May 2004


On a sweltering Friday at the end of last month, yes I do mean roasting, in April, which is a bit of a shock to us Londoners,  I took the speedy Victoria train to Brighton and headed to the opening of the Pop exhibition.

The exhibition, in a basement in Kensington Street, is part of the Brighton Festival Fringe 2004, and on the second ever urban art trail in the seaside town that co-ordinates over 100 artists in 82 shop fronts and businesses around the centre.

This one-off show presents an array of local and nationally acclaimed dynamic and controversial artists (more of that kind of arty stuff later).  The first thing that hits you is the creative energy in the space - just glance at Jamie Reid's artwork. He is best known for his notorious punk images on the Sex Pistols’ LP covers and posters. A few of these are on
display - featuring the F word causes so much outrage.

I, personally, loved the posters by the local artist Dean Anderson who mixes street style and urban art.  He uses what is now quaintly called an old-fashioned record deck as his inspiration for the work on show.

I was tempted, and may put my hand in my retro 501's pocket to purchase a pop-art influenced painting by Simon Dixon who has a passion for 20th-century rock 'n' roll iconography.  Let's bring on the blue suede shoes! In his work entitled Hank Williams, Hank can be seen in a giant
Stetson hat, with skull and cross bones and the quirky words, inspired by one of his songs, emblazoned in huge letters at the bottom, "I'll never get out of this world alive". Well, that's something to look forward to.

In the twilight word of this show -  don't leave without taking a peep at Gimpo Technologies' film, DLR, which is a black and white train journey viewed through a circular hole in the wall. Other artists include Banksy the infamous graffiti-ist and James Cauty, formerly of the late Eighties band KLF.

I recall  Cauty, the pop maverick who, with fellow collaborator Bill Drummond, founded an award for the worst art in Britain, a protest against the Turner prize (£40K won by Rachel Whiteread). And with money to burn, once, and only once, set fire to £1 million  in cash just for the hell of it! Cauty's work is aptly named "Stamps of Mass Destruction".

Also showing is PlasticBob, who is an intriguing fictional character whose world is peopled with fun seekers and the elegant elite - that's what the blurb says anyway. (For those of you who are London based, there will be an opportunity to see a PlasticBob show from 18th May-8th June at the Wall2Wall Gallery, 55-59 Shaftsbury Avenue W1.)

My Arty Hot Gossip recommendation is, do not miss Pop in Brighton this month! It is thought provoking, with a huge range of original works, and, in your arts correspondent's opinion, has a lot to say about social and current cultural issues within today's society, in a very arty kind of way.

Pop Exhibition, in association with artrepublic, is on until 17th May, at Brighton Fringe Basement, Argus Lofts, Kensington St, Brighton BN1.Opening times: Monday to Saturday, 11am-7pm and Sunday 12pm-5pm.

Artrepublic gallery is at 13 Bond St, Brighton BN1, featuring every art genre, including pop art., 01273 724829.

Brighton Festival Fringe 2004 is on until 23rd May,, or call 01273 709709 for a brochure.



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