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Having looked around for books on the great man this one seems to be the best. While nothing matches seeing the stuff for real, first time at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1990 (?) knocked me out completely, this book gives some sense of Boltanski's work.
This book was commissioned by Iwona Blazwick who used to be a curator at London's ICA when me and my friend Guillaume * were ushers. Ushering was badly paid and boring but some people did think it was cool that we worked at tye ICA. In fact for a while I did have a stalker but that's another story - these ones are about Iwona.
There was a mixed group show that included Damien Hirst. It was all White Cube and Jay Jopling. The Hirst was a display case full of medicine. The medicines, as far as I remember were arranged according to which parts of the body they treated. (an aside: in my memory of this event Anya Gallacio was there as an ICA usher. I think I'm mistaken - I think she ushered later before becoming famous.)
Anyway, one morning all the ushers had to come in early to do a special tour of the show so that Iwona could tell us "what it's all about". She could hardly contain her excitement. Maybe she'd curated the show. By way of an introduction she talked about the Goldsmith's show that Hirst had organised by way of their final show. The show was in some "out of the way place" - probably east London. It was then that Iwona said "so they arranged the show and invited all the West End dealers, Saatchi and the like. Now normally these guys wouldn't travel further than Bond Street but for these kids they did!"
It was like contemporary art scripted by the people who used to write Fame, the dreadful TV spin-off of the dreadful film. I remember Leroy. A fine moment I'll take to the grave with me.
The second memory of Iwona is an ICA Christmas party. We'd all have a dinner upstairs and then go to the bar and continue getting completely hammered. Late in the evening Iwona was dancing with Sarah Kent, Time Out's art critic. Iwona would dance by swinging her arms up and down and sort of marching on the spot. Guillaume looked over and muttered in the thick french accent he never lost despite living in England for 15 years: "She dance like a german."
And those are my memories. Iwona has done a great job with this book so you should buy it!
* Guillaume hasn't written a book but needless to say as soon as he does we'll stock it.