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Explain The Shrewd Idiot

Who is a The SI logo  ?

Why is it The Shrewd Idiot?

Well it were a toss up between that and The Wise Fool. Shrewd- astute, penetrating, artful and crafty- (I tink) shrewd entails ‘wise’ altho that in fact in the definition relates to money… The Shrewd Idiot aka Pete Kennedy is (or was) that- an Idiot in a lot of his habits BUT he always knew there was a wise part in the mix because he had conversed with it on occasion; in lucid moments. “From early on I knew that ‘life’ was a serious game but I soon learned to make light of it. I frequently played the fool. Apart from rock music and sport my great loves in life have been art & humour [altho’ this tome is not (deliberately) funny], my great heroes include Groucho & Harpo Marx, Spike Milligan & Tommy Cooper.”

Another title could have been A Lucid Tosser or Lucid IdjetL I, or Li bringing in a zen feel to it.

There’s also another possibility in David Pierce’s book, Reading Joyce where on p. 316 he says, “[the surname] Glue is in fact from Old English gleaw, meaning wise or prudent.” So The Gleaw Idiot? Maybe not. Altho’ I was born in Glesgaw…The Glesgaw Idjet… The Glasgae Idiot?

Anyway all this is too late, the books are named.

So the ‘hero’ of the buk reveals his self, warts & all. There’s big honesty, an honesty which may seem unpalatable to some but it’s part of his idiotic nature- he cannot tell a lie or be clever for the sake of deceiving.

Gail Cher wrote in ‘One Continuous Mistake’, “Fleeting thoughts … quietly shock our being. You think one, sometimes you don’t even realise it’s there…it has been…your mind contains the memory…your consciousness is no longer the same….you keep track of your philosophical thoughts, your spiritual thoughts, your pecuniary thoughts, thoughts of your loved ones…”.) Gail Cher might have written those words for the doltie/dorky hero which is my a just SI logo because those are the kinda thoughts he notes down throughout the book(s) named after him!

a1-buk

Apul-One (original cover A5)

My old Burnley secondary school friend John Walton told me after he had read apul001 logo in 1976, ‘Pete, you write the thoughts we all have and think we’ll write them down but never do…’ Writing was his trade and I took that as a gentle compliment.

A4 SI front cover sm

The Shrewd Idiot (cover A4 version)  Portrait of the Idiot As A Young Man

So it is not a normal book. It’s written in the first person and is purportedly about the first four years of my life after I left school nearly 19 years old.

It’s not an autobiography because it doesn’t outline my successes in life, rather the opposite, it settles on my many doubts and failings (like frequent self-abuse). It features my anguishes rather than my triumphs, not the stuff of autobios. In my life I had many and regular successes and achievements, most of which don’t make it into this rather voluminous moan-ologue. But the fleeting moments do and I believe it’s those fleeting moments that mould the person, that’s why they’re featured. It’s the challenges, the overcoming the doubts and deficiencies that maketh (wo)man. I hope I’m correct cos if am not then this is 300 pages of unadulterated drivel, but don’t worry, be happy that I wouldn’t do that to you. Over 40 years since I first set my pen to paper writing this tome long-hand from the journals I kept tween 1969-73 and after spending months doing final edits and the layout for the book before I published it I am sure there is a story there, in fact several stories within the main momentum which follows me from a green horny youth through days of satisfaction and later of loss. The book shows many relationships beginning and moving on and some ending (prematurely) with some continuing way past the book’s end.

BUT, apart from the overt stories, there’s the covert revelations. It reveals my initiations, realisations, and most of all my growth from a punchy teenager to a more reflective early 20 year old who has no idea what his future holds but knows he’s at least prepared with his accumulated skills and learnings to face most of what life normally throws at a person and from experience knows that he can cope with some of the extraordinary things that crop up now & then.

The ‘punchy teenager’ taming was begun by the first of 3 women (The Three Graces) who had a major impact on him in those 4 years. Her name in the book was Bluebell, in real life it was Cath. She was the first woman I ‘went out with’ after I left school and in effect she saved my life. She gave me hope for the future and I still received her Christmas cards until a year or two ago… they seem to have petered out now despite my writing to her Australian address to tell her I’d like to send her a copy of the SI(A4). The second grace, Rose, real life- Jane, drifted rapidly then slowly out of my life but she taught me to value patience, although it’s taken 40 years for the lesson to kick my ass. The third grace, Camellia, whose real name I cannot reveal cos she’ll bat me, is still teaching me how to behave. She’s still got a lot of work to do. So as a result of those 3 gracious ladies I became less punchy, despite for a while taking on karate (I’m yellow!), I now learn Tai Chi with Master Ch’n Lay Seng, and the last thing you do in Tai Chi is get punchy!

pete self P veriveri best veri sm
I painted this Self Portrait in 1968 when it was exhibited in the local Burnley Artists Annual show. The local Burnley Express hailed me as a good colourist. This image features in the book.

The other revelation is of course the art that I produced. Much of my best work from 1968-73 is displayed in the book(s). One of my greatest thrills is to have found an outlet for the imagery which otherwise would have remained in my drawer until after my death* when it’d be taken out and revealed as the work of a wonderful undiscovered talent and then sold for millions of dollars, yen, euros but not £s cos an artist is never really recognised in his home town, are they? But I no longer care that for the past 40 odd years I was unable to find a market for the works I turned out with never ending enthusiasm. Most all of them end up in  my big plans-chest or a hut in ma garden  and remain unseen, so the SI buks are, for me, a comprehensive solo exhibition of those works. In the A4 version you get 25 images on translucent paper (tracing paper for want of a better word) which gives what I refer to as ‘palimpsest’ views through the parts of the paper which contain no image.

*Spike Milligan said, “I’m not afraid of dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens”.

a The SI logo buks have been my vindication and I am so proud to present them to the world. The A4 version of  The Shrewd Idiot can be bought (£45 rrp) at the Whitechapel Gallery bookshop in London. The British Library will receive one copy but the other national libraries won’t as I only made 50 copies and at that price  I cannot afford to give em away.

