A beverage that is highly sought after and extremely expensive? A derogatory term for said beverage? Being beaten on the bottom with a canvas?
You choose. No, I mean it, you really do choose. In this most eccentric of exhibitions now showing at The New, New Gallery, St Ives, you can, quite literally choose your poison, frisson or particular fetish. This exhibition very much takes as its theme the idea of prostituting oneself for one’s Art and gives people the opportunity to do just that.
Controversial from start to finish, and even those terms are rather weasel words for the exotic scenarios that assault the ears on entering the gallery, this exhibition is a WOW! or very possibly, an OW! with the public.
Rooms are set aside for each exhibit and it is hard to see where the idea of a seedy Chicago Night Club ends and an Art Gallery begins – in fact it is difficult to see where anything ends and begins. You literally pay your money and make your choice.
The New, New Gallery may well be rueing the day it agreed to mount – every word tells a story – this new exhibition as many of the public, having paid exorbitant amounts for a ticket do choose very expensive poisons/frissons/fetishes indeed and streams of delivery vans from Harrods, Paxton and Whitfield, Dior, Rigby and Pellor, Vaseline, Swarfega and many more arrive at the front door and disgorge baskets and baskets of costly merchandise as hordes of highly paid cleaners stream in and out of the back door doing a lot of giggling.
And the Artist responsible for all this? Marcel Frottage, the transgender leader of the New Exhibitionist Movement is saying very little and doing even less. The press have declared that he has been gagged to ramp up the publicity – or something – although a Police Van appeared to deliver a number of items before the start of the exhibition.
Whatever Frottage is doing, he is doing it very quietly and in the privacy of his own Premier Suite in the lower gallery of the building.
After New Exhibitionist Art, where can the art world go next? Where can we go for honey? (Actually, I think I can see some being delivered now.) Man Ray, Manuka? You choose. Personally, I think I need a very long walk in the fresh air.
Maxine Flaneuse de Cornouaill
Volume 32 no 4 March/April 2018 p 35