BOB & ROBERTA SMITH
Artists Bob and Roberta Smith with their debut release – the song, Artists Ruin It – a fast-spun punky skank, tells how people who don’t ‘get’ the arts might imagine artists to be. The A-side is a noisy demonstration of rebellion which features Jessica Voorsanger on joint lead vocals, while the B-side leaves space for the listener to make their own ‘DIY’ version and post it back to the artists.
Bob and Roberta Smith is one of today’s most celebrated visual artists, the moniker being a pseudonym for the British painter Patrick Brill. The artist uses text painted on canvases, made into signs, printed in newspapers and sung in songs as an art form making statements about art and free expression, embracing the idea that the arts are a human right. Combining the name of his sister Roberta with two others which have historically been common in the UK, ‘Bob’ and ‘Smith’, Brill playfully presents his works as the products of a purposely ordinary male / female persona. This unusual move is also mirrored in Bob and Roberta Smith’s witty, irreverent approach to art and music. The artist’s best known works are Make Art Not War (1997), When Donald Judd Comes to our Place (1997) and the controversial Letter to Michael Gove (2011), a letter to the then UK Secretary of State for Education reprimanding him for the “destruction of Britain’s ability to draw, design and sing”. Bob and Roberta Smith’s new group includes long time collaborators, George Lionel Barker on bass, George Clegghorn on sax, Leonardo Ulian on Theremin, Owen Thomas of The Graham Coxon band on guitar and the American artist Jessica Voorsanger on joint vocals. Upcoming recordings include Don’t join the Apathy Band, encouraging people to get out there to fight apathy and celebrate creativity. Another key song declares “All Schools Should Be Art Schools”