Milly Thompson Obituary, Death – Brain tumors killed Milly Thompson, 58. Her touch, line, and words were angry. Early 1990s Londoners loved contemporary art.
The group’s frenetic, provocative activities irritated an increasingly uncritical art world and countered a media obsessed with the “rich.” Its BANK tabloid had headlines like “Galleries all owned by rich people – SHOCK,” and its FaxBack Service proofread and faxed back self-aggrandizing, mystifying gallery press releases in red pencil. “I think BANK sensed the coming era and though we couldn’t know the shape of it… the increasing “professionalization” of it, the YBAs were starting to attract higher prices than Helen Chadwick, Tony Cragg, and Richard Wentworth did in the 1980s, and the stupidity of “Cool Britannia” was hanging over everyone,” Thompson said in a 2013 interview. Accidental change.
Post-BANK Thompson painted alone. “My thoughts are only of escape, simplicity, and sensuality,” Thompson wrote in her 2016 manifesto, I Choose Painting. Thompson’s calm but determined. Transparent paint touches feminist images. Helian In Her Garden and Nor Playing the Flute (2018) are films that comfort middle-aged women (2016). Self-centered makeup. Mixed-media painting Scuba Sauvage Azure Bleu depicts a woman with props on vintage linen (2021). “Celebrate menopausal, older, and middle-aged women’s pleasures, woes, cellulite, and desires,” Timespan commissioned The Moon, the Sea, and the Matriarch in Helmsdale, north-east Scotland (2019).
Thompson’s Cougars. She created the three-scent perfume Shatavari with Eliza Douglas. Dress designer Susan (nee Brammall) and Ove Arup architectural modelmaker Julian Thompson raised Milly and Eleanor in Maida Vale, Bloomsbury, central London. She made theatrical props and gardened for a year after graduating from Pimlico comprehensive (now academy) in 1982. Bruce McLean influenced her BA painting. Her motorcycle and leather gear enraged students. 1989. Since 1991, Bedwell and Russell have performed in a former Barclays bank in Lewisham, south London, hence the name. Russell, Burrows, and Williamson invited Slade student Thompson to their 1993 Big Painting Show in a Kings Cross disused goods yard. She joined the more obvious group (Burrows left in 1995).
BANK curated 20 exhibitions in galleries from their Shoreditch headquarters (later renamed Galerie Poo Poo) to Tate Modern, the ICA, and the Whitechapel Gallery published 35 tabloid editions, and corrected over 300 press releases for Stephen Friedman and Greene Naftali. “The history of avant-garde negation and provocation of bourgeois art… [a refusal] to make their artwork for the institution of art,” Burrows wrote in Art Monthly in 1999. Anthony Wilkinson hosted BANK’s final three-member show in 2002. Bedwell and Thompson last showed at Store in London and The Suburban in Chicago in 2003. Tate owns FaxBack and BANK tabloids.
Thompson taught emerging artists at the Royal College of Art painting MA and Goldsmith’s fine art from 2000 to 2021. Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award 2002. British School in Rome Sargent Award 2005. Solo exhibitions Late Entry at Peer UK in London and Savoir Faire at Focal Point Gallery in Southend, Essex (2008) (2009). Last year’s Whitechapel Gallery London Open featured her work. Her parents, sister, and 2019 husband, Robert Jacobs, survive Thompson.