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Opening: "Shop Local" by Bob and Roberta Smith in and around Peer, Hoxton Street, London. September 2006. Plus flash back to Martin Creed.

Went to the opening of Bob and Roberta Smith's "Shop Local" and met all sorts of people I hadn't spoken to for ages - ranging from artist Martin Creed (see below for account of how I failed to speak to him at Victoria Miro event earlier this summer) thru to "Independent" newspaper art critic Tom Lubock. Since the dinner afterwards was for around thirty people, many of those I knew where there too. Rather appropriately I was seated next to fashion designer Katherine Hamnet who I'd not met before - there seemed to be policy of shaking things up by getting people to sit next to those they didn't know. Bob and Roberta Smith (or Patrick as he's known to me) uses signs and slogans and in the instance of this new show does so to champion local shops against the corporates with various quaint faux-naive street advertisements, as well as his gallery installation. Hamnett is, of course, famous for her fashionista activism, and in her most newsworthy stunt wore one of her "58% don't Want Pershing" (nuclear missiles) T-shirts on a visit to see then British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (still notorious as a war mongering ninny). More recently Hamnett has had catwalk models wearing "No War, Blair Out" T-shirts. So she seemed the perfect person to be sitting next to at a Bob and Roberta Smith dinner (they are art and fashion world equivalents). Since I rejected the set main course as something I didn't want to eat, Katherine made sure the salad was passed to me (I also got a roll and some nuts - so don't worry I didn't starve, and the wine worked to better effect with less food in my stomach). The talk was mainly about the eastward shift of London's centre and children (Hamnet obviously gets a lot of stimulation from her boys aged 25 and 30 and their circle of friends). Then after the main course everyone got shifted around again to shake up the networking some more...

Returning to Martin Creed, back in June I found myself at the Victoria Miro Gallery and discovered his power trio Owada were playing. This led to a discussion with Richard Grayson (the UK based artist and curator, not Bruce Wayne's ward) about artists wanting to play in rock bands. But the conversation was so drunken and incoherent (there were some very potent free cocktails on offer, as well as wine and beer) that I can't remember much of it. Anyway, Richard did say he though Creed's power trio Owada sounded like The Gang of Four. I did a reading at the ICA years ago with various artists doing music and other stuff which was organised by Matthew Higgs, and Martin was on the bill doing much sparser stuff - like a Scottish Television. Peer put out a CD of some of these songs and I know people who were abolutely obsessed by them, they thought it was the greatest art rock ever. So a good night was had by all (both at the ICA and Victoria Miro), but you won't get a proper review of either performance here! The best gigs are always the ones you can't remember that well! And for some reason I never got around to saying hi to Martin that night, it was crowded and for whatever reason we didn't connect.

Thomas Hirschhorn (discussion)

Marine Hugonnier (review of 2008 London show)

Biggest Hayward Opening For Years (the Arts Council collection)

Saturday Nite In Shoreditch (an east London art scene social crawl)


Stewart Home's head

Stewart Home, telling it how it is...