Monday, 27 October 2014

Friezeing our knackers off!

Thurs 16th October we woke up with blurry eyes, sore arseholes and a hotel deposit to try to blag back. That’s a lie, the hotel (more a building nestled neatly behind a closed down petrol station in the middle of the dog end of Hackney) wasn’t of deposit quality, thankfully – the donner meat we’d thrown across the wall in a flurry of post-exhibition ecstasy and pure gin-soaked tomfoolery would’ve rendered us skint.

But, alas! We had a date with the Frieze art fair 2014 to attend, we would be once again gorging ourselves and wandering starry eyed through the corridors of those that had blagged their way into being somehow more successful than us. Cheeky buggers, boring hairy fannied Europeans, political satirists and art world powerhouses unite in a spicy conceptual soup in the middle of the lucrative Regents Park.

The first thing of note, and probably THE best piece of preserved perfected sculptural, performative genius we witnessed all day was the incredible quality of the people who attended; we had never seen such a concentrated amount of beautifully placid, yet confident, HD eye-browed faces in all of our lives. Worth noting is the new London look which if you haven’t cottoned on to yet involves wearing a plain cotton t-shirt and no bra. Prominent nipples – a point in the right direction. We’ve been wearing ours like this ever since.

On to the art then (after a stop for expensive lemonade lies and sausage roll envy) – we sauntered through the haunting white walls looking to be amused, turned on or appalled (or all 3 at once).

The first work that caught our eye was a dramatic bronze sculpture of death titled ‘The Thorny Road of Food Digestion’ produced this year by the Chinese master of the absurd Chen Xiaoyun.

Spikey Poo

Its intimidating spikey frame appealing to our typically spikey nature, and its always to come face to face with a piece of art that is both actually physically dangerous and reminds you of poo.

We mosied on, sifting our way through what seemed like endless sculptures of things with feet and ceramics (on trend this year), desperate for some awkward interaction with the typically sour-faced gallery representatives. To no avail, they had business to do on their ipads of course (POF).

Heres a picture of Grimes doing what Grimes’s do best: pointing at an arse. This one wasn’t soft and rubbery like usual though, it was a screen with some form of endless boring pattern going on. Kudos for the arse screen revolution though, we’re hoping it might catch on and we could watch Back to the Future on a long journey off a kind ladies arse. 


Of course, this digital derriere was produced by female artist Shana Moulton (but you knew that already didn’t you?)
On to the next one, and our particular favorite from the whole fair Cathy Wiles ‘untitled’ (poor effort Cath, look at your game girl). 

This cotton headed little cutie really caught our imagination, we wanted to take it home and eat milk-bottle sweets with it and maybe one thing might lead to another. You know how it is. Take a bow Cathy, you warmed our hearts and helped create a moment of Snapchat admiration.

Gagosian can hold its massive swollen head up high for its inspired decision to bring a Gartenkinder to Frieze. This was art how it should be presented, breaking down all the cold barriers of gallery walls and building a literal playground for two giddy goats like me and him to touch and smell and wobble without the risk of another telling off. Heres Carston Hollers ‘Octopus’ being fondled by us two handsome cupcakes.

But you’d be a fool to think that we enjoyed the Gagosian room the most, we found solace in another New York galleries space: Salon 94. They attracted plenty of press with a loaned in presentation of the ‘Museum of Smile Face’ but beyond the big smiley behemoth we were seduced by the mucky sweet appeal of  a painting titled ‘Black Ice Cream’ by Katherine Bernhardt.

Everyone’s favorite cocktail ingredients submerged in a sea of black joy, its hard not to want to dance your pants off looking at a painting this wonderful.

Other than all the shit-hot art and the dredged up pretentious cold custard art we celebrated we found the whole experience tremendously inspiring and bonding and it is safe to say we will be friends for at least another year.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

TIAF London - Action painting!

Last Wednesday night Grimes & Jones performed at The Independent Art Fair London, this wonderful event feautured over 70 exhibiting artists with some brilliant pieces for sale. It also featured art’s sourest lemons in full combat attire. 

Crammed into a narrow alley for maximum claustrophobia & menace we set about stropping, boozing and schmoozing and after a while one of our famous action paintings has been born; this time entitled Perfidia

The painting was based on the idea of a class reunion for some of the faces from Hogarth’s Gin Lane. A scandalous amount of alcohol was consumed, our bare feet became sticky with spilled gin, cheap acrylic paint & sweat, and the class of 1751 were able to out their differences aside for one big reunion. 

Oh what a night.

For those boz-eyed interpreters & analysts amongst you, here are some Key Facts to help you understand the work:

Many thanks to the amazing Wendy MacMillan for organising the event and to all the other exhibitors we met. 

