Christopher Woodward

Rubble with a Cause

Tate Britain’s exhibition ‘Ruin Lust’, which runs until 18 May, ends with Gerard Byrne’s film 1984 and Beyond, in which the artist restaged a Playboy article from 1963 that asked science-fiction writers to imagine a day in the life of an urban male of the future. Made between 2005 and 2007, it’s a brilliant piece that draws on a creepy text in which sexism crackles like static electricity on acrylic suits. The authors can imagine new types of keyboard, wristwatches and ‘euphoric cigarettes’ but not a female boss. Women and martinis never change.

Futuristic fantasies are predictable, invariably involving streets in the sky, more leisure in the day, one-piece clothing and capsule food. Byrne’s piece might equally well open an exhibition which tells us that the past is much more surprising than the future.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,
    • RT : A magnificent demolition job on this "acid laced tirade...unpleasantly self-obsessed...self pitying polemic...book… ,
    • 'Seventy years on, the time we have left to gather such first-hand testimony is running out.' John Keay on the sig… ,