MUSICAL DICTATORSHIP

MUSICAL DICTATORSHIP

    On January 26, 1936, Joseph Stalin, who had decided to take an interest in Soviet opera, attended a performance of Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. The composer was instructed to attend, which he did in a state of utter panic,...
LET'S TAKE A LOOK UNDER THE HOOD! (1)

LET’S TAKE A LOOK UNDER THE HOOD! (1)

  What can you tell us about your piece? Nothing What’s it about? Nothing Where did you get the inspiration or idea? I don’t know… nowhere Can you explain it to us? There’s nothing to explain, you just look at it   This is an exchange I’ve been through a...
RICHTER IN THE SKY / RICHTER EN EL CIELO

RICHTER IN THE SKY / RICHTER EN EL CIELO

    With teaching taking up most of my time lately I haven’t had much opportunity for reading, so this morning as the sun was shining I decided not to go to the studio and find a place to sit with my book instead. My skin hasn’t felt the sun...
Latest Views from the Studio
CONCERT FOR ANARCHY

CONCERT FOR ANARCHY

    The least that you expect from a piano is that it be the right way up, but this one is hanging upside down. Too far above my head for me to touch but close enough for me to feel its weight and potential danger in my abdomen. I look at it, it menacingly...
ARTIST STUDIO: TONY CRAGG

ARTIST STUDIO: TONY CRAGG

Tony Cragg is so prolific and his sculpture uses such a variety of materials that it’s easy to imagine him covered in crap hammering away in a gritty workshop. But this picture shows him clean and well dressed in an organised space of almost religious purity; a space in Wuppertal, Germany that has twenty full...
OLD STONES

OLD STONES

    On my Sunday run this morning making a second attempt at an incursion into the mountainsides of Sierra Nevada – Spain not California – trying to reach the village of Monachil, where I would meet up with my family who were waiting there for me with dry clothes and coffee. Most of the...
AN IMAGE OF THE SELF

AN IMAGE OF THE SELF

    That same rectangular shape with a bite missing on its left side repeats itself like a heartbeat, always the same yet each time different and unique. The thick pink and green slime has a gastric effect that could well end up with an unhealthy craving, or perhaps disgust, for chewing on something rubbery,...
WISH YOU WERE HERE

WISH YOU WERE HERE

    I would spend hours looking through the faded biscuit tin full of family photographs that was kept in the bottom draw of an old writing desk in all the houses I lived in as a child. I clearly remember the feel of those rainy days I spent staring through black and white pictures...
THE TRIANGULAR FIELD

THE TRIANGULAR FIELD

      A man raises his arm as he walks in the direction of a horse that is peacefully grazing close to a wall. Balthus has decided that I only see this wall from above. The man is obviously shouting at the animal – a lacerating thought in the tranquility of this idyllic pre-industrial...
HENDRIX'S LAST BASEMENT

HENDRIX’S LAST BASEMENT

    Maybe Hendrix died in a basement, I don’t know. This basement is covered in vomit – Isn’t that what the paint splashes on the floor are? – as a reminder of the cause of his death and a warning of what could happen to any of us if we chose his lifestyle. The...
THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

THE BIRTHDAY PARTY

    A Studio With a View is a year old today!  I’ve never been very good with birthday parties, save Harold Pinter’s extraordinary play and Nick Cave’s gothic rock band. I’ve had an excellent time writing about art and books and music and other things I like to waste my time with, and would...
ARTIST QUOTE: BERNARD FRIZE

ARTIST QUOTE: BERNARD FRIZE

    I once worked on a painting for nearly three months, so there’s no way I can claim that my process is anything like Bernard Frize’s; but I actually really identify with what he’s saying here and what it implies: all paintings in a sense are documents that witness events that have occurred to...
FLAMINGO MUSIC

FLAMINGO MUSIC

    It’s not really a good painting; the landscape is crudely resolved, the flamingoes are uninteresting and the hunter hiding behind the bush looks like something out of an old adventure story book. But George Catlin’s Ambush for Flamingoes (1857) achieves something I know by recent experience is very difficult to nail onto a...
JACKSON POLLOCK'S AMERICAN SAGA

JACKSON POLLOCK’S AMERICAN SAGA

    I had just put the car in reverse to back out of my brother’s drive when I saw my niece, who we had just dropped off, running back towards us with something in her hand… Daddy says this is for you she panted as she put through the window an old book about...
NEXT STOP MIAMI!

NEXT STOP MIAMI!

    In 1972 Olivier Messiaen travelled around the American West in search for inspiration for Des canyons aux étoiles, the composition he was working on to a commission to celebrate the bicentenary of the United States Declaration of Independence. Last year I began working on a painting and sculpture project inspired by Messiaen’s music...