Thursday, 15 January 2015

Dangerous Women

There are countless women who have been brave, and challenged their role in a male dominated society, Emily Pankhurst, Marie Curie, Mary Wollstonecraft, and of course Malala Yousafzai to name just a small fraction. There are also women who have challenged their role in the art world.

One of the gifts given to me on my birthday was the book 'Playing to the Gallery', by Grayson Perry. Although not a woman, he is a transvestite, who found entering the realms of the RA as a potter, and dressed as a woman very difficult. He did however, and has a fascinating story to tell in this book, along with his views and opinions about art itself, and encourages would be artists not to be put off by the so called art mafia. It was while reading that I remembered an interesting moment in the Russell Coates on my last visit, the one mentioned a post or so ago.

The museum has the occasional exhibition of radical work, and at the moment there is one entitled 'Dangerous Women', that features women artists through the ages that have challenged the very male orientated art world.

The 'work' of Tracey Emin is not something that I find remotely absorbing. In fact it makes me question her motives for creating such pieces as she occasionally does. But before I go off on an Emin/Hurst rant, I will re-focus.

As we both entered the room below, and glanced across at the Emin bedspread display, my attention was drawn to a woman stood at the movie being played on the TV that you can see. The movie itself featured a tranvestite artist prancing around on a beach in a lime green dress, and that was his particular art form. But my attention was caught by the woman. I would guess in her late twenties, a big floppy woollen wide brimmed hat hanging down to hide most of her face, long baggy clothes and a big and heavy baggy coat that reached to the floor, the hem of which was filthy, and all rounded off with bare and very dirty feet. She was staring intently at the screen and manically scribbling something down on a piece of paper. At the same time she was giving out spontaneous bursts of squeaky laughter and giggles. I felt very uncomfortable for some reason, and concluded that she was a piece of 'performance' art in the exhibition, a 'Dangerous Woman'.

For half an hour she didn't move from her spot, and got stares from those around her. It was at the moment that I was at the other side of the room, half looking at a painting by Angelica Kaufmann, that I saw her walking towards me. It's odd, but I was scared stiff in case I became included in her 'display' in some way. But she stood next to me and admired the same painting for a few moments, before taking a seat in the middle of the room. She returned to her position at the TV, and continued to laugh out loud and scribble, before dropping her work on the 'Emin' bed and walking away. I did wonder at this point if she was in fact part of the bed display.

Of course I had to go over and investigate. The sign at the 'Emin' bed, which by the way was roped off from the public, warned the public NOT to touch any of the exhibit. But nobody was about, and so quite wrongly I reached over and quickly grabbed the five inch square postcard that she had been so earnestly writing on. Nothing but crazy and manic meaningless words on it, scribbled hard and angrily! And the lady had also vanished. 

As it turns out she was a visitor, high as a kite on something, and not an exhibit after all. 'A Dangerous Woman'? Well, she had me scared. I concluded that maybe she herself was art, but just hadn't realised it yet.


  1. I also find it difficult wearing women's clothes. I really don't know how they manage.
    Many years ago I used to watch interactive theatre. Great fun knowing an actor was going to try and make me look a Muppet. Sometimes they do and others they don't and then the cast get to recognise me and keep well away. That's when I realised it was bullying so I stopped going.

    1. Haha, Adrian, I dread to think just what a nomad on his own in a campervan gets up to. I too hate the idea of audience participation at any event, and you are right, maybe it is bullying.

  2. We're all characters in the play of life. Sounds like she was stealing the scene that day. Hopefully, her story is not a tragic one.

  3. Good morning Sherlock,
    Unfortunately, Bournemouth has a rather large resident drug, drunk and homeless population. I used to work closely with all three, and some had tragic tales to tell. She appeared happy enough, in a mad and manic kind of way.