John Allman Marcel Broodthaers Fran Burden Sandra Cross William English Hywel Wyn Jones Barry Kemp Denzil Forrester Oona Grimes Tony Grisoni Tony Hayward Christian Israel David Lamelas Karl Maibaum Ulla Maibaum Paddy Molloy Philip Parkinso
What happens when ‘THE SUBJECT OF WAR’ meets ‘THE SOVEREIGNTY OF ART’
In 2011 WAR seems ever present in one form or another. There is no time to catch your breath.
Unlike the Artists' Rifles (1882-1921), artists today take on this subject at a time of their choosing and not always in reaction to a specific conflict. Being neither journalists nor historians, they are free from troublesome responsibilities.
They like to twist and turn this subject in a very personal, individual way. This is certainly true of the 22 artists in this exhibition. They have various nationalities. They have taken on various wars. They use various mediums. One of my interests in putting together this exhibition is to see if anything unifies this varied production apart from my selection. Is perhaps an artist’s contribution in all this, that of helping unload a loaded subject?
The next time you visit the Royal Academy, before entering its doors look to your right and there you will see a plaque to the ARTISTS RIFLES ASSOCIATION. On their website you will see a reference to their badge which consists of two heads, one being Mars - God of War and the other Minerva – Goddess of Wisdom. I would like to finish with a quote from one of their songs:
Mars, he was the God of war, and didn't stop at trifles. Minerva was a bloody whore. So hence The Artists' Rifles.
— Gerry Smith 2011
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