22 December 2009

Looking at art from all angels

Angels Of Anarchy: Women Artists And Surrealism was free at the weekend, for one day only, so I took advantage and ploughed my trusty steed through driving blizzards towards Manchester Art Gallery. You'll have to wait until after the festive break to enjoy the exhibition yourself, and pay up to £6 for the privilege, but it reopens on Sunday 27 December (then shuts again, briefly, on 31 December and 1 January) and runs until 10 January.

There are plenty of works and all media represented, by a number of women including Frida Kahlo and Claude Cahun, Dora Maat and Dorothea Tanning. There's a lot of phallic symbolism, melons of various shapes and sizes, and a whole lot of nudity. I don't quite know why naked bodies equal surrealism, but someone's obviously decided they do. There are dream sequences and fantastical scenes, queer landscapes and weird portraits, and Exquisite Corpse works (where an artist or writer draws or writes on a piece of paper, folds it over and passes it around a group so the finished item is a composite of everyone's crazy ideas - my friends and I used to play this on cold boozy evenings when we didn't have enough money to go out).

Somehow the show doesn't quite gel as a whole, and I do question this whole "women" thing. However, it does have its moments, and I very much enjoyed seeing the many photos by Lee Miller, including Portrait Of Space (1937), which was pictured above but which has been removed for copyright reasons. Intrigued, I've been looking her up, and have learnt that she she was discovered in 1926 in Manhattan by the founder of Vogue magazine, Condé Nast, who transformed her into a modelling sensation. In 1929, she went to Paris and hooked up with modernist photographer Man Ray, hanging out with him, Pablo Picasso, Paul Éluard and Jean Cocteau until 1932 when she returned to NYC and set up as a photographer herself. See the similarities between Miller's Nude Bent Forward from around 1930 and Man Ray's Violin d'Ingres of 1924 by checking them out in Google images as I can't publish them here any more thanks to my contravening copyright laws if I should.

Gosh, well isn't that a fucking dull blog post without images?

1 comment:

  1. The amendments to this blog post on 5 January 2010 were made as a direct result of this email:

    Dear Sarah-Clare Conlon,
    I am the rights manager of the Lee Miller Archives. It has been brought to my attention that two of our images have been used on your website.
    These are found at : http://wordsandfixtures.blogspot.com/2009/12/looking-at-things-from-all-angels.html
    Although we appreciate your enthusiasm and interest in Lee Miller’s work displaying his work with no credit line and no permission contravenes the copyright law. We require you to remove these images from your website immediately, or this will result in us vigorously pursuing legal action. I would also advise you to contact the Man Ray Estate for permission to use his image too, if you have not already done so.
    You should note you are also forbidden to store these images on an electronic retrieval system, or publish them in any other way.
    However as we do not want to discourage your effort we could allow the two images to remain if you are able to add the correct copyright line and some additional information:
    1. The ‘Portraitof Space’ may be used in support of Angels Of Anarchy Exhibition and Farley Farm Tours by mentioning: Farley Farm House may be visited between April and October. For further information and to make a booking please contact Kate Henderson in our Tours Office. Email: tours@leemiller.co.uk or Telephone: 01825 872 691 www.farleyfarmhouse.co.uk is updated regularly with tour dates and information. Credit Line must read: © Lee Miller Archives, England 2010. All rights reserved. www.leemiller.co.uk
    2. The image of ‘Nude Bent Forward’ by Lee Miller, may be used in support of the exhibition in Sweden and Norway by mentioning: ‘Lee Miller’s Surrealist Eye’ Exhibition Millesgarden, Sweden until 14th February 2010 and Sternesen Museum, Oslo, Norway 19th June 2010 until 5th September 2010. Credit Line must read: © Lee Miller Archives, England 2010. All rights reserved. www.leemiller.co.uk
    These two images could remain online until the end of October 2010. We have further exhibitions being planned which often carry free press and publicity images and I am happy to discuss further or replacement images when the time comes.
    I look forward to receiving your reply.

    Kerry Negahban
    Reproduction Rights Negotiator
    Lee Miller Archives, Roland Penrose Estate & The Penrose Collection

    Farley Farm House
    Muddles Green
    East Sussex BN8 6HW

    Tel: ++44 (0) 1825 872691
    Fax: ++44 (0) 1825 872733
    Email: archives@leemiller.co.uk
    Website: www.leemiller.co.uk & www.rolandpenrose.co.uk

    All Lee Miller material, works and photographs are © Lee Miller Archives, England 2010. All rights reserved.
    All Roland Penrose material, works and photographs are © Roland Penrose Estate, England 2010. All rights reserved.


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