Tag Archives: Tate Britain

Beardsley at Tate Britain

 

 

IMG_9755The queerest show currently on in London is the Aubrey Beardsley at Tate Britain. And he´s got a lot of competition: Tom of Finland at House of Illustrations; Warhol at Tate Modern; Masculinities at the Barbican. Beardley´s work includes beautiful innovative drawings, illustrations, graphic design, erotica.  His work is refined and artificial, irreverent and playful, erotic and grotesque. The masculinities on display are often ridiculous, even, or particularly, at their most phallic. The genders, non-conforming. The influences ranging from Russia to Japan. The friendships include Wilde, Burne-Jones, Arthur Symons, W.B. Yeats. It´s extraordinary to think his career only spanned seven years. He died of consumption at the age of only twenty-five but his influence is extensive and wide-ranging: you´ve seen it even without knowing it (The Beatles´Revolver album). I first came across his work when Susan Sontag referred to it as an exemplar of camp in her famous essay. It is so  much more than that. Beardsley is a key visual signifier of fin-de-siècle culture in Britain and to us now queer avant-la-lèttre, an ancestor to many queer currents.

Josè Arroyo

José Arroyo in Conversation with Tom Seymour

 

Tom Seymour is the writer on art and photography that’s most incited my interest in the last year. His writing on Bill Viola and Michelangelo in Wallpaper* is what got me to the Royal Academy; his article on Don McCullin, also for Wallpaper*, is what occasioned a trip to Tate Britain. He’s how I was introduced to Chernobyl as a rave site, how I first heard of Sian Davey’s show at the National Portrait Gallery and why I was moved to petition for the release of Turkish photographer Çağdaş Erdoğan. I wanted to talk to him about all of this and more. The podcast below is the result.

 

Tom graduated with a degree in Film and Literature from the University of Warwick in 2007 and since then has contributed to The GuardianThe ObserverThe Financial TimesThe TelegraphWallpaper, CNN, BBC and other important newspapers and magazines. He was also the digital editor of The British Journal of Photography for several years and has recently become Senior Writer for Creative Review.

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The conversation ranges from how he got into writing about photography, the experience of going to and writing about Chernobyl, how he pursued the Çağdaş Erdoğan story, and the changing cultural status of photography as well as the current ecosystem of  the medium in London. We end with an extended discussion of the great Don McCullin exhibition currently on at Tate Britain, which we both urge everyone to see.

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José Arroyo