Paul Gorman is…

“Because it’s so damn good!” Extracts from my exclusive interview with pioneering illustrator/photographer Jim French, who has died aged 84

Jun 18th, 2017

//Jim French. Photo: SHOWStudio//

The American illustrator and photographer Jim French – best known for his pioneering endeavours in the field of homoerotic art – has died at home in Palm Springs at the age of 84.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Cunst Art: Caroline Coon’s hand-rendered Laid Bare Diary 1983-1984

May 3rd, 2017

I once asked gallery owner Angela Flowers for her definition of an artist. Without hesitating she said: “That’s easy. An artist is someone who simply has to paint every day.” Caroline is the personification of that description.

Charlotte Metcalf from her editor’s note, Laid Bare Dairy 1983-1984

A fascinating and frank document of the period of the artist’s personal life conveyed by the title, Caroline Coon’s Laid Bare Diary 1983-1984 is also a  lovingly realised bookwork.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Champs, chumps + charlatans: No time like the present for John Claridge’s Soho Faces

Apr 25th, 2017

“I started taking portraits of people at The French House in the 70s when I took a picture of Gaston Berlemont. Then, while taking Spike Milligan’s portrait, we got to talking about Soho. At the time, I was living in Frith St, so Ronnie Scott’s and The French were both very familiar to us and, even then, both of us voiced our sadness at changes we saw – lovely delicatessens, independent restaurants and specialists shops closing down, all of which had been there for years.

“In 2004, I decided to document the customers at The French in earnest. For me, it was the one place in Soho that still held its Bohemian character, where people truly chose to share time and conversation, and I became aware that many I had once chinked glasses with were no longer around.

“These portraits of the regulars are a cross-section of those who sat for me, but there is no rhyme or reason to my selection.”

John Claridge, 2017

There is no time like the present for a project documenting the champs, chumps and charlatans* who have imbued Soho with its gamey character over the decades; dreaded “gentrification” in the form of drastic changes being wrought by property developers is steadily defanging the central London area.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Before We Were Men: With David Gwinnutt, Ian Massey and John Maybury at National Portrait Gallery tonight

Mar 23rd, 2017

Tonight I will join academic and arts writer Dr Ian Massey and filmmaker John Maybury in conversation with photographer David Gwinnutt for an event to coincide with his exhibition Before We Were Men at the National Portrait Gallery.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , ,

Sartorial Style on Saturday: Talking about The Face, in conversation with Mark Powell, Samurai rogues + merchant dandies, Adam Murray on North, Roy Strong’s wardrobe and real men DO wear pink!

Mar 15th, 2017

//I’ll be in conversation with Soho tailor Mark Powell at 2pm. Photo: Mark Powell//

//And talking about The Face from 3pm. This issue: Clinton McKenzie by Jamie Morgan/Ray Petri (Buffalo), June 1985 //

Sartorial Style is on this Saturday at the V&A and looks to be a humdinger.

The day of talks, q&as and presentations considers centuries of male style and elegance and also explores contemporary men’s fashion, bringing together curators, academics, photographers, writers and designers.

Sartorial Style kicks off with Real Men DO Wear Pink!, an investigation into masculine style up until 1800 by Susan North, the V&A’s curator of 17th & 18th Century fashion.

//Sir Roy Strong at the V&A, May 20, 1987. Photo: Peter Dazeley/Getty//

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Look sharp! In conversation with Mark Powell at Sartorial Style at the V&A, 2pm, Saturday, March 18

Mar 5th, 2017

Later this month I will be in conversation with British menswear legend Mark Powell at the V&A’s Sartorial Style day.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

What’s it going to be then, eh? An ‘unforgettable evening of typewriters, music, rough cider and poison-pen letters’

Feb 24th, 2017

//Anthony Burgess, Chiswick, west London, 1968, with the border collie Haji, “crafty, disobedient, and ignorant of the sexual life, except in perverted forms peculiar to himself […] He had no loyalty, leaving that commodity to us”. Photo: IABF//

Tomorrow is Anthony Burgess’s centenary; would that I could, I’d be in Manchester, specifically at the Engine House, Chorlton Mill, 3 Cambridge Street, home to the International Anthony Burgess Foundation for its celebration of the great fellow with an “unforgettable evening of typewriters, music, rough cider and poison-pen letters”.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , ,

Before We Were Men: With David Gwinnutt, John Maybury, Ian Massey + Jeffrey Hinton at the National Portrait Gallery on March 23

Feb 23rd, 2017

//John Maybury, Crowndale Road, c. 1981. Photo © David Gwinnutt//

//Leigh Bowery, Farrell House, Stepney Green, c. 1983. Photo © David Gwinnutt//

I am one of the guests of the photographer David Gwinnutt at an event being staged next month to coincide with the opening of his forthcoming exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery.

Before We Were Men showcases Gwinnutt’s documentation – with hand-held camera and exclusive use of natural light –  of creative London in the 1980s. Among his subjects were the designer/performance artist Leigh Bowery, artists Cerith Wyn Evans, Duggie Fields, Gilbert & George and Grayson Perry and dancer/choreographer Michael Clark.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Curious, humorous and anonymous: Ian Harris’s Argos art postcard interventions

Feb 18th, 2017

/A selection of the 60 appended cards Harris placed in London art gallery and museum shops. No reproduction without permission//

//The Death Of Marat, Jacques-Louis David, 1793. No reproduction without permission//

//Charles I, Daniel Mytens, 1631. Card from National Portrait Gallery. No reproduction without permission//

Ian Harris is a man of many parts, having been at various stages in his life a successful graphic artist, fashion designer, homewares retailer and musician/performer, notably with late 60s blues-rock group The Earth and as his mod revival alter ego Terry Tonik.

Just this week Harris let me in on a curious, humorous and anonymous public intervention series he staged in London galleries and museums a few years back.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lives less ordinary: Jane England’s Turn And Face The Strange documents 70s cultural and social churn

Feb 14th, 2017

//British street style legend Paul Beecham in Battersea, south London, 1974//

//Jasper Havoc (Peter McMahon, 1953-1979), a member of the Sydney performance troupe Sylvia and the Synthetics, in Ladbroke Grove, west London, in 1977 and on the front of England’s book//

Jane England’s Turn And Face The Strange is a valuable addition to the documentation of the social and cultural churn occurring at the edges of society in the 1970s.

Read the rest of this entry »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,