Gilbert and George are doing a Hirst at the moment as their work is filling several White Cube venues in London and Hong Kong with 292 works from their newly unveiled “London” series. The works will appear as well in exhibitions as far afield as New York, Berlin, Paris, Athens, Naples and Salzburg. To extent that the global gallery show is becoming an art world convention, Gilbert and George are becoming conventional.
That’s the impression one gets from the recent run of press coverage. Here’s the Economist:
“We are disciplined and disturbed at the same time,” explains George. “It’s no good being just weird; there are plenty of weird people walking the street. And we don’t want to be normal because then we wouldn’t have anything to say.”
And the London Evening Standard makes the pair sound downright bourgeois:
Sexually libertarian, revolutionary even, they have always been politically conservative and are harsh judges of those who do not share their work ethic. They both dismiss the St Paul’s protesters as “hippies” and “idiots” and would rather side with the bankers than “some vegan twit on benefits”, they think Boris Johnson is “a wonderful modern person” and believe fiercely in “making money”.
“We make our art, we try to sell it. We are doing it day and night, we are here at 5am trying to do it every day for the last 40 years. That’s fantastic, no?” says Gilbert.
They claim in fact not to have much money, though that’s hard to believe. A piece from 1975 entitled Bad Thoughts #1 sold for more than £945,000 last year. “But it all goes back into art and books and catalogues,” protests Gilbert.
Nevertheless, four years ago they had a civil partnership ceremony at Bow register office in order to protect their assets. “We don’t want a pretend straight marriage,” says George, “but if one of us fell under a bus it would be a disaster.”
London, Darling (Economist)
‘We’d rather side with the bankers than some vegan protester twit on benefits’, say Gilbert and George (ThisIsLondon/London Evening Standard)