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In his review of my workfortheeyetodo show (Art Monthly 200, October 1996), David Burrows quotes the first sentence of my article "The Art Of Chauvinism In Britain And France" (everything 19), then quips: 'There is not much else to say on the subject then? Game over.' If I'd had nothing else to say, I wouldn't have bothered typing the 3557 words that follow the 15 words Burrows quotes. Likewise, the piece was not, as Burrows claims, simply written as a response to John Roberts. Only a couple of paragraphs are given over to Roberts' promotion of the so called yBa.

Burrows goes on to claim that in The Art Of Chauvinism I 'attacked' the 'newer art practices' of the 'yBa'. In fact, picking up on Simon Ford's 'Myth Making' (Art Monthly 194, March 1996), I was actually disputing the existence of the yBa as anything other than a fraud perpetrated initially by individuals active within the institution of art, and subsequently hyped in the mass media. Likewise, I do not view what Burrows trumpets as the 'newer art practices' as being in any sense 'new'. In order to avoid reiterating points I have already made elsewhere, I will simply observe here that like the expansionist economic system that surrounds and enables it, contemporary art demands and feeds upon the appearance of dynamic growth, thus the endless and often empty rhetoric about the continual extension of its ambitions.

While smugly denouncing Vermeer II, as 'safe and bureaucratic' as a means of bureaucratically separating me off from what he wishes to promote as the yBa, Burrows makes elliptical reference to the group shows in which I exhibited two different sculptures as the same Art Strike Bed. These exhibitions included many of those 'artists', such as Bank and Jeremy Deller, who are used as paradigmatic examples of the 'yBa philistine' in the 'criticism' Burrows invokes against me. Thus in order to make his argument appear convincing, it is necessary for Burrows to ignore the complexity of my relationship to contemporary art and instead pretend that for half a decade I 'neither produced nor commented' upon it.

Since the conclusion of a three year 'art strike' in January 1993, I have done far more than simply write four novels and exhibit a bed, as Burrows would have readers of his review believe. My output also includes Neoism, Plagiarism & Praxis (AK Press 1995), Cranked Up Really High: Genre Theory & Punk Rock (Codex 1995), the anthology What Is Situationism? A Reader (AK Press 1996), and cultural criticism in everything from the style press to art magazines and academic journals. I even write regularly on contemporary culture for The Big Issue, as Burrows well knows, since workfortheeyetodo provided him with a copy of a thousand word feature I'd written for this magazine. Likewise, I have also collaborated on 'art book' projects with such 'paradigmatic' 'yBa' 'celebrities' as Matthew Higgs.

This does not even take account of my video work, which as John Roberts has observed about my fiction (Home 'Truths', everything 20), blurs 'the cognitive boundaries of different forms and genres' in the same way as the output of 'yBa' 'luminaries' such as Bank. For example, I have adopted the pop video format to make promotional films for my novels. Indeed, the promo video for the book Red London not only featured cameo appearances by members of the bands Prolapse and Stereolab, the soundtrack featured an otherwise unreleased instrumental by the latter group. I could also mention my recent lectures at venues as diverse as Goldsmiths College, the ICA, the Royal College Of Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum, Cal Arts, Trinity College Cambridge and the Tate Gallery, as well as my regular appearances at squatted social centres such as 121 in Brixton. Then there is also my work as a 'truly' 'alternative stand-up comic' at the now defunct Conspiracy Club and elsewhere..

The fact that it is necessary for Burrows to pretend that I have little involvement with either contemporary art or the practices that he promotes as characterising it, in order to differentiate me from the yBa 'cannon', shows just how artificial and bureaucratic his understanding of what he hypes as the 'newer art practices' actually is. Likewise, the forms of historical periodisation adopted by Burrows and his friend John Roberts are deeply problematic, as I illustrate in the enclosed piece From Arse To Arsehole: John Roberts And The Spectres Of Philistinism. Your readers can obtain copies of this from me by sending two first class stamps to my accommodation address: BM Senior, London WC1N 3XX

Published in Art Monthly # 201, London November 1996

Back: David Burrows' review

Next: Feuding Considered As Perfromance Art by Stewart Home


Vermeer II (series) by Stewart Home (1996)

Vermeer II by Stewart Home

Vermeer II by Stewart Home

Vermeer II by Stewart Home

Images from, and installation shots of, "Vermeer II" by Stewart Home at the east end art bookshop and gallery workfortheeyetodo, London (1996). There are other images from this show on the previous pages, follow the links in the left hand column on the bottom of each page. There were actually twenty-two pieces shown in this show and the vast majority were sold. On scanning the slides to place these images on this site, I found I only had pictures of twenty of the pieces. If anyone has one or both of the pieces not shown on these pages, (or pictures of one or both), could they please let me have a scan or whatever.