Friday, 3 October 2014

Perfidia: The Rag Factory, London, Weds 14th October

"Gin-drinking is a great vice in England, but wretchedness and dirt are a greater; and until you improve the homes of the poor, or persuade a half-famished wretch not to seek relief in the temporary oblivion of his own misery, with the pittance that, divided among his family, would furnish a morsel of bread for each, gin-shops will increase in number and splendour. “
Sketches by Boz, Charles Dickens.

In 1751 William Hogarth was commissioned to create some prints to support the ‘Gin Act’ (the prohibition of unlicensed Gin in England).  One of these artworks centred around a place known as ‘Gin Lane’, a (then) slum in St Giles, London. Hogarths scene depicted squalor, despair, poverty, starvation and misery - all of our favourite themes. The context of  this chaotic Gin Lane concept is masked in a sublime misunderstanding and condescension of the needs of the working class fuckwit. 
The underground Gin trade became a united community; a wisp of mothers ruin was cheaper and more accessible than clean water - and twice the fun!! Why face the mundane, glib reality of a bureaucratic society when you can numb your mind with the bitter tang of Juniper? The concern arose that people were so wrecked on gin that their lives fell into disregard, their children went hungry and the streets became a 24-7 farmyard of crime, debauchery and irresponsibility.
Welcome to the 21st century.
Gin is back! Sporting a new haircut and a hipster identity, it has once again become the choice of sad Mums and cute young bums the nation over. We, the modern day fops and dandies have adopted the old Gin Lane positions as we clamber lampposts and bollards, keeled over our Donner and chips in our vomit-happy stupor. We’re buying boutique gins ("slice of grapefruit?" "Fuck off mate") like its going out of fashion, pretending to be connoisseurs at Gin Festivals, giving ourselves a nouveaux  sense of what it feels like to be posh and proper. Truth is we just want to get fucked, the same as the rest of them.
As London soils itself with yet another class / economy identity crisis, we, the ‘idiot generation' are burying our heads in the Juniper soaked sand, with our good friend Tom Collins in tow we must take to the streets for a bout of soft-hedonism.
Celebrating everything wonderful about gin, debauchery and our constant struggle to escape from the polished shackles of a modern, professional world, we will be re-imagining Gin Lane as it stands in 21st Century Britain.

 Championing ourselves as the cultural luddites responsible for such previous action paintings as 'Big John' (the depiction of council-house bliss), and 'Wankers Paradise' (a fruit & veg painting of the London riots) - we will, as always, be executing our live action painting with theme-relevant materials, an impatient and explosive performative approach and our famous gin-induced swagger.

Cheers Big Ears.

See Grimes & Jones action-painting / drinking session 'Perfidia' live at The Independent Arts Fair (TIAF) on Wednesday 15th October, 6:30pm - Late, at: The Rag Factory, 16-18 Heneage Street, London, E1 5LJ.

A New Home for Grimes & Jones

Hiatus over: art’s chronically limited little squirrels have found a new tree to gobble nuts in.

Translation: Grimes & Jones have moved into a new studio at Wakefield’s Westgate Studios.

So now all you West Yorkshire-based cultural thugs can come and visit us at the City’s bi-monthly Artwalk event (or any Saturday night) when we will be imbibing and creating masterpieces with equal vigour.

Here’s an artist’s impression of what the new Grimes & Jones studio experience might look like.

Cute, ain't they?

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Helen Benigson: Weightless Utopia at Site Gallery, Sheffield

Wholegrain nostalgia fiends Grimes & Jones took a trip down (vacant) memory lane and bathed in the sticky warming ooze of a friendship that never materialised in our formative years of burger eating. 
We went to visit pint sized powder-puff princess of pink Helen Benigson's performance night 'Weightless Utopias' at Site Gallery, Sheffield.

You might know Benigson better as Princess Belsize $$$, the artist’s hip-hop alter ego that we first stumbled across in 2011. (TVOD group show, transition gallery - she didn’t attend)
The artist, (whether intentionally or not) having shed her colourful character in favour of her human name... we'd assume maybe to be taken more seriously as we step into the intricately arranged but pointedly straight-laced Site Gallery to a sea of concentrated faces and intellectual gushing. It could be, perhaps, that us famously inwards Yorkshire folk haven’t yet managed to breach the intimidating authority that comes with 'white wall' galleries and contemporary art - we're too busy growing beards, organising community funding projects and trying to 'get it'.

Non the less, having been aware of Belsize's (we prefer the superstar vibe) art and online presence for a few years we came expecting a sugar coated dose of humorous irony - an adolescent middle finger to the teen brat culture, and she provided it with aplomb.
Site Gallery's excellent exhibition space lends itself perfectly to this kind of personal event - the room looking buzzing but not crammed. An arousing and colourful mix of internet iconography, a cocktail of nipples and landscapes made us two committed perverts feel right at home.

Having spent a week residency in the culturally old-school South Yorkshire you felt Benigson had got to grips with the space perfectly, the room was visually stimulating (#tits'n'ass), like stepping into a teen wet-dream; we felt more engaged in this show than any other of our previous Site visits. (Specialising in the usually frosty 'lens-based media').

