Luton’s ‘armpit art’ in Saatchi show

'Shoes Off If You Love Luton!' is featured in the show
'Shoes Off If You Love Luton!' is featured in the show

To have your work called “puerile” isn’t normally something to be pleased about.

But artist Dominic from Luton isn’t too concerned, especially as the words came from the UK’s most famous art critic, Brian Sewell, in a review of the new Charles Saatchi exhibition.

“I was delighted, actually. All publicity’s good publicity,” he told the Luton News this week. “I didn’t think he’d like the show – he doesn’t really do contemporary art.”

New Order: British Art Today opened at the Saatchi Gallery in London a fortnight ago, and the critics have had plenty to say about it.

Waldemar Januszczak in the Times said the show proved British art was as vulgar as ever, and that Dominic from Luton, real name Dominic Allan, had created “images that rub our noses in Britain’s armpits”.

Adrian Hamilton said in the Independent that his photographs were “ever so self-conscious parody”, while in the Telegraph, Richard Dorment said the exhibition was “lethally effective”.

Former Barnfield College student Dominic has four pieces in the show, and one of them, ‘Shoes Off If You Love Luton!’, features on the exhibition catalogue cover.

After completing his NVQ in art and design at Barnfield, he went on to study at Chelsea Art College. His parents still live in Round Green and much of his work revolves around the town, its heritage and modern day image.

He said Saatchi’s inclusion of his work in New Order was further recognition for Luton, after former Putteridge High School student Elizabeth Price won last year’s Turner Prize competition.

“Hopefully it makes people realise that Luton isn’t a cultural wilderness,” he said. “The show has been getting a lot of attention, and the Arts Council recently invested in a three-month project I did in the town.”

New Order: British Art Today runs until September 24.