I have now firmed up the date with Antony Roberts at Colchester Arts Centre to do a ‘launch cum celebration’ event around a The SI logo books. The date is Sunday afternoon at 2pm on 5th November 2017, just 9 days after ma 67th boithday. So there should be cakes and drinks and maybe me doing a couple of the performance art pieces (paps) about the books, inc The Three Graces). I must say, I’ve waited almost 40 years to do something there, I first approached the centre in c.1976 shortly after its formation, the then Principal of Colchester Art College (Atkinson?) and Tim Holden interviewed me, the former saying he thought apul001 logo was good but the rest o ma work didn’t strike a chord with him. They laughed at me when I said I wanted to do a show there, they’re not laughing now!

Congratulations to Sally Shaw and all at Firstsite for getting that BIG arts council grant. The gallery has moved a long way since its near demise a couple of years ago.

It was great to see Firstsite humming with at least 3 simultaneous activities last Friday night when I was lucky to be invited once again by Jim Pey at Educaid to read one of my pieces. I did a 2017 poym inspired by my 1972 set of screenprints ‘Appleheadman Sees’ which I shall read again on the 5th of November  with a little brushing up. In fact I’d love to do my PA version of the song called ‘Brush’ by Colin Lloyd Tucker too too.

a screem31
an early oil painting of Apulhed

Everyting cums to hee hee what waits! a pk logo yello

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Visit 2 da the New Tate

London dream on

Photo taken of some idiot dreamer as part of a Uniqlo gig at opening days at Switch

Wa doo eye kerno? (That’s ‘What Do I Know?’ in real Englitsch. Not much! I’ve only been making ‘art’ since ’68 now, 48 years later am 65, 66 on 27 Oct!. So I tink I knows a bit about ‘art’.

I visited the Switch (aka New Tate build) twice this week. I LOVE IT!

I got an overwhelmingly positive feel in the place, despite LONG queues, big crowds and the obvious commercial success of art (something which fro 48 years eluded me work & still does, I’m not represented in the Tate butti don’t mind cos am represented in this blArt…I’m in the Tart!

I could already write a book about the value of the New Tate (Tate Modern & Switch). It employs thousands of people, some on a wage, some for free, some just ogle at Great Tate.

I first went to Tate in 1967 and it were a massive part of my Art Education. Now I am working on 3 books about my life & work. Two are already written; The Shrewd Idiot and Genie Ass. Its taking time to lay them out, so you have to be patient cos they’re on the way.

borgeoise switch hse
Enter a caption

a little Bourgeois sculpture from the Tate collection .

bgwmn cleen s
a portrait I done o LB earlier, holding a Tate Member with her best friend on her shoulder

“Louise Bourgeois is the Godhesse!”

https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=louise+boureoise&id=E697774EB2F4FA54F3BFB9C7D852C3EA0677DBFD&FORM=IQFRBA

I thought that as I looked thru the new room dedicated to work she did which Tate now owns! https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Louise+Bourgeoise

borgeoise switch hse5
another gem

I’m sad to say Andrew Marr on the BBC2 kept harping on about the £260 million it cost.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07hk12j/new-tate-modern-switched-on?suggid=b07hk12j

borgeoise switch hse3
This is getting to be the Bourgeoise show (they won’t let you snap Mona Hatoum!)

Marr’s underlying take on it was poor but Waldemar Janacek’s was even worse, but I have about as much respect for his views as I do the woman who got up and walked from mher bed when Saint Saatchi told her to get up & walk.

borgeoise switch hse4

This woman who got out of her bed to talk to Marr has been involved in ‘art’ for less time than me (but should be more articulate cos she is paid millions to practice) said a work by Louise Bourgeois is a ‘mindfuck’.

bourgeois bed 1991 get lost sm
I photo’d LB trying to rid the rats from her bed, but to no avail, they stole it!

I think anyone with a ounce of intelligence may see what she was getting at but I’d have thought she could have been more descriptive and constructive about that great artist who actually tolerated her more than I do even though Bedgirl stole many of her ideas and methods.

angel gormley sm
I took this photo of an angel flying over Gatesheed in 2015 when I went up to the Book Fair at BALTIC

Anthony Gormley talked well about a work he did with 5 eyes on it (it’s very good).  He got lucky back in 1981 when Serota at the Whitechapel consented to show his early sculptures. I never had that big a break, yet, well accept it I never will, ‘Never say never’, I just did! Compare my Billy No Breaks to Gormley’s big bits breaking waves near Liverpool, albeit he’s done some good stuff, his angel still flies north  and I saw his 2003 show at Baltic.

http://balticplus.uk/antony-gormley-domain-field-installation-shot-2-c10436/

I still keep making my art, this blArt is pArt of it too.

borgeoise switch hse6
one last bourgeoise

Mona Hatoum’s show is wonderful too.

I posed for these photos in her ‘Corps Etranger 1994’

mona hatoum (2)
good looking pensioner gets inside Mona

I love her utilizing mundane, nay ubiquitous, materials; weaving it into her clever metaphors. I love her glass grenades, her toy soldiers arranged as an infinite loop. Worth seeing. As is the work called (or by) Tarek Atoui in the basement at Switch.

It’s several musicians make sound out of instruments designed to emit sound electronically (or sommat like that!). It’s part of the Tate Live Art stuff. One day I may be able to do ma ting there too cos I am a live artisbloke as you know.

Actually over the years I have performed at Tate in many ways. I first entered as a raw-would-be-artibloke in the 1960s. In the 70s I frequented it as I became a teacher. 80s I took my own audiences in the shape of coach trips from my night classes and i drew Paulozzi. 90s I took my own childers one of whom is now a curator and i drew Miriam Patchen and then Bruce that Scottish fella. Noughties I stood in a massive derelic  buildin and thought ‘they’ll never make it work, then on opening day I saw a surge of folks walking like Pina Bausch dancers into the Turbine Hall. In the 2010s I couldn’t afford the member’s pass until my state pension kicked in this year and I re-joined. Glad that I did, a good year to do it.

