Arts and Crafts 6 August 2006
The ICA Surprise Surprise show had us guessing who did what.
Deliberately ambiguous and unidentified work by Damien Hurst, was set alongside other minor works by other major artists, The Chapman Brothers, Cindy Sherman, Robert Maplethorpe Kippenberger, Ofili and thirty others.
The show was something of a gimmick and an excuse to assemble work that would otherwise not be shown, but we embraced the idea and had some fun, trying and failing to identify the contributors.
Across Trafalgar square at the Portrait Gallery we checked out this years BP Portrait Show, which is always so bad and yet so un-missable. We like to wonder at the craft and effort which is on display, and in this show any attempt to follow the lead of the established artists such as those featured at the ICA, would be crass and out of place. At the ICA we saw so-so art with little craft, and at the Portrait Gallery we were offered the reverse.
Ron Mueck would appear to satisfy our appetites for both, and his current show is on the way, at present featured at Edinburgh; we look forward in eager anticipation.
. Shoestring Chronicle