Like Descartes, only with four jobs! A contemporary art Steve Martin that literally nobody asked for!
Art writer. I do text-based projects and events, essays and sometimes criticism, although on the latter point, I am always mindful of Prince’s words: “Critics are going to say, “Ah, Miles done went off.” Why say that? Why even tell Miles he went off? You know, if you don’t like it, don’t talk about it. Go buy another record”. This is from an excellent 80s Rolling Stone interview in which Prince also says that, like me, his favourite Joni Mitchell album is The Hissing of Summer Lawns*.
Throughout 2018 I was in residence at Wysing Arts Centre, working on a project about having a kid, space-time, ghosts, pop music, anxiety and art: the resulting publication is The Fields Here Are Full of Ghosts, which was shown in Wysing’s 30th Anniversary show in Summer 2019, and which you can buy as an edition on Wysing Polyphonic here. I am also co-editing, with Bob Stanley, a big old book about The Fall, which will be published by Faber Social in 2021.
As a freelance writer, I contribute regularly to The Wire and various other publications, and I’m on the board at LUX, the artists’ film organisation.
Writing commissions and enquiries:
1-800-SORRY-I-RUINED-YOUR-EXHIBITION-CATALOGUE or tessanorton at gmail dot com
I’m happy to talk about any writing commissions for exhibition texts, essays, interviews or features. But unless you are the ghost of Walter Becker come to haunt Donald Fagen as he sleeps, I probably do not want to review your album, sorry!
I’m also available for freelance arts marketing and audience development consultancy, and content editing and copywriting for interesting and ethically sound arts projects. My current clients include CONTINUOUS (Siobhan Davies Dance / BALTIC) and The Modernist Society.
I am based in West Yorkshire, and in London, Leeds and Manchester regularly.
* wltm anyone who likes The Hissing of Summer Lawns as much as me and Prince