‘ere’s a bonus poem:

The Beauty of making my art today

 

The Beauty of making my art

After 50 years of trying to make it

I finally made it, good.

 

How do I do it now?

It’s easy after all these tears

 

I cried many many years

As they ignored me, all ways

Now I come into my own

Do it my own way I do too.

 

 

Finally, here’s a sign i saw on a London Bus as I travelled to the Tate

london farts logo

 

Someday soon

Someday soon 14.03.2016

Someday soon they said I was going to be famous

They said it when I was about to leave college in Exeter where I had developed various formats of Appleheadman/Apulhed (I actually invented the character in Bournemouth) and he’d become a bit of a cult figure in the local student population thru the graphic-strip I did in Reflex, the student newspaper in Exeter. The they said it when I self-published my buk (short-named or ‘sub-titled’) Apul-One* in 1975 when not many were selfpublishing with its personal-phonetic spellin when not many were doing shortened spellins. To be ‘famous’ didn’t serve much attraction to me even then. I wasn’t striving for fame, apart from the potential freedom it might bring with an alleviation of my financial needs and maybe some call for my work. As we all knew then cos the beatles told us so, money can’t buy you love, and I had lots of that, even if I didn’t always reciprocate fully nor appreciate it. Indeed I had a built in mechanism to flee from it at all suspicions that it was looming about. It took decades for me to learn how to accept praise and appreciation even tho I werked so hard to gain it. One of the tings I love about PA is they clap you when you finish. Maybe that’s cos they’re glad the thing is done? Only jokin. I think.

* I been working on the follow up, The Shrewd Idiot for forty years and it should be ready to launch sometime soon!

Sometimes some folks says I sometimes writes well sometimes and that sometime soon enough I may make it big as a writer. Well I cannot await sometime to happen. I did wait sometime. I started writing sometime ago (1969). It’s taken some time to get this bad. I guess I got sometime left, or right, write. But I not got some ting to prove cos I done all that some time back.

Here’s Judy Collins singing the beautiful song Someday Soon https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQ7rrszpJlI

So, I went up to London twice this week. First time was on a mission to see the last day of Auerbach at Tate Britain who I believe to be the best painter in the world, by far. I was not disappointed.

auer bi snowdon sm
A young Auerbach in the 1960s infront of my friend DD’s favourite image, “He should have retired then!”

I also popped into the new bookshop Libreria and it was really beautifully set out with lots of books I’d love to buy. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/feb/21/libreria-bookshop-rohan-silva-second-home-interview#img-1

I saw this great couple o folks there and aksed if I can use their image in ma blog and they say ok dokay

libreria hanbury st (4) sm
This couple of artists find a perfect setting to share their thoughts.

There was so much to do I had to wend ma way back again on the Wednesday to go see the exhibition preview at Marsden Woo gallery where they had some beautiful readings to give the launch a real whumpf.

“An evening of performance, poetry and text works curated and lead by SJ Fowler in response to our current show, Alida Sayer’s Lexicon,

Jpeg
Alida’s metals are elemental statements.

took place last night at Marsden Woo Gallery. It was a fantastic event, with new work by diverse and talented poets being seen and heard for the first time. Many thanks to all involved!”

For those who could not attend, SJ Fowler has kindly provided us with videos of the individual performances –
Giovanna Coppola https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=661TBOS5maY

Fabian Peake https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifime9uPQMk

SJ Fowler https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OKXtuchtA4

Iris Colomb https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvqTKhR9F6k

Christian Patracchini https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y73uSDOvWx4

I also visited the Rebecca Horn section in Tate Modern because I had seen those wonderful feather head-dresses she did and wanted to find out more. RH was and is one of the world’s great performance artists. Her work hinges, literally sometimes, around the ‘props’ she manufactures. I learned a lot looking at them, very inspiring.

http://www.rebecca-horn.de/pages/biography.html#top

also, I got some of her trappings on camera.

Jpeg
I loved the way Horn attends to every detail inc. boxing her props.

http://www.marthagarzon.com/contemporary_art/2012/07/rebecca-horn-body-art-performance-installations/

As I was searching the net for stuff about RH I happened upon some incredible work by Helen Chadwick which in terms of old style virtues in art blew RH into a feathered hat. HC was a very earl exponent of woman in art and I love what I found.

http://comemporarypracticedc.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/research-helen-chadwick.html

another woman artist I discovered this week was Yinka Shonibarembe, I loved her extravert use of colour.

http://www.yinkashonibarembe.com/articles/present/

On Friday night I went to the launch of Colchester firstsite’s new Warhol show which was peppered with females making great stuff. Camille Walala has done some wonderful abstract images on a wall which I never even dreamed of filling and made it look great.

http://camillewalala.bigcartel.com/category/prints

Hattie Stewart, ex-student at Sheepen Road college has a wonderfull show wherein her work, which takes inspiration from the likes of Disney, Keith Haring and Rick Griffin’s walking eyes, really lights up the gallery. http://hattiestewart.com/

And finally there was little Georgie who did these wonderful spirals in the mock ‘Factory’ which firstsite has set up for folks to do prints in during the Warhol show.

georgie spiral
Young Georgie has inherited her mum’s ability in art

Aside- David Bailey: “Visually, Picasso was definitely the most important person in my life. When I discovered him I realised there were no rules. I didn’t go to art school, I didn’t even know what art school was, but the teachers who taught drawing always said, ‘Oh, you can’t put a line around things,’ and I thought, ‘Well, Picasso does, stained glass windows do, so I don’t see your point.’ Obviously, they were wrong.” I didn’t go to art skewel eether David.

