Week 6 - Wilson Road
Disposal, Ed Ruscha, Gareth Polmeer


Many thanks for two excellent group presentations last week. The first, on the UCL Disposal exhibition, raised fascinating questions about the purpose of museums and of collections, as well as issues of aesthetics – a rather casual approach to aesthetics that can seen in science – questions of curation, and political questions around funding of public collections. The intention of the exhibition was also discussed.

The Old Tech-Chem Building, 2003; Courtesy The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica; All images: © Ed Ruscha, 2009 with photography by Paul Ruscha http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2009/october/ed-ruscha
The Old Tech-Chem Building, 2003; Courtesy The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica; All images: © Ed Ruscha, 2009 with photography by Paul Ruscha http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-blog/2009/october/ed-ruscha

The second group presentation reviewed the Ed Ruscha: 50 years of painting show at the Hayward. How do you interpret such works that appear to operate at the interface between graphic design, advertising, art and mass culture? They seem to function often around the interplay between text and image, with some philosophical concerns relating to language – visual and verbal / written. How do they relate to the historical role of art as ‘representation’? Or are they more to be understood in relation to other images, and mass culture... a theme much identified with the so-called ‘postmodern’? Why does Ed Ruscha use paint at all, to produce images with a photographic quality?

The group presentations were followed by a presentation from Gareth Polmeer, which touched upon many issues, from Palladian architecture to psychogeographical explorations (a difficult and ill defined term...) and the flaneur, from William Blake to Guy Debord and the Situationists. Gareth also introduced his own work – documenting his home town of Dagenham. Gareth has posted a reading list on the wiki at http://criticism-and-interpretation.wikispaces.com/Psychogeography