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Billy Childish does it all, and now he’s showing art.
It's not easy being a Renaissance Man, and facing the ingrained hostility towards those who have the temerity to excel in more than one field. All the more so if, like Billy Childish, you're known as a hard-working beat-combo frontman. As a member of Thee Headcoats, among others, Childish has recorded upwards of 70 albums of raw, punky R&B, and could count Kurt Cobain and Beck among his fans. He's the author of novels and several books of poetry. All the more upsetting to a world which thrives on specialisation, he's kept up a prodigious output of paintings: as spontaneously raw as his music, often painted on wood and frequently intense.
'People have a low opinion of amateurs, but they don't realise it's a preferable position.’ he says. 'When there's a career involved, you've placed quite a few
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Points of View: Billy Childish's View From The Other Side
limitations on things. I don't want to be in the position of needing to do any of it. I don’t distinguish at all between my life and what I do. I really do need to do it, but I don't want to be beholden to anyone on it. I’m working on a couple of novels right now, but I haven't got anyone telling me what to do and I don't have to finish them if I don't want to. Likewise with the painting and likewise with the records.’
Despite his influence on artist and ex-girlfriend Tracey Emin - Childish's name appears on her famous 'people I have shared a bed with' tent - he has little time for the conceptual Brit Art currently in the ascendant.
‘All I mean is, everything's got a concept behind it.’ he argues. 'If you had an idea and thought, "I'm going to paint the picture of that instead of putting an installation in a gallery", the chances are you’re going to do some useless piece of work. That'll do you a lot more good than everyone thinking you’re clever, because you will be prepared to experience the thing and transmute the idea.’ (Alastair Mabbott)
a For details, see Hit list, right.
In Present Tense, tablets of soap made by Palestinians north of Jerusalem (Hatoum is a Lebanese-born Palestinian) are arranged on the gallery
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Public pubes: llatoum's Jardln Public
Like all good seduction ploys, there is an element of teasing in the work of Mona Hatoum. Tease done, she throws you off-balance with a sharp retort. An innocuous chair reveals a triangular tuft of the artist's own pubic hair and what looks like a soft-pile rug is in fact hundreds of pins. In Hatoum's world, you never know when you are going to be caught out.
Current Disturbance is full-on seduction pulling in its wake pure menace. Brilliantly taut, 240 wire cages each contain a light bulb. They glow off and on, the waves of electricity amplified to a sizzling crackle. The mind is nudged to think torture, incarceration, battery farming, high- rise urban living hell - you name it.
floor. Draw near and you get a fragrant soapy whiff, draw a little closer and you see the Occupied Territories marked in red.
Elsewhere Hatoum gives you flesh and guts: the seemingly endless interior of her own body. The nose with a forestation of hairs; the saliva dripping epiglottis and a yellowy passage violently pulsating. Hatoum swallowed a camera to reveal these internal workings and, squirm as you might as another orifice is entered, it makes for obsessional viewing. The art of seduction all right.
a Mona Hatoum, National Gallery Of Modern Art until Fri 23 Oct, Mon-Sat 70am—5pm, Sun 11am—5pm, £2.50
Carl Andre The king of minimalism and master bricklayer gets to grips with blocks of red Dumfriesshire sandstone. While in the Botanic’s 'space in the rockery,’ the Caledonian Hall, Melissa Kretschmer has created a reflective construction of tar and glass. Royal Botanic Garden, 248 2943, until Sun 4 Oct, daily lOam—Spm.
Nature Morte Household appliances get customised and turned into household angels and half humanoid forms in David Price’s humorous but telling tickle of the museum collection. The Bongo Club (Venue 143) 558 7604, until Sun 30 Aug.
Stanislav Kolibal lnterrogating construction and deconstruction is Czech artist, Kolibal, now getting greater coverage in the West thanks to the drawing back of the Iron Curtain. Stanis/av Kolibal, Edinburgh College Of Art (Venue 73) 221 6032, until 30 Aug, daily 70am—5pm.
Dockers See review. Liverpool's strikers caught on camera.
Dockers, Theatre Workshop, 226 5425, until Mon 37 Aug, daily 9.30am-9.30pm.
Billy Chlldlsh See preview, left. The man of many talents shows his paintings. St Mary's School, Demarco European Art Foundation (Venue 22) 557 0707, until Sun 30 Aug, daily 70.30am-6pm.
Mona Hatoum See review, left. She swallowed a camera to film her slimy, labyrinthine insides. She collects strands of her own hair to make necklaces. Hatoum's work entices and horrifies, reviles and intrigues and is a must. Mona Hatoum, National Gallery Of Modern Art (Venue 66) 624 6200, until 25 Oct, Mon-Sat loam-5pm, Sun 2-5pm. £2.50 (£7.50).
Rlchard Prince Has the bad boy grown up? The US artist whose shock tactics more than tickle the American dream shows new work. Stills Gallery (Venue 94) 622 6200, until 26 Sep, Tue-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun-Mon noon-5pm.