 

Lookin Back

October 27th 2015, on my 65th birthday, shortly after doing the IPA [International Performance Association] fortnight, I become an OAP (Old Age Pensioner) and realize that I am an also an OPA (Opsimath Performance Artist). For those what don’t know (like I didn’t before I accidentally discovered the word whilst checking the meaning of ‘opulent’) an ‘opsimath’ is ‘a person who learns late in life’ and I certainly realised my love of Performance Art (PArt) late in my 50 years as a artisbloke.

A new stage name, ‘DANI OOPAPA’ or ‘OMI OOPAPA’ maybe?

It may be an idea if you read this blog about my work watti dun in 2013, it’ll let you know where am coming from:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/my-past-pages-from-the-net/

The rest of this is about the last year (2015) & my ‘links’ (not) with some gallery spaces and it will soon go into my ‘about’ in my wordpress site. The knowledge, skills & experience I have accumulated did not come easily, it came as the result of determined effort and my desire to learn then apply my abilities. Colchester has been my cultural centre since 1975 and I have exhibited there several times; one man shows in Trinity Street gallery (1994), the main Library gallery (2000) and the Red Lion Bookshop (2014) and participation in several group shows in particular at the Minories as the Final show of my MA qualification (2013) followed by a solo ‘performance’ there.

Jan 26th 2015

On the basis of my thinking that it may be better to fill the walls with my work^, than close the gallery with the walls effectively empty I make an offer to Firstsite Gallery Colchester.

(^ work which has seen 25 solo shows in Essex since 1978 and has been loved by many of those who came into the shows who indicated their feelings in the visitors’ books),

‘Dear curators,[the head curator (MC, see below) had quit the gallery for a plum job in a big gallery in Germany leaving deputies i/c]

I was in firstsite on Saturday 17th January and I noticed the gallery is almost empty at the moment and one of the assistants told me it is not scheduled to have a new show until March- I feel impelled to ask you to give me the freedom of your walls and spaces and I’ll mount a big show based of the work I have produced in the past 48 years.

‘Dear Pete,

Thank you for your email and for sending your proposal for an exhibition at Firstsite.

I’m afraid that we are unable to host an exhibition of your work in the coming weeks. The galleries are committed to other activities during this period, including essential maintenance and a 5-week long residency by Maria Loboda, during which time she will fabricate a new work in situ. Furthermore, as I’m sure you are aware, our exhibitions are originated and developed over much longer periods of time and through extended conversations with the artist.

31 Jan 2015’

Shortly after sending me that short note she quit the gallery.

Here’s some links to the blArts (my word to combine my Blatherings on Art) I did about firstsite:

About Bruce McLean- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/bruce-mclean-not-trendy-but-twitchy/

 

Bruce McLean said- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/16/this-is-the-best-exhibition-of-my-work-ever/

 

Two part report on firstsite symposium- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/so-we-live-in-a-digital-cage-part-2/

 

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/06/01/so-we-live-in-the-digital-cybernetic-age-the-d-c-age-digital-cage/

 

Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Norwich University of the Arts gives a  talk about Henri Chopin- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2014/05/01/henri-chopin-and-others-who-got-forgot/

 

The Man from New York talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/andrew-roths-talk-at-first-site-last-saturday/

 

Ann Stephen from Australia’s talk- https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/first-site-talk-success-but/

 

Feb 2015– The ‘free community place for arts’ in Colchester called Slack Space did a lovely ‘artists book’ show:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/02/08/artist-books-stories-at-slack-space/

&

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/02/11/my-artists-books-from-slack-space-to-babe-11-12-april/

 

Also in February the Art Council withdrew the funding from Firstsite gallery and I did a blog about making an offer to help the crestfallen director who on his appointment had said on being announced as Firstsite’s new director in November 2012, “The positioning of Firstsite within the local community is essential to my new role. I hope to extend Firstsite’s mission in bringing excellent art to everyone, supporting artists from the region to develop their careers and demonstrating the value that contemporary visual art brings to society.”

“To Matthew Rowe

I would like to meet you and discuss some of the issues that abide with you and the wonderful firstsite gallery along with its inherited problems and its legacy. I once had a long chat with Michelle Cotton (MC) which she began reluctantly but gradually warmed to and eventually said, ‘You should meet the new director Pete’

I also had a small article in Venue which flagged up the wonderful work of Bruce McLean and how well it looked in the space. I had tried to get Michelle to inform me about which show would follow McLean so I could prepare a longer article for Venue.

I would like to help you to move the gallery forward, why because I have lived in Essex since 1973 and taught art for many years and I see the need for such a big and potentially great space for art(s). At present it is nowhere near reaching its potential and that for many reasons, many of which you know some you may not be aware of.

So, if you would like to meet so we can talk and see if there are ways I can help please respond.

Pete Kennedy MA, DMS, Adv Dip, etc (I didn’t inc. an honor bestowed on me c.2008 RA Doubtful!) 14.2.15”.

MR never bothered to answer my offer yet the local MP and the rep of the Art Council had answered me, somewhat condescendingly I’ll have you know, the MP was ousted at the next election.

My blog abart it:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/moving-on-letting-go/

In April Matthew Rowe Director left:

http://www.colchesterchronicle.co.uk/2015/04/08/fancy-a-firstsite-job/

my blog about it, ignore the title, that was not intended to rejoice, I felt sad about MR and MC and all them what tried to bring advanced art ideas to Colchester but their intent altho well-meant was not so well based on the needs of the local community which yes would benefit from ‘education’ into 20th century+ art but it’s ‘the way you tell ‘em’ which counts. BE WARNED there’s a lot about my work in this and all ma blogs:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/oh-bee-joy-full/

 

Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th April

I attend the BABE book art fair at the Arnolfini where I share a table with David Jury. On the Sunday I do my reading and dance about my poems which are featured in my two books called ‘Inside This Earthen Vessel’. It was performed in a room they call the lecture room but it had no atmosphere at all. Chris Leonard a friend of over 40 years who lives near Bristol turned up, my mate Dave Doughty came down from Essex to film it and two other folk came plus the gallery helper who had to be there. It was really hard mustering any enthusiasm in such circumstances but those who came all seemed to enjoy it (?). It was invaluable doing it with so little an audience because it brought home the maxim, “The Show must go on” and taught me by experience how to lift myself up when the chips seemed to be down. It was good practice too.

