The Kenneth E Tyler Print Gift, Tate Modern
There are two images in fashion photographercum-contemporary artist Juergen Teller's show of new work, The Master, that sum up much about the convergence between fashion, celebrity, photography and art that began in the Sixties and is now reaching a climax. Both are staged scenes shot in an edgy, throwaway style.
Fashion Wank features a man in a black overcoat, head hidden in an upturned Louis Vuitton bag, having a large, protruding paper penis licked by a kneeling fashion model. Self-portrait with Charlotte Rampling, Louis XV, Paris Series, has the actress resting her head against Teller's naked thigh, while a bowl of caviar sits on his stomach, threatening to spill its contents over his limp hand and genitalia.
The first, an unconvincing attempt satirically to bite the hand that feeds (fashion), is upstaged by the second, which shows a willingness to find a new feeding hand (celebrity) at the expense of qualities one would hope to find either in photography or art. In such unbalanced mixtures it is typically the strongest, crudest elements that come to the fore.
At Tate Modern, meanwhile, a new display celebrates the recent gift of some 450 prints to the Tate's collection, by the US printer Kenneth E Tyler, on the occasion of his retirement. Forty works are on show here, 40 in Tate Liverpool. During his long career Tyler has worked with many famous US and British artists, among them David Hockney, Robert Motherwell, Frank Stella, James Rosenquist and Malcolm Morley. The gift is a significant one.
Most immediately impressive are the large, brash works by US pop artist James Rosenquist from his series Welcome to the Water Planet, about the ecological impact of modern society. The unusually vast prints, made with handmade paper from coloured paper pulp, are a technical feat, and visually rival the artists' originals, something few prints do.
Full of dissonance, they are a collage of images of human artefacts against the abstract vastness of nature. Also notable is Tyler's success at printing painterly, expressionist images, such as Malcolm Morley's rendering of a goat and Joan Mitchell's colourful abstract scribbles, and retaining something of the energy of the original mark-making.