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The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

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APRIL 2020 Issue
In Memoriam A Tribute to Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

James Birch

Genesis and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, New York, 2004. © Carl Abrahamsson.
Genesis and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, New York, 2004. © Carl Abrahamsson.

I first came across Genesis at the B2 Gallery in Wapping, London in the early '80s when I lent a garish 1951 Festival of Britain lectern, which was placed upon a baby’s coffin for the correct sadist Terence Sellers to read her newly published book from.

Years later, when Gen was keen to get back into art and exhibiting I gave he/r and Lady Jaye an exhibition at my gallery A22, in Clerkenwell, London, with old and new work including the BREYER P-ORRIDGE collaboration.

They would come to London and stay at their favorite hotel, the Columbia in Bayswater.

They were here for most of the exhibition which was unbelievably busy; the gallery was full every day, and fans had the even greater pleasure to see them both.

In the evenings we would go to the Colony Room and the Groucho Club where we’d often encounter social commentator Peter York, who became a big fan, and then on to Gerry’s where Genesis would have he/r favorite sausage and mash.

Even though that exhibition was not a financial success, it put he/r on the map and led on to them showing the next year in Berlin at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien. After their exhibition we went to the eerily quiet Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where Gen picked some wildflowers.

Following this, they were in exhibitions in the Barbican Centre and the Courtauld Institute at Somerset House. And following that their archive was sold to the Tate Gallery which included the four Tampax pieces, which were in the original COUM show at the Insitute of Contemporary Arts in 1976.

Thereafter I would see Gen whenever s/he came to London, whilst he/r mother was alive. The last time I saw Gen was before he/r book launch at Rough Trade East where s/he was interviewed by Barry Miles.

Love is the Law.

Contributor

James Birch

James Birch is an English art dealer, curator, and gallery owner. He is best known for his innovative championing of British art, in particular for exhibiting Francis Bacon in Moscow, in the then USSR, in 1988, and Gilbert & George in Moscow in 1990, and in Beijing and Shanghai in 1993.

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The Brooklyn Rail

APRIL 2020

All Issues