Serpentine Gallery: charity begins at home

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The ever so charitable Serpentine, which gives the public indigestible quantities of what it can’t stomach, held an annual summer bash for all its rich mates, and, blow me down, guess who deigned to show up. He’s probably not been at the gallery since last year’s hooley, but he broke into a heavy work schedule abroad – very heavy don’t yer know –


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in order to attend. After someone had reminded him where his desk was and the 502 Bad Gateway location of his private lavatory since the new building work, he had his picture taken (above) with co-director Dorelia Lipstick-Cleavage and some dwarf Bolivian gatecrasher caught panhandling the stars for change. We’re referring, of course, to Hans-Uber Obrist, who gets paid more than the director of Tate Britain to do fuck all except write unreadable books and curate exhibitions for continental galleries. You can tell by his specs he thinks he’s clever but someone really ought to teach the Swiss slob to eat without splattering food all over his suit – Sir Les Patterson finds his gob more easily.

Typical, isn’t it, that the lazy bastard should finally turn up only to sup fizz in what, given the stick insects in attendance, must have looked like a very challengingly immersive conceptual art stunt about eating disorders. (They didn’t bother organising nibbles this time as last year cleaners were finding cocktail sausages behind the radiators for months afterwards.) And we have it on the best authority that the Obrist phaeton was waiting to rush him back to Heathrow for a red-eye special to Zurich, although he had trouble locating it among the cavalcade of other limos. What an exemplary giving enterprise the Serpentine has become.

All of the

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above is, you know well enough, grossly unfair as the gallery’s summer party is a well-known fundraiser … for charity. It raises funds to, well, to put on exhibitions by the world’s wealthiest artists and dealers who couldn’t possibly afford to pay for the exhibitions themselves. And when directors are awarded 50% pay increases in a recession you need to devise ingenious methods to raise funds. And how better to do this than by rattling cans in front of celebrities so desperate to have their photos taken they’d turn up to the opening of a manhole. So let’s hear it for the philanthropic ethos of the Serpentine.

See you next year Hans, if you’re not too busy.

David Lee