Ere’s ma blog on BABE.

4pm Pete Kennedy ‘readings’- Inspired by Kabir’s poem ‘Inside This Clay Jug’ (transformed from Rabindranath Tagore’s translation by Robert Bly and recited by Pete) Also, various renditions from the original book on Six Mystics- G Batch (G…iorgi Ivanovitch Gurdzhiev. B…euys Joseph. A…ngeli Silesii. T…enzin Gyatso. C…arl Gustav Jung & H…ermann Hesse.), Inside This Clay Jug and Inside This Great Jug.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=jug+talk+at+babe+%26+bukman+dances+on

 

April 2015, Interim Director Anthony Roberts takes over for a year, my blArt:

Triumphal Buzz

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/06/13/91326/

I join a guided tour led by the new Director, blog:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=FIRSTSITE+NEW+BEGINNING%2C+PART+2.

July- I go to the BALTIC gallery Gateshead book fair and do my Outlaw Pete Intervention, everything begins to fall into place:

Baltic Artists Book Market 2015

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=baltic+artists+book+market+2015

After my gig at BALTIC I realise I am only skirting around the edges of Performance Art these past 40 years so decide to join the IPA http://www.ipapress.i-pa.org/ in October which leads to possibly one of the most momentous shifts in my thinking and doing in my whole life as a artisbloke:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/?s=2+weeks+doing+performance+art.

Then another blog, yes it HAS started:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/01/now-i-have-begun/

So, I start to try to get ‘out there’ into the PA community. I have to say sadly my initial tentative approach to LADA has been a damp squib and my attempt to contact the organisers of SPILL fest also hit the rocks. Here’s some blogs:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/29/lets-do-it-live-art/

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/12/14/lets-dance/

My links to IPA have proved much more warm and rewarding. During the ‘pop up performances’ with IPA I return to the Arnolfini and do some much more well received performance art and we use the ‘lecture room’ as a base in which to change our clothes. I did an impromptu engagement with two little boys in a puddle outside the gallery thinking nobody was watching and I got these lovely words from two of our course leaders (Vest & Page) who happened to be in the café looking on proceedings as I splashed with the kids.

“Thanks for your warmth and smiles during the IPA days – we will always remember you jumping with the kid in the little water pond on the streets in front of Arnolfini.

Keep being magic and shining, V&A

v & p latex colord dancers

And I shall never forget their wonderful performance at Arnolfini! I was touched & inspired bigtime and I learned masses from observing them.

 

November I take part in the day of Performance Art at Firstsite gallery.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/the-frailty-of-being-human/

Next in November I had a table at the Hadleigh books fair:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/15/life-begins-at-65-now/

And here’s a blog about my first ever article in an American Journal (JAB):

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/my-german-ghosts/

 

December– Interim Director Anthony Roberts leaves Firstsite before a year is up (with my artist’s math I make it 9 months, just long enuf for a babe to gestate?) BUT he managed to get over £2 million support from Art Council before he goes. Thanks Ant yer dun a great job cos you turned the old tanker around, now it’s headed in the right direction, let’s hope it don’t come aground again. What an end to the year and an era at Firstsite gallery in Colchester, these two events are the final things which Anthony Roberts oversaw as ‘interim’ Director before taking his leave! He left the space in a much better place than he had found it in.

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/december-at-firstsite/

 

The future at Firstsite.

Now their work begins and they’ve a lot of work to do. The gallery is nowhere near a fully functioning gallery and socially inviting/accepted place. The budge that AR gave it is just that, a budge. It requires a mammoth transformation in its view of the world, local, national & international. Maybe more importantly the local council needs to sort out the locality, that in immediate proximity to the gallery as well as the whole town which over the past 10 years has sunk. It needs imagination and creativity, just as does the gallery. The roads around the gallery, especially the closing of entry into Queen St from the High St., need urgent attention vis a vis right to drive without impunity. The parking access near the gallery needs making available and accessible. The access to and from the car park in Priory St. needs sorting as does the total access and right to use the field outside the gallery. Visitors to the gallery should enjoy complete 360 degree access to the ground around the gallery.

 

Postscript- I can’t, or couldn’t, detach from the idea that my art was worthy and the world did me a dis-service by not attaching to it and giving me loads a money and praise and love and attachment. Then I look see what those results brought for the likes of Michael Jackson, John Lennon & Elvis the Pelvis and I can see I don’t want loads a money and praise and love and attachment. I am now more ready to give up my forlorn attempts to be up there with the famous ones! I think myself lucky that I never made it. I no longer ‘mind’, even if I did in the past. I have had my moments, I’ve had positive feedback which has gone into the burner and helped energise me as did criticisms cos often I’d not take them laying down, I’d up and at ‘em. I’d make my next ting beat better. All the time I wanted to improve. That’s why I find myself an opsimath, a ‘person who learns late in life’, or should that be an Opzzie-Mouth in praise of Ozzie Ozbourne?)

So you see my links to galleries in the past 50 yearns has been rather limited, you could say galleries are my limited company; Pete Kennedy Galleries Ltd. However, onwards and now I’m an Opsimath!  My next blog will be about relationships, according to TED they make your life last much longer if they’re good! Here’s my final blog for this lot:

https://apulhed.wordpress.com/2015/12/21/i-tried-to-change-the-world/

ta to Zelda Chappel fer this image via @Steve_Perfect, ta 2 yu 2 blue

a len bern on art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My German ‘gHosts’.

All of a sudden my life is beginning to happen. ‘It’s almost as if the stars are tangled in a ghostly spider’s web. The whole network is beginning to glow, to pulse with light, exactly as if it were alive…’ (p. 166, Tom Wolfe in Cool Aid Acid Test).

