Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Go to Nottingham

Nottingham Contemporary, MOOT, The Wasp Room, Backlit, Trade...one day out in one city with seven shows - go to Nottingham!

Saturday 20th February 2010 I went to Nottingham with Myster David. First stop - Nottingham Contemporary and their current show 'Star City' which was amazing!

My cabinet obsession continues...
My better half of TROVE Myster David

Then Tether's studios and The Wasp Room It was really nice to meet the Tether boys and have a mooch around their studios, their flyers were also great!

Backlit , three gallery spaces and various studios in MOOTs old home

Finally onto a launch at MOOT's new space which consisted of the main central space complete with square bar and pasta with home made pesto served by Tristan 'one part of MOOT' Hessing, The Reading Room where Brum's An Endless Supply had worked with Bruce Ayling of Trade, then there was also the opening of Trade's new space and The Attic space with a show by Walden Affairs all at 1 Thoresby Street

Not sure if I've mentioned this but - go to Nottingham!

The Vaults Bazaar

TROVE, in association with ARC, presents:

The Vaults Bazaar

A collection of artists from around the UK

One night only:
Wednesday 24th February 2010 6-8pm with music till late

The Vaults, Newhall Hill, Birmingham, B1 3JH

Details of each Vault:

"Global Warning" Milk, Two Sugars will show their latest animated film at TROVEs show at the Vaults. They will make a limited edition issue of ‘Milk, Two Sugars’ zine for the exhibition with a free gift of a DVD of the film and the two previous films they have made. The film and zine concern their perspective on global climate issues, mass consumerism, the lack of political action, the corruption of power, the built-in obsolescence of humanity, the impending failure of the current social system, how rising sea levels threaten the artist, the obsession with fickle celebrities, the folly of organised religion and more, with a few nob gags.

"2 into 1" is a single screen video work that intends to investigate the performance and perception of personal identity. Working with George Reynolds, a man with Foreign Accent Syndrome Caitlin Griffiths and he inhabit each others recounted experiences. This ‘cuckooing’ of Griffiths into someone else’s experience or family dynamic is a significant motif in her visual arts practice. Sometimes, the process is a literal injection of herself into other artists’ pasts (the Art Histories series), and other times she appear as an interruption into a family group (Coop I). Griffiths' intention is to visualise the artist’s role as a conduit between the subject and the audience and in doing so, not only establish a purpose for the artist, but also engage in critical debates about how identities are received, interpreted and understood.

Elizabeth Short is fascinated by the role of scale and context in the construction of meaning. Her Birmingham Miniatures series of photographs depicting Birmingham scenery, suggest both macro and micro scales of size by presenting relatively large as relatively small. For this show at The Vaults Short is producing new images for this series, "Jewellery Quarter Miniatures", based in various locations within the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham. These locations have been chosen to be sympathetic to the exhibition space itself.

When man became sentient, he became aware of his own mortality. His first instinct was to create spirituality. For the last five years Steve Varndell has been creating work that explores the line between what man can understand and encode, and what man aspires to understand and encode. Varndell will produce a single wall based work entitled “Popeye Innocent X”, a digital print, 50cm x 30cm. It will be an illustration of the cartoon character, Popeye, depicted in an eerie realism, that retains his unusually shaped proportions (large chin, pronounced squint in left eye, abnormally large forearms, short legs), whilst removing the flat comic effect of the traditional cartoon.

"Daniel Knows…" is a fortune telling performance that Daniel Lehan is now bringing to The Vaults for TROVEs February 2010 show: DANIEL KNOWS - HE KNOWS, HE DOES - My Mother Was A Traveller, A Famous Witch, Who Knew Her Demons Well. My Father Came From Wales, And Was The Nephew Of A Very Old Sorcerer. I Am Their Seventh Son.

