I am obsessed with the crossover points of things I love. So, I rushed to visit this exhibition, which explored the links between art and music.
Of course, Peter Blake is an obvious entry point for this – he is a proper music fan, as well as having been the designer of some very famous album covers in his time (Sergeant Pepper’s, anyone?). As such, this exhibition featured a working jukebox nestled in among the artworks.
As well as his most famous works – aforementioned Sgt. Pepper’s, the Live Aid poster, covers for Paul Weller and Oasis – there was a lot that I was less familiar and pleasantly surprised by. I loved his portrait of John Peel; the ‘sparkly’ paintings of Elvis and Chuck Berry (my gallery-going companion Cathy and I agreed that of everything there, we would most like to own one of the sparkly pictures); some of the lesser-known collages. Of the ‘sparkly’ pictures (I don’t know if there’s a more technical term I could call them!), there was one in particular of Ian Curtis that I found mesmerising and could not tear myself away from – although in the notes, Blake made a point of saying that he was not a fan of Joy Division. I think what I liked best about the exhibition as a whole was that I was left with the sense of Blake as avid fan, collector and celebrator – just like us, really. But extra cool.
To complement the art/music theme, there was also a section of works by Derek Boshier, associated with the Clash and David Bowie. I’ve never been massively into the Clash but love Bowie, so I was quite excited about this. Maybe it was because it came after all the Blake brilliance, but I was left fairly unimpressed (although there was a portrait of Bowie as the Elephant Man that I liked).
Finally, there was a room of paintings by pop stars. Predictably, this was a very mixed batch, and as such was particularly interesting. From Ian Dury (who was taught by Blake, and whose paintings I thought were great), through to Alison Goldfrapp (classic art-school stylings that I love), and Pete Doherty, who I personally find embarrassingly ‘Sixth Form’ in everything he does, whatever the medium.