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Art Editorial

cullen19.jpg Britain-hating anarchist returns

Britain-hating anarchist? That’s Tory MP Johnny Mercer’s view of Darren Cullen, anyway. Make your own mind up by checking out a retrospective show of his work which is coming to the Cluny.

Over the last fifteen years, satirical artist Darren Cullen has outraged the people of Glasgow with an enormous billboard bearing the legend: ‘SANTA GIVES MORE TO RICH KIDS THAN POOR KIDS’; attracted the attention of Shell’s lawyers after bastardising their logo for his own (green activist-funding) ‘Hell’ brand of t-shirts; produced a realisitically horrible ‘fun/fear-sized’ miniature version of the Daily Mail; and opened a high street money lenders which offered children high-interest loans. He initially studied advertising but switched to fine art after he had something of an epiphany early on in his course, realising that he was studying to become part of a machine that he didn’t like at all. (As he noted a few years later in an artwork: “Advertising takes a mother’s love for her child and uses it to sell bleach.”) His Newcastle show is being curated by JaZZ RiOT’s rhyming gobshite-in-chief Ettrick Scott, a longstanding admirer of Cullen’s provocative and often hilarious work: “Darren’s my favourite living artist, and I can see strong parallels between what he does with paint and what we’re trying to do in JaZZ RiOT. To quote Oscar Wilde, ‘If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you…’.”

""Artist"": Darren Cullen, April 5-27 May, The Cluny & Cluny 2, Ouseburn, Newcastle. thecluny.com