Talk Art: a Cork Street special with Louisa Buck

In a new episode of Talk Art, the series presents a Cork Street special.

The podcast, from actor and art enthusiast Russell Tovey and gallerist Robert Diament, has enjoyed conversations with everyone from Laurie Anderson to Wayne McGregor, Glenn Ligon to Roni Horn, Rachel Whiteread to Gilbert & George and Wolfgang Tillmans to Torkwase Dyson.

For this edition, the duo sat down with art critic and contributing editor of The Art Newspaper, Louisa Buck.

Buck is both a friend of – and a lively authority on – Cork Street, taking listeners on a figurative excursion around this charismatic domain, which is recognised as the genesis of the global art world and as an incubator of both eminent artists and modern and contemporary art movements.

Buck supplies anecdotes galore, from The Mayor Gallery as “the first guys on the block,” arriving in 1925, to Salvador Dalí being saved from diving-bell suffocation by David Gascoyne. As well as Peggy Guggenheim retrieving ‘obscene’ Jean Cocteau works held by customs at Croydon airport – with Marcel Duchamp.

The 1980s was a time of great duality. While the Cork Street summer party was the event to attend, it was also an era of protest-performance, with the Grey Organisation throwing paint across gallery windows and The Neo Naturists tumbling naked over parked Rolls-Royce bonnets.

(In 2019, The Neo Naturists brilliantly returned to Cork Street for Studio Voltaire’s festive House of Voltaire pop-up, alluding to this shared history.)

“The surrealists would have thoroughly approved” of Gina Fischli’s savage nature installation Ravenous and Predatory, says Buck. The work, viewing through spring 2022, is first time ever that banners have graced the street.

There is the joy of “weird stuff” happening again, Buck continues, citing Electronic Hydra Prelude, Cork Street’s first AR exhibition curated by Daniel Birnbaum, featuring Julie Curtiss, Precious Okoyomon, Koo Jeong A and Tomás Saraceno (until 5 December 2021).

And, chiming with the street’s propensity for brave moments, audacious character and absolute idiosyncrasy, Frieze keep their only permanent exhibition space worldwide at No.9. Hosting galleries (and buzzworthy) artists globally, November sees exhibitions by Reykjavík’s i8 Gallery and Berlin-based Dittrich & Schlechtriem.

Listen to the episode below, explore the podcast and follow Talk Art.