Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Bloomberg Blooper

Someone must tell Bloomberg LP that it is bad corporate branding for a company whose essential business is packaging and disseminating information to do such a poor job of explaining the art exhibits displayed in its art gallery housed in the company’s London office.

First, despite the huge banners outside inviting you to Bloomberg SPACE, it is rather difficult to find the actual gallery, tucked as it is behind an angle in the tall concrete building with many entrances. I am shooed away by a Nepalese security guard in a black suit and Hollywood-style ear piece at one doorway, before I find the right one.

Inside, I discover myself in an empty lobby with an art installation made out of worker’s uniforms in the centre. I look around for clues to its origins. There are none. The abandoned reception has two pamphlets. Both relate to other exhibitions in London, none to the exhibit on display in front of me.

As I walk through the other room I find myself on a mezzanine floor with several paintings, seemingly unrelated to the installation I had just seen. In confusion, I look around and find two pamphlets hanging in the tiny corridor connecting the two spaces entitled "Vicky Wright Comma 14" and "Irina Korina Comma 13". Were those the two works on display - and which is which? To add to the confusion, on a far wall I can see several more pamphlets with artists’ names followed by Comma 1, 2… to 12.

The mystery is solved by another security guard – again Nepalese, again in black suit and ear piece – in the second room. Comma 1, 2.. to 12 were the previous exhibitions. Comma 13 and 14 were the current ones. The hanging uniforms were Irina Corina’s and the paintings on the mezzanine were Wright’s.

Shouldn't all this be self-explanatory?

The paintings do not have any titles, not even those that announce that the art work is “untitled”. There are no references to the media or materials used. This is particularly annoying in case of Wright’s work because with paint smudged straight on to the wooden canvas, media and material seems to be the most interesting aspect of her work.

The pamphlet to Wright’s work is not very friendly either. It only comes to Wright and her ideas after six long paragraphs of personal pontifications on the ways in which economy and art are connected. Which in any case, are explained again in the next six paragraphs with reference to Wright’s paintings. The author of this comment is merely described as “writer living in London” with no references to his credentials.

Thankfully, the author of the pamphlet to Irina’s installation sticks to the artist’s work and is described as “until recently the chief art critic of Moscow Times”.

I wanted to take pictures, but am told by yet another Nepalese security guard that I can only click Korina’s work. Room 2 was out of bounds.

I leave wondering why was this gallery so relentlessly determined to bury poor Wright’s work? And more importantly, when, where and why did this office get overrun by Nepalese security men?

*** Not mentioned: Internet informs me that Wright’s paintings are actually entitled The Guardians. The commentator of her work, Jonathan Griffin, is the assistant editor of Frieze magazine apparently. The exhibition is on till Nov 28.

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