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Something's Wrong
at the Tannery

Bob Smith singingImage 1
Context
Something's Wrong was at the Tannery,
49 Bermonsey Rd
in 1994.

Image 1:
Bob and Roberta Smith
"singing" with the Ken Ardley Playboys at Nose Paint,
in front of a sign saying
"T sad bastard hoo masdibyts in t ovarnite stday bed".

The press release makes it clear that the artists are working in a ropy space under adverse conditions, you are invited to contribute to a fill in the gaps review; "I advise the public to........................." etc. The reviews are nailed to the flaking walls of the Tannery.

The pieces from different artists intermingle Victor Mount's shrine to slightly tarnished cultural heroes flashes lights and blares out banal tunes which bleed into the sound a recording of the rock band Codeine playing on the floor above. Jessica Voorsanger has collated 3 months worth of the bands fan letters. All over the place are these free standing wooden structures by Bob and Roberta Smith, each covered with misspelled texts taken from a variety of sources; pornography, art history, the things that might be said in institutions. The whole thing is kind of mashed together and is reminiscent of a forlorn end of the pier curio museum.

So it's all a bit of a joke.
Or is it ,Vic?
It's desperately and enthusiastically dumb and it seems to me to be right on the money.

Something's Wrong is the latest in a distinguished line of daft ideas. For instance who would want to show in a regimental armoury? Those Dada shows were a complete mish-mash; the stuff was piled all over the place and that Hugo Ball was a complete nutter. Worhol's factory events weren't too concerned with making any serious concessions to the white walled gallery either. Something's wrong is also playing with the convention of the artists run shows which are a constant feature in London and the show also has fun with the possibility there is life after the Warehouse.

One might imagine the work currently existing in this damp, draughty anti-chamber is awaiting validation by being transported into the more pristine environment of the gallery. Because good shows grow with time and gather significance around them. Freeze for example is an oft talked about exhibition, but it's interesting to remember that it was reviewed twice (once in the guardian and a year later in Art and Design magazine).

Non gallery shows sometimes conform to a rule of inverse perspective - they get bigger the further away you get from them. Sometimes whole galleries disappear (like Nick Wegner's The Gallery which was set up in the 70's) and then reappear when somebody writes about them (See Depart from Zero :N. Wegner). So you never know, Something's Wrong might end up a bit like the first sex pistols gig which everybody of a certain age claims to have seen. If you didn't see this show - you missed it. But never mind you can always check out Tight which is also in the Tannery in July.

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