron-Mowat
Equality Society By UMBER GHAURI The Courtauld Equality society is here as a space for sharing ideas relating to equality. Whether that is equality is related to gender, sexuality, race, class, disability, or any number of differences, this space is here to welcome new voices. So far we have had a discussion with the editors of the Vagenda, an online blog and magazine of the mainstream feminist brand. Looking forward, the society is hosting a talk about race and its intersections with gender, a talk with fat-girl feminists on fatphobia, and a film screening followed by discussion. Our main aim is to give an effective platform to students who feel in any way marginalised. As Art Historians we know that the most interesting voices often come from the margins. We hope you will all contribute ideas for more innovative events and submit articles or any other media (including film and artwork) to our blog http://londonstudentequality.blogs pot.co.uk I am looking also to have students lead their own talks and events. This could be related to Art History or not, it only has to be interesting! Please get in touch and get involved by emailing Equality.Society@courtauld.ac.uk
By Annie Gregoire
have been a great way to take a couple of therapeutic hours out of essay writing and reading just to relax. Next term, we will be far more focused on going out and sketching in galleries and museums, with some more life drawing sessions for those who have enjoyed the ones so far or still want to get involved. Mary is great at introducing new techniques and styles, so come along no matter what your previous experience is!
A letter from Katie Roberts
B KATIE By KA ATIE ROBERTS, ROBERTS President RO P id t off the Students’ Union Since my performance in Freshers’ Week, it seems I have been branded as the official Paparazzi of the Courtauld! I suppose I needn’t attempt to question this title, for as us art historians know only too well, pictures can speak for themselves… But putting the camera back in its case for a moment, I would just like to reflect on what a transitional year this has been for the Courtauld Students’ Union. When Hannah, Ieuan and I began our terms in office way back in July, we decided to start with a blank canvas. We wanted to create an SU that was fresh, exciting and formed an active and integral part of the Institute. By August we had a new logo, then an eruption of many new societies and events came in September, and now that November is here, we have the pleasure of witnessing the first ever Courtauld Students’ Newspaper! After the elections in October, we had a full SU in place who have each been doing a great job in contributing, suggesting and assisting with plans to ensure that Courtauld Student life really is at it’s best this year. We have worked hard as a team, along with the Heads of Societies, to run the many successful events, lectures and activities this term. Although at times it has not been easy, it has all seemed to come together in the end! It will always be challenging to bring about change, create new ways of doing things and have the courage to take risks. But the gratitude so many of you have shown me through all of your kind words and support for how the SU is running this year has made it extremely rewarding to fulfill my role as Student Union President. I really do hope that the SU has helped to enrich your time at the Courtauld this year, and that the products of my Paparazzi tendencies have helped to build fond memories of the events that have run so far, and can act as the groundwork for the many more exciting projects that are to come in the New Year! But first… see you at the Courtauld Christmas Party for some Mulled wine and Christmas Jazz! Kx
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
House Party East Night
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Jazz at the Nightjar Autumn Ball
casual corner Crossword by Oliver Mitchell
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Spot the Difference by Hongmiao Shi Find all 7 differences between these two versions of Lucas Cranach’s Adam and Eve (1526). If you’re struggling, why not go and see the original in Room 2 of the Courtauld Gallery?
DOWN 1 Whipped cream dessert (8) 2 For the Love of God (5) 3 First PM of the UK (7) 4 Windpipe (7) 5 War and ... (5) 6 Confusion (8) 7 Woman's top (6) 9 Triangular pastry (6) 10 End (of slavery) (9) 11 Luxurious self-indulgence (9) 14 German Renaissance printmaker (5) 15 Association of craftsmen (5) 16 Openly berate (5) 20 To enjoy inflicting pain on others (8) 21 To act in self interest (6) 23 Consuming food (6) 24 Practice (for a play) (8) 26 Ancient Egyptian monument (7) 27 Sunk the Titanic (7) 31 For contacting the dead (5) 32 Location of sacred Christian shroud (5)
1. Green apple in hand. 2. Pigeons in different places. 3. Sunrise. 4. Seven apples missing from tree. 5. Pink horse. 6. No boar. 7. Courtauld SU logo in water.
ACROSS 1 Minor attraction (8) 4 Intestinal parasite (8) 7 Beef extract drunk hot (6) 8 Early calculator (6) 10 Wasted away (9) 12 Promotional statement about a book (5) 13 Infectious disease (5) 14 French Impressionist (5) 17 City in south-west Poland (7) 18 Painter of Courtauld's Adam and Eve, 1526 (7) 20 Ceremonial staff (7) 22 Small ruminating mammal (7) 25 French sculptor (5) 28 For example: Florence cathedral (5) 29 Hidden problem or disadvantage (5) 30 Small book (9) 33 Most famous island in French Polynesia (6) 34 One who eavesdrops (6) 35 Re-start a celebrity career (8) 36 Infection of bodily tissue (8)
My Courtauld Life by Hattie Icke
Answers online at facebook.com/thecourtauldian
Jacob Charles Wilson, BA2
Vincent van Gogh
“Sir, this week I was passing the Courtauld and noticed that one of your BA students has come rather late in life to the happy pastime of degree study. Please could you furnish me with the details of his secret to longevity? I hear his 159th birthday caused quite a stir. If you have time, also get me the name of his plastic surgeon – I suppose he decided to have “it” put back on because he got tired of the joke where the barman offers him a drink, and he always has to reply that he has one ‘ere...”
