Bored Couples

Bored Couples is Martin Parr‘s humorous study of bored couples around Europe, including Spain, Finland, and the UK, during the 80s and 90s.

“This series of photographs were taken as an opportunity to explore the veracity of the caption.
We do not know if these random couples are bored or not. Who is to say what is authentic when captioned as thus?” Magnum Photos

FINLAND. On board a ferry from Helsinki to Stockholm. From 'Bored Couples'. 1991.

SPAIN. Majorca. Bored Couples. 1993.

martin_parr_bored_couples_05 martin_parr_bored_couples_01 bored-couples Martin Parr martinparr_11 Bored Couples MartinParrBoredCouples

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A Curve Like the Curve of a Buttock

More from How to Be Both by Ali Smith, because it’s full of wonderful things:

“I feel the loss, dull the ache of it cause I had it, the place where his legs met his body, the muscular dark where his tunic flared up in the breeze as he went, I had it like telling the oldest story in the world cause there’s a very pure pleasure in a curve like the curve of a buttock : the only other thing as good to draw is the curve of a horse and like a horse a curved line is a warm thing, good-natured, will serve you well if not mistreated.”

Grete Stern – Dream Nº 16, ca. 1950

Dream Nº 16. Grete Stern. ca. 1950

Photograph showing unidentified male nudes on the beach Photographer Unknown null An initial donation of the papers of Tuke and Gotch was made to the Tate Archive by Mr Brian D. Price in 1990. Additional donations of related material were made in 1991, 1994 and 2002. http://www.tate.org.uk/art/archive/TGA-9019-1-4-5-9-1

Photograph showing unidentified male nudes on the beach. Photographer Unknown. Date Unknown.

Ana Regina Nogueira from series Olhos n'agua

Ana Regina Nogueira from series Olhos n’agua

Martin Parr Lifes a Beach

Life’s a Beach. Martin Parr


Life’s a Beach

Martin Parr has been photographing beach life over many decades, documenting all aspects of this tradition including close ups of sun bathers, swimming dips and picnics in the UK as well as in countries as far apart as China, Argentina and Thailand. This [collection] demonstrates Parr’s engagement with a cherished subject matter, where all absurdities and quirky National behaviours seamlessly fuse together. Text from Magnum Photos
MartinParrLifesABeachmartin-parr-couple-showering-copacabana-beach-2007Martin Parr RioMartin Parr Lifes a BeachITALY. Riva del Garda. 1999. Contact email: New York : photography@magnumphotos.com Paris : magnum@magnumphotos.fr London : magnum@magnumphotos.co.uk Tokyo : tokyo@magnumphotos.co.jp Contact phones: New York : +1 212 929 6000 Paris: + 33 1 53 42 50 00 London: + 44 20 7490 1771 Tokyo: + 81 3 3219 0771 Image URL: http://www.magnumphotos.com/Archive/C.aspx?VP3=ViewBox_VPage&IID=2S5RYD12ILER&CT=Image&IT=ZoomImage01_VForm

ITALY. Lake Garda. 1999.

JAPAN. Miyazaki. Miyazaki Ocean Dome. 1996.


Beating the Bounds

In this day and age it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish a work of art from an ordinary object. In the second installment of his 2013 Reith Lectures, Playing to the Gallery, artist Grayson Perry talks about the tricky boundaries of art and how we can attempt to gauge whether or not something qualifies as art. To answer this question Perry has devised a series of tests which can be applied when looking at the questionable object. Read the list below (it might also be a good idea to print it out and carry it in your wallet — you never know when it might come in handy).

Reith Lectures Playing to the Gallery

Are you looking at a work of art or some old rubbish?

  1. Is it in a gallery or art context? For example Duchamp’s urinal was understood to be a work of art because it was on a plinth in a gallery. Keith Tyson used his power as an artist to convert all the objects and fixtures in the gallery into works of art: the light switch became “the apocalyptic switch” and the light bulb became “light bulb of awareness”
  2. Is it a boring version of something else? Leo Tolstoy said, “In order correctly to define art, it is necessary first of all to cease to consider it as a means of  pleasure and to consider it as one of the conditions of human life.”
  3. Was it made by an artist? Art historian Ernst Gombrich said, “There is no such thing as art, only artists.” So you have to be an artist to make art.
  4. Photography- problematic. We live in an age where photography rains on us like sewage from above. So how do you know if a photo is art?  (1) If they’re smiling, it’s probably not art. (2) if it’s bigger than two metres and it’s priced higher than five figures. — Martin Parr
  5. Is it a limited edition? If something is endless, it’s giving away part of its qualification as art.
  6. The Handbag and Hipster Test – Often you can tell by the people who are looking at it, after all art belongs mostly to the privileged and educated. So, are there lots of people with beards and glasses and women with big handbags looking a bit perturbed and puzzled by what they’re staring at? Then there’s a good chance that it’s art.
  7. Theme Park plus Sudoku – Is there a queue? “People nowadays, they love queuing for art, especially participatory art – you know the sort of art that kids can crawl around […] People want an outrageous and exciting experience from art and then they want to slightly puzzle over what it’s about.”
  8. The Rubbish Dump Test-  It was one of Perry’s tutors at college who introduced him to this test saying that If you want to test a work of art, throw it onto a rubbish dump. And if people walking by notice that it’s there and say  ‘Oh what’s that artwork doing on that rubbish dump’, it’s passed. But of course many good artworks would fail that because the rubbish dump itself might be the artwork.
  9. The Computer Art Test – Professor Charlie Gere said, “You know it might be art rather than just an interesting website when it has the grip of porn without the possibility of consummation or a happy ending.”

Perry explains that his tests are not watertight, however if you apply them all and visualize them in a Venn diagram, “the bit in the middle is pretty well guaranteed to be contemporary art.”

Click to listen to Grayson Perry’s complete lecture, Beating the Bounds

Click to read about part 1 of the series: Democracy Has Bad Taste

Grayson perry reith lectures b copy

The illustrations are exclusive drawings for the 2013 Reith Lectures made by Grayson Perry