I spent 65 years ‘trying’ to ‘get there’ and suddenly somehow I arrive! Like Clementine, I’m on tea & croissants. On Friday night last when I turned on the Mercury prize I discovered a man/voice which was as big a revelation to me as hearing Van Morrison’s Astral Weeks on vinyl way back in 1968 on an old Dancette record player exactly like this one.a dancette

Benjamin Clementine was chosen as the top album (?) and what a phenomenon!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a68KJWe_Tfk

Although I am not a phenomenon I did surprise a few folk at the IPA fortnight (http://www.ipapress.i-pa.org/official-news/ipa-autumn-2015-official-news/great-blog-from-pete-kennedy-about-ipa-autumn-2015/  recently but I been a long time gestating. During the time of my ‘working life’ I never ‘made it’, that’s for sure, partly cos I were too busy working for a living. But I never gave up my pursuit of the goal which was to make a mark on the consciousness of the era in which I have lived.

It was a long hard battle. I wrote, I painted, I did graphics (‘comic’, caricature and stuff) and I drew. I drew cos I could. I actually draw because of the battle I had to fight to acquire the ability to draw. It wasn’t easy cos as a 16 year old I was cack-handed (kakˈhandɪd; ‘clumsy, awkward or inept way of doing something; originally meaning left handed’, in other words I couldn’t draw for toffee but now I’m ambidextrous and am proud of that. Although I perform across a number of media it was the ability to draw which I chased hard until I achieved a certain skill which allowed me to draw the likes of Feliks Topolski, Miriam Patchen and more recently Vest & Page.

When Richard Morphet, the then Keeper of the Modern Collection at Tate, said to me in c. 1994, ‘Your work has a very German feel’, I think he was referring to the new breed from Germany like ‘upside down man’ Baselitz, yes there was a similarity but it stemmed from our all having the same influences in art history. Here’s one of my portraits (of Michael McKell actually) showing the similarity in technique. This is one of the illustrations which are reproduced beautifully in my article in JAB38 but here I am showing it in colour, it needs colour as does much of my oeuvre.

Michael McKell lino cut, black & brown

When Brad Freeman gave the go ahead on my article for the Journal of Artists Books (JAB http://www.journalofartistsbooks.org/current/) and I pondered on being asked to feature my own work, mainly in book and print but also in paint, and those who had inspired, directed and influenced it. It soon became apparent that many of them were of German origin. My father and his father’s generation had been embroiled in war with Germany yet I was inspired by so many German artists and writers. Significantly many of my influences had been on the Nazi regime’s list of ‘degenerate art’. The writer, artist and mountain walker Hermann Hesse, significantly, even stood up against the First World War. Anselm Keifer, Dieter Roth and Joseph Beuys all had to cope in their various ways with having been born in Germany and the aftermath stigma of the Third Reich.

a The scale is the result of the dance

my portrait of Anselm Kiefer

Luckily my embroilment has been with the positive creative side of the German spirit. The list is long and the work they did will give insight into my own output, about which the article will further inform you. Beneath German military imperialism lays a deeper current, German humanism as manifested in the work of writers like Hesse, Walser and Klee, each has had a profound effect on my work/output which I shall be linking to the work of the following artists showing how they have had an impact on my thinking:

Expressionists; Shmidt-Rotluf, Franz Marc (Post Card To Prince Jussuf), Kokoshka with his very literature base and liberal brush.

Dada etc; Max Ernst Collage books (La Femme 100 tetes) and his Livres d’artists,

Bauhaus; Klee, Schlemmer

Post war; Anselm Keifer, Dieter Roth and Joseph Beuys

Add to these Munch and Soutine, both of whom have a similar ‘feel’ and indeed the former certainly influenced the Expressionists. https://www.google.co.uk/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=expressionist+painters

*Kokoshka was born in Austria but was associated with German Expressionism and dada.

Wikipedia says that Kokoschka (who became involved with Performance Art) was a master of ‘innovative oil painting techniques anchored in earlier traditions’ which resonates with my lifelong observation  about ‘art’ or rather  ‘the creative process’ passing down a (transcendent) chain or  down a line/ lineage.

I see my portraits as descendent from the work of Rembrandt or El Greco, then Van Gogh and Soutine yet it never lamely mimics any of them. They set the example but I always looked to move it on. I was born into a generation which experimented with and pushed the barriers, sometimes too far, too quickly. I have always looked over my shoulder or down to see my feet standing on the shoulders of giants. I fought hard with my own inadequacies to overcome my incompetence in various media. I did find my way to doing some oil paintings which had considerable skill. All of the time I heard Max Ernst whispering in my ear that ‘painting is dead’, yet I refused to allow that to happen, I love the push of the wet gooey brush across the dry canvas surface and my attempts to make a difference. I was aware that so many great artists had (before I began) created a great legacy of amazing works which I could hardly hope to match, so I would push off in another direction. To find that direction I would look intensively into the history of ‘art’ and into the practice which was going on around me from the time of my first successful paintings and prints until today.

In the early 1970’s I was lucky to see the work of Soutine, de Kooning, Barnet Newman and Dieter Roth all of whom did what I considered to be ground-breaking work which itself was keeping to the lineage of the greats that went before them. I wanted to create new and original work which proved ever so difficult when the art market only really wanted to have the work of established masters or people who were following in their footsteps. They wouldn’t look at my work because I was not in the canon or established or I didn’t have the right track record or had not been vetted by the right colleges. And who can blame them when so many artists were being produced, choosing who to back and add to the canon must have been difficult. But I carried on making my art regardless, for 48 years now. Now it can be seen that I have created a large oeuvre which has a wide variety of differing styles and ways of working, yet another taboo in the ‘art-world’ where they like it if you concentrate on a small area then you can be boxed up and sold.

I was inspired by Ernst. I saw Roth as an oasis on my starving journey. And later I saw Beuys and Keifer doing things I had done as a result of pursuing my own star only they did them more than I ever could with my limited time and resources.

