Another month, another specially-curated selection of 30 artworks as part of our Fab 30 series. This year, Enter Gallery turns 30 years old, and to celebrate we’ve created this series to highlight pieces that have captured our hearts and imaginations over the years.
This month’s Fab 30 is curated by Gallery Director, Della.
A gallerina from the very start, Della has been running the gallery and sharing her artistic knowledge with our patrons for 15 of our 30 years. Speaking of what draws her to the art world, Della reveals:
“For me, art is all about interconnections – connecting art with your life, your reality, your imagination, what you want to live with and what you want to know. The most important thing in life is to stay curious – and that’s what I love about art – it inspires curiosity.”
We couldn’t agree more! In today’s blog, we’re running through a selection of pieces from Della’s Fab 30, to reveal the stories behind the artworks she loves…
Thinks I, To Myself, Ed Ruscha
Thinks I, To Myself is a piece by Ed Ruscha – an American artist and photographer who over the course of an impressive career spanning six decades, has explored the banality of modern life. Della explains why this piece made it into her Fab 30:
“For me, Ruscha is an equivalent to Peter Blake. He was part of the first American Pop Art exhibition in 1962 along with Lichtenstein and Warhol. While his trajectory isn’t as apparent in the UK as it is in The States, he is a highly-collectible artist, particularly amongst fashionistas like Stella McCartney.
“I always seek out Ruscha’s work. I love the simple sentiments of his pieces, like here – he could be referring to something life-changing, or something inconsequential. It works in both ways. It’s also red, which I love.”
Eden Roc, Slim Aarons
Slim Aarons was one of the twentieth century’s most prolific photographers of socialite and celebrity life, and Eden Roc is one of his most-loved pieces. Della has chosen the piece because it whisks her back to one of the best days of her life…
“I was in the South of France and we went to La Colombe d'Or in Saint-Paul de Vence, a restaurant where artists like Picasso and Matisse would eat and then pay their bills with art. The restaurant has the most incredible art collection. After lunch, we went to Eden Roc and blagged our way into the pool bar which you see in Slim’s photo. It was a beautiful day, the colour tones matched the image, and sat beside me was Iris Apfel – one of my icons, a true fashionista and the interior designer responsible for designing The White House while Jackie Kennedy was there."
Della after her drink at the Eden Roc pool.
Peter Blake – Elvis Visits Farley Farm
This next piece is a perfect example of Sir Peter Blake’s love of exploring popular culture in his art. While at first glance it may just look like Elvis is on a nice day out, in actual fact – as Della explains - the piece is a deep dive into Surrealist art history…
“I love Peter Blake. Always have. What I love about this specific piece is that at its essence is art history. Farley Farm is a Sussex Farmhouse where artist, poet and art agent Roland Penrose lived with his wife, American photographer – and another of my personal heroines – Lee Miller. Not only was Penrose Peter Blake’s first agent, but he also started the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) where I studied, and where Blake and Hockney had their first Pop Art exhibition.’
‘Miller [captured topless in the piece] was a model and muse to Surrealist artist, Man Ray, and was also one of the only female combat photographers in Europe during World War Two. She took some very intense photographs that Vogue published that the actual British papers during the war couldn’t because of propaganda. There was even a photo of her taken in Hitler’s bath.’
‘Elvis Visits Farley Farm also features Salvador Dali who thought he was the father of the surrealist movement – alongside Giorgio de Chirico, who actually was. Marcel Duchamp – one of the most respected members of the Surrealist circle - is in there too. And to top it all off, Elvis is there, which is always good.’
God Save the Queen, Gold on Blue – Jamie Reid
Described as, ‘the single most iconic image of the punk era,’ God Save the Queen by Jamie Reid transports Della back to when she first met her husband…
“I first met my husband in the early 80s and he’d spent a lot of time working with the Sex Pistols and hanging out with Jamie Reid. He’s a lighting designer, but at the time he was a gofer for the band, driving them around, sticking up the paste ups, doing the lighting – he did everything. It reminds me of those early days of our relationship.”
Intimate Relations II, 2021 – Michael Craig-Martin
Della’s next selection is this recent addition to Enter Gallery from Michael Craig-Martin – one of the UKs leading exponents of pop art.
With an instantly-recognisable aesthetic, characterised by flat forms and bright clashing colours, Craig-Martin has long been an Enter Gallery favourite, but what is it about him that specifically appeals to Della?
“Michael Craig-Martin has the most fabulous printing technique, and he has been a lecturer and mentor at Goldsmith’s for a long time, teaching YBAs like Damien Hirst, Gavin Turk and Tracey Emin. This piece reminds me of what interests me most about art - he represents the interconnections within the art business that I love.”
If you’d like to see these artworks for yourself, swing by the Enter Gallery on Bond Street in Brighton. Select pieces included in Della’s Fab 30 are marked with blue stickers.