faces to watch in the art world 7. Sarah Staton
Sarah Staton once, infamously, scattered smashed bottles over The Serpentine's lawn in the shape of a Union Jack. Now the artist and one time gallerist is selling souvenirs to men in suits
Tuesday 08 August 1995
Sarah Staton has re-written the rule book on how to survive. Leaving St Martin's in the late 1980s with nowhere to show, she opened up her Bloomsbury squat as a gallery, and named it Milch. It became the best alternative space of the early 1990s, but Staton moved on, to decorate the lawn of the Serpentine Gallery with a Union flag of smashed bottles, and to plant a group of resin plants, the Viral Buds, in a Devon country park, for a show called Ha-Ha.
Her most successful project to date has been the Sarah Staton Supastore, a peripatetic shop selling works by up-and-coming contemporaries, unknowns and established artists such as Sol LeWitt, Mile Kelley and Steve Willats. When the Supastore took over the Laure Genillard Gallery last year, Staton filled the space with unwearable clothes, funky multiples and one-off object-poems. She has since set up stall in the ICA, at the San Francisco Art Fair and in Middlesbrough Art Gallery. Often, the works are trivial or silly, but they reflect Staton's disdain for "selling unique, crafted objects to men in suits". Supastore was an experiment in populism, and the art often looked like the gewgaws in tourist trap souvenir stores. "But next time," she says, "I'd like to show depressing, black things."
Staton believes that "to get on in the art world, you blag it, go to a lot of openings, or you make work". Work alone, she recognizes, won't get you noticed. You have to let the world know you exist. Bing bong.
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