Just Kids

Long after the critical chatter, recommendations from friends and a paperback edition, I finally read Patti Smith's biographical account of her complex relationship with Mapplethorpe. Boundless energy and the youthful struggle for creative expression are conveyed so well it's contagious. Effortlessly inspirational, it's funny how mature reflection makes reactionary counter-culture seem so fragile and pretty.



I can't believe my little tattooed nephew turns 21 this week. This year I'll urge him to forget the Key to Life and contemplate the void with my singularly downbeat cut-out card. Next stop 30, kid!


Raymond Peynet Persia illustration from L'Amour
• Raymond Peynet, Persia, 1955 (from L'Amour, Penguin Books, 1964)



I love that galleries are drifting back to the West End a decade-or-so after the exodus east. Curious to chart the progress of LA based artist, Ricky Swallow, I passed by the window of Modern Art the other evening where, surprisingly, the show was still open.

Drawing openly on themes from Lucie Rie to Lucio Fontana, these pieces mimic the vernacular of mid-C20 modernism. Here, however, the 'Truth to Materials' mantra is entirely up-ended; what appeared to be makeshift maquettes of corrugated card and paint-sprayed glazes are, on closer inspection, high-spec bronzes.

In a further classicist twist, the works are cast from archer's targets, literally shot-through with arrows. The objects and panels then affect a fragile museological aspect, as though reconstructed from antiquity. With interpretation in tangles, this was one reference too many for me. There's still a little time to decide for yourself though, this handsome show runs until the 19th.

Ricky Swallow
Modern Art
14 Jan - 19 Feb
Tue - Sat, 11:00 - 18:00
23/25 Eastcastle Street
London W1W 8DF

• Make-do Suite, bronze elements, oak table, 2010
• Make-do Suite (detail), bronze, 2010
• Plate 21 (triangle, iron), patinated bronze, 2010


In the Pink

This year we made a 'Valentine Edition' of our Lovebirds print in a deliberately dirty pink. The posy of Ranunculus in the picture put me in mind of Barney Bubbles consciously kitsch artwork for 1979's Do-it-Yourself. So I put it on. Apparently Stiff records released the LP with 30-or-so designs from the Crown Wallpaper Archive. A lurching Dickensian figure barking risqué lyrics over an impeccable Jazz-Funk soundtrack still sounds pretty odd today.

• Colin Fulcher (aka Barney Bubbles, 30/06/42 - 14/11/83) and Crown's X36434