Hello all, the Archive Gallery is opening on the 15th of September and Bob has been really busy painting the walls of the space. See below for the films of weeks 2 & 3 of his residency. What’s next is that the cases will be installed in the next few weeks and we can begin to put the archive material alongside Bob’s fantastic wall pieces. I hope that you can make it along on the 15th, 6-8pm, free and all welcome.
Week 2 – Bob’s History of Art
Week 3 – Epstein’s Travels
Bob has been up at the gallery this week to start his work painting the Archive Gallery on Floor 1 of the Garman Ryan Collection. Inspired by the Festival of Britain, the room is very colourful and has a distinct 1950s feel, which sits well with the time period of the Epstein Archive. See the below film for an explanation of the project from the man himself…
Hello all – there’s been frantic activity in the Epstein Archive over the past few months. I haven’t posted anything in a little while, so we have a lot of ground to cover…
Firstly, some good news. We were delighted to hear that we’ve received funding to extend the project for another 6 months, taking us to September 2011. A huge thank you to the Museums Association and the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation. This will give us the opportunity to create a lasting legacy for this unique project.
Eppy Daddy Battle Bot
The colossal Eppy Daddy Battle Bot was the product of Bob’s residency at the gallery in September. Bob began constructing Eppy Daddy in his studio in Ramsgate and worked on the painting of it in Walsall. A reimagining of Jacob Epstein as a large robot, Eppy Daddy will be displayed in the foyer of the gallery as part of The Life of the Mind exhibition, which opens on the 21st of January (more info below). Bob states that “Jacob Epstein invented the robot” – a nod to Epstein’s famous sculpture Rock Drill. Eppy Daddy tells the story of Epstein’s career and specifically the trials that he faced particularly with some of his earlier work.
I travelled down to Ramsgate to collect Bob and the sculpture and we made a little road movie. Enjoy.
The Life of the Mind
The opening of The Life of the Mind exhibition fast approaches – 21st of January 2011. For those that don’t know anything about the exhibition, which is being curated by Bob and Roberta Smith, I’ve included a little descriptive blurb below:
Inspired by Jacob Epstein’s sculpture of his then 15 year old daughter Esther in which she seems to be resisting the artist’s gaze, The Life of the Mind seeks to expose the myth of the great male artist who has special insight into the minds of his more frail female subjects. This exhibition will look at predominantly female artists who give form to the interior world. Each artist resists easy interpretation and in Bob’s words, “sticks a sharp pair of scissors into the soft underbelly of male hegemony.”
We have some really amazing artists confirmed already for the show, Louise Bourgeois, Helen Chadwick and Sarah Lucas to name but a few.
From the ideas surrounding Esther Garman that Bob has been developing for much of the residency, Esther’s Law has been born. Esther’s Law is Bob’s vision of truly proportional system of government, where every part of society is fairly represented in parliament, what Bob has referred to as ‘real proportional representation.’ There is much more to follow on this one, so get behind Esther’s Law!
It’s been a while since my last Epstein Archive entry, so I thought it best to give you a little update. As you may have seen, I had a ‘moment’ the other week (which can be viewed here) but I’m ok now. Fully calmed down. That whole thing started quite a few months ago when Bob and I were going through a load of miscellaneous items in the archive and some of it was, frankly, absolute rubbish. I know the archivist is supposed to remain impartial about the subjective value of any item, but if anyone requests a research visit to view Beth Lipkin’s hoover warranty, I will eat my shoes.
Anyway, I was having a bit of a moan to Bob about it all and one particular item, an advert for Russian binoculars, was, I thought, a totally pointless thing to keep. From then on, ‘the Russian binoculars’ became a bit of a buzz word for anything rubbish, or anything that irritated me – not that I’m a particularly irritable person or anything. And, eventually, the film was born.
But now, after some time has passed, the advert for Russian binoculars has taken on a whole new meaning – I wouldn’t dream of speaking ill of this little newspaper clipping now. It has relevance because we gave it relevance. I think that’s one of the most interesting things about having an artist involved in a collection – really unexpected connections and items can come to the fore.
So, to Bob’s residency. I spoke to Bob a few days ago and his latest creation, Eppy Daddy Battle Bot, is being built as we speak in Bob’s new studio is Ramsgate. Eppy Daddy Battle Bot is a reimagining of Jacob Epstein as a 5 metre high 1950s style robot. We’ll collect him just before the residency and then you will see the final stages of Eppy Daddy’s creation in the Arists Studio during the last two weeks of September.
If Eppy Daddy were to speak – what would he say? Answers on a postcard.
The second episode of Bob’s residency at the gallery. The 3rd will follow soon…enjoy.
Bob was up at the gallery last week for the 1st week of his 4 week residency. During this time, Bob will be making a large work relating to Esther Garman and specifically the Jacob Epstein sculpture of Esther in the Garman Ryan Collection. We filmed Bob’s time in the studio on time lapse and will do the same for the remaining 3 weeks. Therefore, sit back, relax and enjoy episode 1!
Bob and I took a trip around some Epstein related sites in London a few weeks ago. This is a shortened version of the film we made that day. The full version of this will be shown at the Bob and Roberta Smith Film Evening on the 19th of May.
I met Bob in London last week to film some interesting Epstein locations, which was great. The full film will be shown at our Film Evening on the 19th of May. This is another film that we did that day. Although Epstein and Churchill were neighbours and friends, Churchill apparently complained sometimes about the loud music coming from 18 Hyde Park Gate. Enjoy.
I am extremely excited about playing with the Ken Ardley Playboys at the Party! show next week. The Apathy Band and some of the Ken Ardley Playboys played in Pescara Italy just after we finished the window installation for the party show last week. The window installation is the largest and most involved art work we have made so far involving images and objects from the Garman Ryan Collection; see the video below. It is inspired by some very touching photo’s of Esther at a party she must have organized for Roland Joffe when he was six or seven in our version of the party at the Epstein House things have gone rather crazy and busts by Epstein have be festooned with silly string and streamers. I find the party photos very moving.
They are an insight into the personal lives of the Epstein’s. Because Kathleen does not appear in them I suspect they are her eye view of proceedings. Perhaps when people look through the portholes of the window box installation for a brief instant become Kathleen. Neil has made a wonderful job of representing our efforts so far in the Archive Gallery in the Garman Ryan Collection. He has edited the films we have made so far with ‘Pathe’ footage of Epstein. It makes for a very effective 45 minutes of film. Hales Gallery in London are interested in organizing a screening of the film. It’s always enjoyable working behind the scenes of the Gallery. Neil and I are very much involved with one aspect of the Gallery but as we were working last week I was amazed at what a cultural centre The New Art Gallery Walsall has become. During most week days the Gallery is filled with school kids. Unlike most middle aged gallery goers I don’t mind a few kids running about. When I was a student I lived in Italy. The use of museums in Italy as Educational tools is far more advanced. Because so much of what it means to be Italian resides within the museum they jam them with kids. The New Art Gallery Walsall is doing a great job of reflecting how culture is developing while showing where its roots are.
Happy Birthday. 10 years old this month.