The on-the-night performers involved choreographed weightlifting, a 'hot-as-fuck' dancer, a live discussion group and a few raps by (the small gyal hersal) Princess Belsize. All of it awkwardly consuming the room, drawing you in with a hypnotic soundtrack of breathing and the hazy glaze of projector light transforming the room into womb.

The show was cute, feminine and purposely sexy, which sounds like our perfect Saturday night in together - we entered feeling unusually vibrant, straddled a couple of the specially created pink cocktails, eager to be involved...but for some reason we left feeling unfulfilled.

Interestingly, Helen described wanting to evoke feelings of 'awkwardness' in the literature, and you got a sense of that in the room. Arriving to a camera man (equipped with 'image-rights contracts to be signed), being encouraged to 'get involved' by the Site staff only to enter a room full of serious faces felt a little uninviting, but perhaps cleverly conducted this way. 
The discussion group, lengthy, and to-the-point was lost on us; 
we wanted to be near the real action - the physical activity of the dancers and weightlifters... always seduced by a cheeky hip-thrust and thigh gap.

Perhaps it was our insatiable appetite for trouble (soft hedonists) that let us down. 

What Belsize Dollar brought to Site was a sweet taste of all things good about London’s up-and-coming commercial art scene, but what our fellow Yorkshire attendees and Site Gallery couldn't provide was the chaotic and socially vibrant party aftermath that usually ensues at successful London shows.

We moseyed around the room like new starters at the Office Christmas party, desperate to get our sticky fingers on the pulse... but no amount of cocktails and Run DMC could break a sweat on the fringe-clad Yorkshire gallery scene.

Bridging that gap between Belsize Dollar and Helen Benigson may prove a commercially sensible move for our fizzy London swagster but we feel the flagrant and silly raps do the talking way better than any prose-heavy essay could.

Visually we knew the exhibition was golden but as attendees to a 'party' the most fun part of the night was accidentally stumbling upon an unfortunate girl shaking her lettuce in the toilet. Feminism and 'weightless utopia' at its best!

Monday, 24 February 2014

Extreme Dream (makeover) - Paul Kindersley @ Nottingham Contemporary

Last week, bouffant egg-slingers Grimes & Jones ventured down to the city known for Britains least-recognised accent and gun crime. The reason? To witness our favourite arse-hole hungry internet pervert Paul Kindersley's 'Extreme Dream' (Makeover) at the Nottingham Contemporary. 

Paul has been effervescent in his online presence as a multi-platforming artiste - regularly spewing out his romantic / super-erotic line drawings; a sort of meaty-stew of iconic feminine celebs (male and female), erections and self-help messages delivered in a way that only Paul knows how. Long known for his exuberant, camp and frighteningly obsessive installations and performance work, he finds himself easy to stumble across both in the physical (amongst some of Londons sauciest galleries) and online realm.

His latest obsession has been in smothering himself in all manners of shit and filming it for his vastly popular Youtube channel 'thebritisharecumming'. And, as always with our flamboyant hero, people love it! These semi-satirical and uber erotic make-up tutorials have amassed over 300,000 views and serve as a throbbing pink weapon in Pauls artillery of quickly growing superstar firepower.

As if that wasn't reason enough to make the 'out of office hours' high speed journey past Sherwood Forest, Pauls performance night shared the venue with Marvin Gaye Chetwynds vast plushy sculptures and Tala Madani's colourful and bizarre paintings - a perfect chance to see some of art's biggest emerging stars outside of the golden glow of London! (for once).

Arriving just in time to apologetically bumble our way through the back of a neat little concrete stage room laid out with tables and chairs littered with various interactive assortments (special shout out to the pack of Haribo left on the table, which, being perfectly honest may have been anyone elses and was consumed by your grubby Yorkshire adversaries without hesitation). Paul, dressed appropriately in a crisp white shirt, some golden stilettos and quite literally the tightest trousers i have ever seen on a man (including some close contenders) worked the stage like an absolute slippery gay pro.

Inviting his 'competition winners' (victims) to step up and allow him loose on their fleshy mugs, we saw Paul transform bog-standard evening time pizza-eaters into their chosen superstar celebrities - everything from Elvis Presley to Barbara Windsor.

Oozing with charm, the hairy and unstoppable Kindersley brought a smile or two with his slapstick-bombastic approach to glamour; demonstrating just how polished his on-screen technique has become. Baffling, ridiculous, sparkling and queer-as-fuck - Paul's Hollywood approach to glamour is revolutionising how we respond to vanity... one glass of Lambrini at a time.

All this followed by a couple of pints 'down the old cock-a-hoop', a half hour perv of a beautiful young french girl (with boyfriend), a packet of beef and horseradish crisps and we left warm-crotched and hoping Pauls return to the North won't be too far away.

See Pauls show in action here: 

Follow him (at your peril) on Youtube: