Pritt Stick Madness




Above is a photograph of a double page from the first of the scrapbooks that form my Museum without Walls. It shows why I am already on my second. If I had placed the large Picasso reproduction further to the left, I would have room for the two smaller pieces by the same artist alongside. Thus there would be space for the Van Gogh from the opposite page underneath. That would have been an improvement; the purposes of my collection are not undermined by compactness.

As a practising artist, I am always judging or appreciating when looking at art. I am not particularly fond of the Picassos. They are there with many others in my scrapbook because of the ongoing debate inaugurated by John Berger in his book Success and Failure of Picasso about the quality of the artist's post-Guernica work. The Van Gogh is of interest because I do enjoy looking at it, and I have the cutting because of a misjudgement.

Several years ago, when visiting the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, I was intrigued by the economy in the treatment of the sky in one of the paintings. When I read a review of an exhibition of unfinished works in which my cutting was an illustration, I wondered if this was the one I had seen. Digging out a postcard of the Amsterdam work which I had managed to buy, I found it was another work of the same village and the same date. Neither work is unfinished.

The landscape with the prominent mountain under the Van Gogh in its original position is by Georgia O'Keeffe. I chose to keep the little bit of text at the left-hand side, which explains that the artist was irritated by the sexual interpretations of her most famous works, her flower pieces. This shows how I can make my scrapbooks weightier in content without being greater in bulk: small spaces between visuals can be filled with texts relevant to art debates. I have already pasted an advert for 'Forum Auction where collectors meet' and only wish I'd kept a comment by a critic that pointed to an auction house that suggested that if you had bought a stainless steel balloon dog by Jeff Koons, you would be alongside a list of notable collectors. I have also pasted several parts of a review of Georgina Adam's Dark Side of the  Boom: The Excesses of the Art Market in the 21st Century. One I particularly liked is about collectors who store their purchases in warehouses which have reception rooms where they can  invite guests and strut in front of their trophies.

And I am not averse to snipping and pasting little pieces of wisdom that have nothing to so with art, e.g. John Kenneth Galbraith: 'There's no question that religion and ethnic passion are the enemies of civilised co-existence'.

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