Yinka Shonibare CBE has curated Criminal Ornamentation at the Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and the Arts Council Collection’s shared exhibition space. Reflective of Shonibare’s own practice, the exhibition explores the cultural and social dimensions of the use of pattern in modern and contemporary art.
The title of the presentation is taken from Adolf Loos’ 1908 influential essay ‘Ornament and Crime’. In this essay, Loos examines the notions of good and bad taste and condemns the use of decoration and craft as an indication of the lowest level of cultural development, to the extent of stating ‘the modern man who tattoos himself is a criminal’. Shonibare challenges this notion by saying ‘Adolf Loos was clearly a man of his time in his snobbish revolutionary zeal to abandon ornamentation as he saw it as the pre-occupation of the working classes and degenerates’. Included in the exhibition are a range of works that Shonibare has chosen to challenge the notion of the ornament as crime.
Criminal Ornamentation features work by a number of celebrated artists including Timorous Beasties, Susan Derges, Laura Ford, Ed Lipski, Alexander McQueen, Milena Dragicevic, Lis Rhodes, Bridget Riley, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Caragh Thuring and Bedwyr Williams.