25th June, Artcritiqued
Michael Schultz in the Goldsmiths BA Art Practice exhibition has similarly referenced Prince, at the opening at least, by having an attractive model wearing a black cat suit to draw attention to his giant pink Hair Dryer (2011) sculpture, to create desire for the work and demonstrate the scale and femininity of it in terms of colour and usage. From a tool for drying hair, as the model may use, this sculpture incorporates a fan that blows towards her as might be used in a photo shoot to create flowing hair or fabric. The sculpture itself is finished to such a high standard that one could mistake it for being a commercial product coming from a modern day equivilent of Brobdingnag in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. The plug in particular appears to reference works by Claes Oldenburg, such as Giant 3-Way Plug Scale 2/3 (1970), on exhibit at Tate Modern, and whereas this Oldenburg piece is an American fitting, Schultz’s is made in the form of the British design, giving the work some sense of identity. However, since the wall the work is plugged into in the exhibition is temporary and freestanding it does seem slightly a shame that you can’t see the electrical pins protruding on the other side, though you wouldn’t normally see these, and if a giant was to try and use it they’d find the stylised cord rather short, like trying to dry your hair with a hand dryer and perhaps indicating an interest in the failure of design, particularly if this was directly scaled up from a found object.
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What's Going On
by Justin Hammond, Art Catlin Blog
Over at the Goldsmiths BA show, Michael Schultz's 'Hair Dryer' was dead easy to find. Partly because everyone seemed to be talking about it and partly because...well, you couldn't really miss it. Michael's installation certainly goes against the current trend for downsizing (magnifying glasses are everywhere this year). It's big, bold, shiny and unashamedly Pop. Personally, I loved it; I loved that it was sparking debate and dividing opinion. Directly to the right of this huge pink hair dryer, the artist positioned his own choreographed object; provocatively dressed in the shiniest of outfits, perched on the shiniest of stools and undoubtedly the main point of contention. Like an Allen Jones sculpture come to life. Maybe she was there to invigilate? That would be pretty cool - the world's first S&M invigilator. Look but don't touch.
If rumours are to be believed, then Charles Saatchi was similarly charmed and 'Hair Dryer' is the latest addition to his vast collection. Yeah, it screams of Saatchi, but the point is that it screams; it demands to be noticed and surely this should rank as a priority? Of course I'm not suggesting that the only way to grab a collector's attention is to build a huge, pink fibreglass hair dryer (either with or without accompanying dominatrix) and I'm not saying that an artist should treat his or her degree show as a competition, but after 3 years of study you'd think/hope that new grads would grasp the gravitas of the situation and devise the most seductive means of presenting their work. It's a shop window; a fleeting opportunity with the capacity to shape a career, and for genuine talent to go undetected - ensconced amid such a magnitude of art - would be a criminal shame.