Magnificent Obsessions

Had enough of me sounding off about all and sundry? Here’s Sarah Boiling, back from the Barbican and their current show, Magnificent Obsessions


Martin Wong / Danh Vo


This exhibition at the Barbican is perfect if you’re not an art expert.


Dr. Lakra

As alongside a reasonable amount of actual art there’s loads of ‘stuff’ (which is now, of course, art, by dint of being displayed in a gallery…)

The idea is – as the Barbican says – to provide insight into the inspirations, influences, motives and obsessions of artists – through showing their personal collections. These collections range from museum quality masks from Africa and Ancient Greece, through bizarre taxidermy specimens and thrift store paintings to album covers and cookie jars. There are well known names such as Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst and Howard Hodgkin, alongside lesser known artists – (Dr Lakra, Hanne Darboven and Arman, for example who were new to me). If they are artists you know, there’s a particular pleasure in recognising the connections between what they collect and their art work, but it’s equally enjoyable just to see this amazing range of ‘things’ all in one place.

My personal favourites were Martin Parr’s postcard collection and the annotated scores of the Steve Reich compositions Clapping Music and Drumming in Sol Le Witt’s collection (both amazing musical experiences if you ever get the chance to hear them live).


Martin Parr

The exhibition is thoroughly recommended, and on until 25 May.


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