On Sunday afternoon on a lovely sunny day I wandered along Newcastle Quayside wasting time before meeting up with a friend and going to see Grandaddy play (of which more later). I decided to waste some time having a look round the Baltic Art Gallery over the Millennium Bridge in Gateshead.
Modern art galleries of course are subject to some disdain and sometimes I share this reaction. This time though I was glad I took the detour. Because at the moment two of The Baltic's floor are taken up by an exhibition by Canadian artist Rodney Graham.
Graham specialises in 'staged' photography. Huge pictures featuring himself in wry, self-depreciating, self-conscious scenarios, playing roles, trying on costumes. It was a thoughtful, funny, gentle and altogether rather lovely show.
He's also a musician, in fact he's playing a rare show at The Baltic in a month or so, and yesterday I listened through to his latest album Good Hand Bad Hand as a follow up to my stroll around the gallery.
It's wry, funny and self-depreciating and rather lovely too. Graham has a very taking Neil Young lilt to his voice and altogether comes across as a marvelously drawn Wes Anderson character, fictionalising himself for the purposes of his work. He says he finds lyrics difficult because he hasn't really got anything to say. He says it very well nevertheless and I'm now a fan.