The Courtauldian | Issue 1 | November-December 2012
Bite-sized Quarterly by Amanda Mead Soya, honey & chilli pork Because your cooking will taste better than a Tesco ready meal! Serves (double quantities if you have a friend!) Time min. half an hour Ingredients 3 tbs soya sauce 1 tbs honey
chilli flakes 1 pork steak
Mix soya sauce, honey and chilli flakes in a bowl. 2. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for however much time you have – all day or 5 minutes. The longer, the better. 3. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. 4. Put the pork steak and all of the marinade into an
ovenproof dish and cook in the oven for 25 minutes. 5. If you’re lucky enough to have a grill setting on your oven, turn it to the highest heat and finish the pork under the grill for 3-5 minutes. This will thicken the sauce and give the pork a nice golden top. 6. Serve with rice or salad.
Sausage and bean casserole A simple dinner party recipe – better cooking = better wine (courtesy of your guests!) Serves Time 1 hour Ingredients 8 sausages 1 tin butterbeans 1 jar tomato passata 1 tbs Worcester sauce
choice of beverage – red wine choices on a student budget can only be described as sub-standard, and I won’t even begin to describe the white! So, for the duration of the year (or rather for four editions of the Courtauldian) I will be sharing a few recipes that can be used by even the most amateur cook. The only reason for failure
would be an inability to measure ingredients – which, as art history students, we may find challenging. We are not the most adept with numbers! In this edition, I will be sharing two recipes: one for the halls student and one simple dinner party recipe, as well as some tips for winning food combinations.
You DON’T know how to cook rice? Growing up in a partially Asian household, rice was a staple food in home-cooked meals. Being able to cook rice is a necessary life skill, so here is an idiot-proof way to do so. If you really struggle, there’s always boil-in-the-bag …
Try these great food combinations:
Tip: 1 part rice to 2 parts water. Use whatever measuring implement you fancy, e.g. cups, teaspoons, grams/ml… Ingredients Rice water
½ Lamb, feta, pomegranate ½ Tomato, mozzarella, basil ½ Duck and blackberries ½ Lamb and cumin ½ Pear, stilton, walnut ½ Apple, cinnamon, raisins ½ Salmon and mango ½ Green beans and cumin
Preparation 1. Place both the rice and water in a pan and bring to boil. 2. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until all of the water has been absorbed. 3. Voila! Your rice should be ready.
Photo: Lee Sallafranque
1 beef stock cube 1 tbs mixed herbs 1 packet of crisps grated parmesan
Preparation 1. Preheat the oven to 200°C 2. Place the sausages onto a grill tray and place into the oven until cooked. This usually takes 20 – 25 minutes. 3. Cut the sausages into pieces and put in a casserole dish 4. Add the passata, stock cube, Worcester sauce, and mixed herbs. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens. Season with salt
Food is an integral part of our lives. Yet a surprising amount of us do not know how to cook, let alone cook well. When I go to a dinner party, my greatest fear is being served food that my thirteen yearold sisters could have made, and hiding my displeasure bite by painful bite. My taste buds might even be tortured further with the
and pepper. Add the butterbeans to the dish and simmer for a further 10 minutes. Meanwhile, crush the crisps. 6. Sprinkle the crisps and parmesan over the top of the dish, and place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. 7. Serve with salad or peas.
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Conservation It's time to stop thinking about the finer details and start looking at the bigger picture. Modernism after Postmodernism: You’re beginning to question your own existence. Sometimes, you feel as if you are just doing the same thing over and over again. Who are you? Where are you going? Where have you been? Is there any point to it all? Try not to lose sleep over it. Curating: You need to find a bit more balance in your life. Put your affairs in order and start to re-organise. Maybe feng shui might help.
Byzantine studies: You sometimes feel forgotten and overlooked. Have all your ideas been whitewashed by an overzealous colleague? It’s time to stand up for yourself.
Third year, History of Art BA: These are testing times. I foresee a period of stress and worry with prolonged periods of writing. If you feel as if your efforts are being judged, that’s because they are.
History of Dress: Wear the colour red and it will bring you luck. But take heed…red and green should never be seen! The Male body in NineteenthCentury European Art: You will meet a tall, dark, handsome stranger. About time too, right?
Medieval Studies: You have reached a crisis point. You have lost your keys/a limb/your mind/caught the plague. Just ask yourself what would Jesus/the Virgin/ St. Peter do? Maybe you should try asking for advice. If they are otherwise unavailable, just find your nearest foot/ finger/ internal organ/ blood-stained fragment of clothing to pray to.
Sex and Violence in America: I sense a lot of tension around your aura. Perhaps you should try some breathing exercises.
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Keep up with The Courtauldian on Facebook at facebook.com/thecourtauldian The Courtauldian is the student paper of the Courtauld Institute of Art. It is produced in its entirety by the students of the Courtauld Institute of Art and is by no means officially representative of the Courtauld Institute of Art or any of its staff, affiliated bodies, or internal associations. The views and opinions expressed within the articles of this paper are those solely of the individual authors to whom they are attributed.
The Courtauldian is the student paper of the Courtuald Institute of Art. The Editor-in-Chief is Hannah Zafiropoulos. This is the very first...