Thursday 8 December 2011

Possibly The Last Jack Nicholson Fan Photograph You'll Ever See

I was just listening to BBC World Service Outlook programme about a celebrity fanatics life of photographing himself with celebrities. I was about to change the 'channel' when  Richard Simpkins mentioned that Michael Hutchence was the most charismatic person he'd met over the decades. 

The official story of Hutchence' premature death has never sat comfortably with me and I thought it was an interesting comment Simpkin made so I hung in there. He then talked about the first time he met Jack Nicholson who declined his request for a fan photograph as he no longer does them and especially so as he'd mislaid his sunglasses on the golf course. Nine years later Richard Simpkin found himself at the rear of a Hollywood restaurant while Jack smoked a customary after-meal cigar . He reminded him about the first time they met in Sydney. Jack recalled losing his sunglasses and no doubt impressed by Richard's tenacity promised to do a photo with him at the front of the restaurant later. It's a quirky story and an anomaly in so much as I avoid celebrity topics. However the idea of Richard doing a 'Celebrity Fan Photographic Exhibition' is a brilliant example of 'But is it art?'.

In my view the world of art is so far up its backside it has neglected to address real issues in a way that is compelling, memorable and intelligent. The Independent recently asked us if contemporary art has 'Jumped The Shark' and the answer isn't hard to determine although I've always had a sneaky respect for Damien Hirst taking the piss out of the art world and charging as much as he could get away with.

Most of the art still housed in the National Gallery was commissioned by the 1% and so it's hard not to ask if the art world has changed that much? Hogarth was an exception but by and large I've never seen a more self obsessed bunch than contemporary artists who seem to have missed out on the point that great art taps into the times and articulates the unspeakable.

I tweeted as much earlier and there was a response to check out that I think is worth a mention. It's also worth mentioning that Richard Simpkin's body and style changes while snapping celebs from boyhood to man are oddly fascinating in their own way. You can see his photography exhibition in Liverpool. 

Maybe art is so up its own arse that anthropology is more interesting these days.