‘Beuys never made a painting on canvas; he explicitly rejected this traditional artistic production.’ P68 JB-A Colourful World, pubr. Schellmann Art, Munich 2011. Here is a difference because I did do paintings and other things onto canvas, I wouldn’t stop because Beuys did not choose this medium, but I would be able to consider many materials for use in my own work having been given permission so to do by Beuys having used them either before I did or without my knowing that he had and my later finding out he had used materials I had chosen, except before me. What Beuys, Ernst and Roth did was encourage my daring when it came to which materials could be used to make my work with. Had I stuck to the limited media which my educators and many British artists before the sixties had stuck to my output would have been severely limited. Even today many of my pieces are frowned upon by people from all walks of life because many have little idea as to the way art and its use or abuse of materials has moved for better or worse in the past 50 years.

On 23.7.14 I got a note from David Jury about our collaboration for an artists book Inside This Clay Vessel http://www.abebooks.co.uk/9780950426716/BATCH-Introduction-Thoughts-Clay-Jug-0950426717/plp :

‘I did a lot of work on Vessel page 2 (V2) today but had to make quite a few changes from yesterday’s efforts. I expect to get a printed result tomorrow. It was Braunschweig University that I visited, but they have no link to Beuys. The permanent exhibition of Beuys I mentioned is kept at a fantastic gallery in Berlin, the Hamburger Bahnhof. They have a couple of fabulous Keifer pieces too, but they are not always on display.’

I had been asking him about his visit to Braunschweig and the artists that he’d told me about with a view to me going there one day(?). In 2015 I produced a book about the making of my picture called Venus Stairs which was inspired by Schlemmer’s Bauhaus Staircase. The more I see of Schlemmer’s oeuvre the more I love it, especially the stuff he did related to performance, especially now that I am so involved with Performance Art.

Two weeks ago I recited my Beuys poem at firstsite Gallery in Colchester. The poem pokes fun at Beuys and his ways but it’s also an homage to him. When I spent 2 weeks in the company of Performance Artist Jurgen Fritz I was aware that I am still a novice in the field of Performance Art but Jurgen said encouraging things about my efforts. I have been eating, sleeping & dreaming up Performance Art pieces since then and my next blog will be about the IPA fortnight.

making the point

Here’s me reciting my Beuys poem. He had gold on his face, I couldn’t afford gold so I used black.

 

The frailty of being human

The frailty of being human/ubeings*.

As I approached one of the most important (in my way of thinking) moments in my life my shoulder ached so much it jeopardized my planned ‘Performance Art’ at the re-newed  firstsite Gallery Colchester.

It pulled me up sharp. I had to really rest on Thursday and take it easier on myself Friday. I hoped the pain would subside so I could carry on my piece. This brought up the notion of frailty. Of course we live longer than a gnat or a flea or a butterfly once we survive the pang if birth but we are prone to disease, injury and mutual self-destruction (wars & other conflicts) as Gurdjeff used to call it until he too found that crashing your car did little for your survival and he did died on the second crash. We all will die anyway, crash or no crash, war or no war, it is our destiny. Tibetan thinkers don’t talk of death per se, they have the bardo of living (this here now) and the bardo of dying (what happens to us when we quit the body which has been our shell awhile). My ‘Performance Art’ is me railing against my fate, or actually, more accurately, accepting it and making a noise (even when the piece is silent which is rare) whilst I still can.

I hope you enjoy what I do. Bless you & Namaste.

*‘ubeings’ is my non gender biased word for our species.

a pete + optics

So, shouldering the task I turned up Saturday 7th November 2015 and ‘performance-artisted’ with my piece on being a cowboy called Outlaw Pete that Bruce the Boss Springstep song he wrote  especially for me (not).

19.04.2016 I had a nice little fillip today when a member of the staff at Firstsite said of my Outlaw Pete gig, ‘It was an out of body experience.’ She had not watched my whole gig. Said what she saw was very strange. I retorted, ‘That’s good cos I never want to be perceived as ‘normal’.’

Then I Explained Joseph Beuys to a Dead Woodpecker, below is Priscila Buschinelli’s photo of me Making the Point whilst holding the dead woodpecker (it flew into our conservatory and I got a friend to stuff it).

making the point

and I danced to Luke E Walker’s ambient ‘Sounds for Pete’s Clay Jug’

pete electric eyes sm

Having first led a crowd from the comfort of the foyer café to the Mosaic Area by ‘playing’ a Bolivian song on the woodpecker’s beak and calling ‘Follow me, I’m the Pied Piper’. And about 30 folk did! It was so good to see the corridor filled with curious people after once seeing a lecturer from Australia walking forlornly all lonely thru that same space to give her talk to about ten people in the gallery’s fabulous lecture theatre. WOW, the gallery has moved on since then.

To see 30 people walking 5 or 6 abreast meant so much to me. To see that wonderful gallery full of people & music & dance & Performance Art & 700+ pictures and sculptures by local folks and to be part of that was a real highlight as the place is moving from untouchable to accessible under Anthony Roberts ‘temporary’ leadership.

One woman said she thought the best part of my piece was when I laid (exhausted) on the glass on top of the mosaic and breathed out which made my breath appear on the glass. My favourite moment was when I laid down at the end and left a smudge from the make up on my hand like a stone-age artist left his mark on cave walls.

