It’s the last days of Richard Grayson’s show at Yuill/Crowley on until November 6. The hubbub in the press has been about the 2 channel video piece called Messiah which is a Country and Western reworking of Handel’s Messiah and it’s funny enough. Using his artist/musician mates to rework and rewrite the lyrics, Grayson has taken a musical readymade and inserted his own sense of humour into the piece as a good natured act of artistic vandalism.
But for us the real the real treat was the work Intelligence which again, like most of the artist’s work we’ve seen, is about using a preexisting text, or a system for generating text, as a way to create a commentary on that process and that creation. Grayson makes maps, recites facts, and creates bogus diagrams. It’s an approach that is old school conceptualism at its best. Completely unadorned, his work reminds us of the aesthetically stringent but playful works of the 1970s and we half expect to walk into a Grayson show and find a filing cabinet full of documents with the words “Here, you do the work” plastered on a wall. Grayson is a bit more accommodating but anyone not prepared to do some reading at his show will be disappointed.
Intelligence is a series of astrological star charts for well known politicians generated using various horoscope websites . The extraordinary aspect of this work is how close the star charts are to the public personas of the people Grayson chose to profile. For example, Dick Cheney’s chart declares “You may have trouble with any ideas that are new and different”; Osama Bin Laden, “You may find yourself involved in causes that go against tradition, revolutions of one kind or another.”; Saddam Hussein, “”You are unconventional, independent and drawn to whatever is different and original in life.” The only confusing star chart was Condoleeza Rice – “You have a love of physical pleasure. You are passionate and have an aura of secrecy.”