The Easel

24th May 2022

Breyer P-Orridge

A New York show highlights the body modification art of Breyer P-Orridge. Two artists who shared an enthusiasm for pandrogyny (total equality, oneness), their art was to merge their distinct selves into a single presence. Matching plastic surgery was frequent, reflecting a view that bodies are but “cheap suitcases”, destined to become obsolete. Breyer P-Orridge’s view was that “difference is the core problem”. A startled reviewer responds, “the self is … where the potential of intimacy lies.”

17th May 2022

Swirls of flesh: Dorothea Tanning at Kasmin Gallery

A recent biography of Tanning claimed that she occupies “a singular position in the history of modern art”. Some reviews of her current show in New York are similarly enthusiastic. But not all. The linked piece suggests that her early Surrealist works overstate her whole of career achievement. “On the whole, her efforts amount to overtures more than full symphonies”. And what’s the problem with that? “Great becomes meaningless when nothing can be merely good.”