What the Artist Saw: Art Inspired by the Life and Work of Joe Orton

Three contemporary artists, David Lock, Louise Plant and Tim Youd, have produced new works reflecting on Joe Orton as part of the UK's LGBT History Month.

at MOCA London

Joe Orton was one of the UK’s most significant authors of the 20th century, although perhaps few will know that he is also famed for his collage work. Those collages had him jailed, because he and his then partner Kenneth Halliwell (who eventually murdered him) were using the covers of library books for their material. They would make alterations to the covers usually of a ‘smutty’ nature that were often comical. However, the judge did not agree.

Three contemporary artists, David Lock, Louise Plant and Tim Youd, have produced new works reflecting on Orton as part of the UK’s LGBT History Month. MOCA will also be showing related material from the Orton Archive at the University of Leicester, alongside the first edition of Orton’s What the Butler Saw. The play premiered at the Queens Theatre in 1969 and Tim Youd will perform in the theatre for a week, typing out the full play on a single sheet of paper.

Tim Youd will complete his retyping performance at the opening of What the Artist Saw at MOCA London Sunday February 5—during the exhibition opening.

Youd is a Los Angeles based performance artist. He will type the text on a single page, which gets blacker and blacker, and the end result will be shown at MOCA as part of the exhibition.

David Lock is a painter whose works have been widely exhibited in museums and galleries across Europe. He will make a new piece seen through the lens of Patrick Procktor, a successful painter in London in the 1960’s whose own homosexuality was seen as daring at the time. Procktor made a nude portrait of Orton which is now in the National Portrait Gallery and illustrated the cover of Orton’s posthumous book Head to Toe.

Louise Plant is a sculptor who works in marble. For the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his death Plant is making the new piece the Rip Cord in powder coated steel as inspired by Joe Orton’s life. The blood red, jointed piece reflects his pains and tensions in his writings, his challenges to our attitudes and beliefs and his dark touching humour.

MOCA London

Opening Times
Preview: Sunday 5 February, 2-4pm

5 February - 4 March 2017
Thursday to Saturday, 12-6pm

MOCA London
Museum of Contemporary Art, 113 Bellenden Road,
SE15 4QY