Art in the loo-vre, by George!

by Paul Nelson, Reading Evening Post
29 December 1988

Photographer George Desaxe won’t mind if the critics pan his latest exhibition in fact he’ll be quite pleased. The 32-year-old Reading photographic student has put his work on show in the gents’ toilet of his local pub.

George’s pictures have previously held pride of place in displays at the Hexagon theatre. Reading University and South Hill Park arts centre in Bracknell. But for his latest exhibition. he decided to fall back on the toilets of The Retreat in St John’s Street, Reading.

He said: The idea came from being drunk in the toilet and thinking, “This would make a great gallery. Then one day I went in there sober and realised I was right.

“I don’t like the snobbery and high-blown jargon of art galleries. I am interested in art for the ordinary person, rather than for people who are privileged enough to be educated.”


George said he has been accused of being sexist for putting the photos just in the gents’ loos. “They have got a point, I suppose. But I don’t know as much about women’s toilets,” he explained. “I have had exhibitions in galleries before but I would much rather do something like this. They have been up for five days now and co-one has had a go at them, which speaks for itself.”

Landlady Rose Scott even organises trips into the gents for curious women. She said: “We have to wait until the end of the evening and then I stand guard.”

Mrs Scott, who said she thought the idea was a joke when it was first suggested, admitted she was a bit apprehensive. But after seeing the photos, she was soon convinced. She does, however, admit to having banned one that was closer to traditional toilet art. “It wasn’t suitable,” she said firmly.