The greatest Modernist poet in the English language is without question T.S. [Tom] Eliot. In 2009, somewhat unexpectedly for a nation of culturephobes, Eliot was also named Britain’s Favourite Poet in an online poll hosted by the BBC for National Poetry Day.
Eliot was a Lloyds Bank man, he was a Faber and Faber man. Eliot was an American in London, a friend of the Bloomsbury set, a cautious admirer of James Joyce, he was an Anglo-Catholic.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (1915) is perhaps the first Modernist poem. Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939) is, well… it’s a book of poems about cats written for children. It’s Eliot’s best selling work. The musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber (with Eliot’s text) was, in 2006, the longest running musical in the history of Broadway.
Strange isn’t it? Insidious?
CATS is an exhibition of works by Jack Goldstein (1945-2003) and Jack Bodimeade (b.1992). Goldstein’s lion roars endlessly from within the rosette logo of golden era Hollywood studio, MGM. Occasionally suggesting its intrinsic wild nature, this beast more often reverts to a circus-like version of its type. More strangely still, every now and then it seems to be a bit bashful, anthropomorphised and pathetic. Contained, mannered, and about to disappear as the picture begins.
Jack Bodimeade’s big cat is related to the poster print tiger that graced innumerable suburban bedrooms; the deadly carnivore silently entering the jungle river. But it isn’t that cat. Bodimeade’s animal is drawn on one of many recent trips to London Zoo. Embedded within an abandoned computer monitor, pimped to animate its frame, this tiger is connected into the power socket and then into the national grid.
Like Eliot says at the conclusion of Old Possum's… A CAT IS NOT A DOG
Jack Goldstein (September 27, 1945 – March 14, 2003) graduated in 1972 with an MFA from California Institute of the Arts, and previously studied at the Chouinard Art Institute (1969). He has had solo shows at The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2002), MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2009), Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK (2011), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), LA (2012). His work is also included in a number of public and private collections across the United States.
Jack Bodimeade was born in Oxford in 1992, and now lives and works in London. His art practice incorporates painting, video, installation, technology and text. Recent exhibitions include: Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA, London & Blue Coat, Liverpool (2016); Dark of the Moon, The Benevolent Association of Excellent Solutions, London (2016); In this soup we swim, Kingsgate Project Space, London (2016) and A Face Like Yours, APT Gallery, London (2016). Jack graduated with a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths University in 2015. Whilst a student, along with a group of other artists, Jack helped create and facilitate DIG – a non-profit arts initiative based in Lewisham. In 2015, he also co-formed and ran The Benevolent Association of Excellent Solutions (BAES) – a dedicated project/gallery space, and studio for six artists.
Courtesy of FRAC (Fonds régionaux d’art contemporain, France) and the Estate of Jack Goldstein.