It was an honour & privilege to do my Performance Art at Firstsite’s first Performance Art day even though it meant I had to go to the Small Publisher’s Book Fair at Conway Hall on Friday and miss some Performance Art events in the Spill fest in London. It was well worth it to be part of the day which used the Mosaic Area & other parts of Firstsite to show off the beauty of the architectural features and the second event (sorry I missed the first) by Helen Stratford helen stratford (7) smactually got the crowd to touch parts of the building and learn to appreciate it more. She shewed us the leaning wall had a good intent. They don’t reach the floor so they look as if they’re floating. THEN! If you crouch under the gap tween floor and wall there’s a long series of windows! These cannot be appreciated because the public cannot get down into the field to the back of the building for legal reasons. This needs to be rectified. The building needs to be circumnavigated with access at all times the gallery is open, for many reasons. Get it sorted Colchester (Council)! (see footnote) So here are some images of folk feeling the gallery, and it felt good banging a beat on the gold cladding:

lee ashcroft refund (8) sm

Priscila Buschinelli with Stephanie Kogler watching Pete

There were 11 different Performance Artist events working their magic including a breast feeding mother dancing with her babe suckling.

kayla sinclair motherhood (7) sm

They were enjoyed by all age groups. Let me list a few of the Performance Artists who played their part in the day curated by Priscila Buschinelli, the organiser/curator & Stephanie Kogler, the Open project assistant, with ‘JV’ doing the sound tech which made the music & sound reach our ears so clearly.

Lee Ashcroft registered his disdain at having to pay to do a Performance Art event! He wanted a refund and asked what Mario would do? Bang his head on a box and coins fall out, which he did for a 20 mins ‘durational’ piece with his just reward but the action hurt so much I bet he wished he’d not complained!

lee ashcroft refund (7) sm

Phil Mill did a sound piece which was phenomenal BUT he needed something on the ‘stage’ to captivate interest, a focal point.

phil mill (1) sm

Che Kevlin did a sound piece with wonderful focal points particularly the golden mask which he made from an old card wrapping stuff sprayed gold. He created this ‘thing’ which played noise as he stroked it for his 20 minutes with a home made bow. No image cos someone had hid my camera.

Mel Donohoe did a most beautiful piece with herself dressed in a wedding dress under which a petticoat filled with white feathers lurked. She stuck dress pins in her arms from which she dangled the feathers to create ‘wings’ then she mounted some step ladders and raised her arms. A lack of wind prevented her taking off!

mel donohoe primary love (9) sm mel donohoe primary love (25) sm

The Murphy family of four dressed up as horses danced beautifully in costumes which shone & shimmered & glittered.

charlie + co (23) sm

And finally Holly Dot & Will did a totally irreverent skit on galleryistic etiquette which absolutely marmalised the way so many galleries don’t allow you to talk, laugh, touch, take photos and all the things you’d love to do.

holly dot +will (10) sm

I found the work infectious, the noises were glorious especially the sound of children laughing. As was the sound of clapter, especially when they showed appreciation for my own gyrating perspiring and making my mark on the glass.

I hope to do two more blogs this week about The book fair world and about Deb Guinane’s Performance Art at the spill fest in London on Sunday.

holly dot +will (14) sm

(footnote to Colchester council)

I’m not’asking am saying do it, because without that possibility the gallery can never function AND we (public/visitors) cannot access the car park so parking is an ISSUE and one which MUST BE PREVENTING visitors coming to the gallery. And whilst I am on about stupid things.Another thing which needs sorting is the road into Queen Street which normal cars can’t drive down from the high street. The stupidity is that they merely drive down the East Hill and turn at the Minories and go back to Queen Street and don’t say ‘We’ll put a stop to that’ NO, just re-instate the road so people can drive to the car park (Butt Lane?) then allow access to the gallery through the path at the back. Then folk can see thru the windows at the foot of the floating leaning walls! It’s not rocket science. Sort it!

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Alright am ready, nearly.

So am nearly ready for BALTIC next week.  Their fame even spreads to the south coast, altho this design in Margate is not theirsbaltic logosm

Been a busy fascinating week. I joined ENAS at Margate to see the Grayson Perry show at the Turner Gallery which was pretty good. If he keeps practising he’ll make those pots straight one day.  Everyone in the Enas coach seemed to love his work, his wit & intelligence. His work is inspiring. I love the way he tumbles the barriers over, pushing stultified tradition over yet replacing it with new possibilities. I can’t indeed won’t show any images of his work as a protest, a BIG protest about this crap many galleries have about not taking photos etc. It’s such a negative ting. I aks you when you come see my works to take photos, as many as you likes.

fiona fouhy

Then I wandered around the town and saw some nice art, especially  Fiona Fouhy’s etchings.

fiona fouhy2

Here’s some shots from me Margate trip:

peter pizza

that’s me hungry fer petesa

I enjoyed Heidi Plant’s heidiwork at the Resort studios and may go back to do some work in their print studio. And when we arrived back at Firstsite wur we set out from the moon was out and the gallery looked so good. moon site

Next day I was back on my bike and over to London toon to do ‘Poetry’ with a visit to the Poetry Library first to deliver a signed cover for my collaboration work with David Jury. Saradha http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/saradha-soobrayen introduced me to the books of Anne Carson who seems to be an artist writer after my own art. There are lots of parallels in our books’ materials & looks. She were born in Toronto, Ontario in 1950, I was born in Glasgow the same year. Her Antigo Nick has a very similar feel to my Apulgold book, and the similarities don’t stop there. There’s a staggering resemblance in the way she made a book called Nox and the new version of my Shrewd Idiot. So much so you’d think I have copied her, not so, I never heard of her til Saradha introduced her work to me. But the way she has cut & pasted images and words is identical to my prep work already done. I just find that so encouraging and supportive, showing me I am on the right track. Of course the subject matter is very different. Mine is all about me, hers is about her brother.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2006/dec/30/featuresreviews.guardianreview7

I finished off at Enitharmon where I still couldn’t find William Blake but I saw a launch of a book on Ed Dorn with his wife Jennifer and others reading poems of his. I bought her poem Eastward Ho, The Saga Of Vitus Bering wherein I discovered that the Bering straits were named after a man called Bering! Bright that.

Did you know that the Boss had done a song about my youth? Enjoy- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8i5A1Pn0z6k

Now down to some hard graft, polishing ma dancing boots, shaping ma cowbouy hat, donning ma spurs, covering ma buks, learning ma werds and preparing ma presenting skills for BALTIC nex Saturday at High Noon. Bring yer camras, feel free to take them darned photos of Outlaw Pete and his outputs.