"CUT" This group show ‘cuts’ into the vaults shape through our intervention/installation. The idea of the cut or cutting forms a link between the separate artworks/art practices: cutting as a means of forming; cutting as splicing (bringing together); cutting as going elsewhere. The ‘cut’ away in a painting of another place, the cut paper and card of an investigative modelling, the edited cut (or absence of such) of a time-based video. Graham Chorlton is based in Birmingham and works as a painter and image maker, interested in place embodying experience, mise en scene, environment. The allure of elsewhere. Yearning. Jane Ball is based in Coventry and works in sculptural installation, interested in time as a fluid process, change and transformation through material process working with everyday objects, and reinterpreting history in the present (“coming into the now of their recognisability” Benjamin). Brigid McLeer is based in London and works in video and drawing, interested in contingency, process, time, subjectivity, the figure and the figurative – always work in response to pre-existing sources, sites, texts, images.

Time Piece” is a performance by Paul Newman simulating the movement of a waiter clearing tables. The action is a metaphor for the mechanics of an analogue clock and is an association with ‘a slice of time’, both as shift work and as a durational performance for the length of a show. The routine is relatively precarious as a rehearsed action with the potential for lapses in concentration due to distraction, boredom and fatigue, generating incident that can disrupt the mechanism of the clock. Its framework explores two components of performance; repetition and unpredictability.

Coco Deville has been smouldering in the underground, experimental and kitsch burlesque scene for over three years. Her distinct style is a heady blend of contemporary dance, clowning techniques and old school burlesque theatrics. At Vaults Bazaar Coco will be entertaining us with three special titillating, whimsical performances throughout the night.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Swimming Without Water

Swimming Without Water is a new show that has opened at Moseley Swimming Baths curated by Maria Regla de Garcia-Bernal and Jimmy Lindqvist. The artists were Debby Akam, Flora Gare and Tim Skinner. The location of this show was amazing and despite the snow there was a great crowd at the preview, tentatively walking round the swimming pool with real life not an art piece swimmers as we nibbled on cake and sipped tea. The location was great and it was brilliant to see local curators seeking alternative spaces to work with. Some of the work wasn't to my taste, however, Flora's glass chandelier of the Union Jack fitted the site perfectly, it was a subtle piece that felt at home there and fingers crossed Moseley Baths buy it and keep it on site.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Things to see and do

This weekend has been an accidentally cultured one…
Saturday started with tulips…

…then it saw Ben and I hop skip and jump to the Ashmolean in Oxford. Since its make over last year and its re-opening by the Queen in November 2009 it has seen through its doors approximately 6000 visitors a day, and Saturday was no exception. Full to the brim it was a great day out. The collection is outstanding, and oddly highlights for me were the cabinets both old and new. In the Ancient Egyptian collection labels were all hand written and the old pine looking cabinets a real treat. Whilst in the newly refurbished central part of the museum all glass and thick Perspex floating shelves displayed the rest of the collection clearly. Spot lit to perfection with thematic backgrounds and enough written information to understand the history without being subjected to too much text the newer displays were a credit to what a modern museum should look like. They added to the collection in such a subtle way I doubt anyone really noticed them. Unlike me who appears to have a cabinet fetish. Some of the galleries were unfinished in terms of display which was a shame but the visitors didn’t seem to mind. Plus the café served the most amazing baguette I’ve ever eaten and the cakes looked amazing!

Saturday evening (it being Valentine weekend ‘n’ all) I was taken out to Birmingham’s ‘Loves Restaurant’ just off Sheepcote Street. It was amazing! I cannot recommend this restaurant enough, the staff were friendly and polite, the service was impeccable and the food out of this world! We had the tasting menu which offered delights from your classic Goosnargh Chicken to banana and lime sorbet with pork scratching to, my favourite, passion fruit crème with biscotti – it was all fantastic.

Sunday started with croissants, as every good Sunday should, followed by a serving of Breakfast at Tiffany’s at The Electric. One sofa, two earl greys and a slice of carrot cake later I was over whelmed with a sense of love for that movie, Audrey Hepburn and her clothes!

After which we took a little tour around Brum, we tripped into the Bridget Riley at BMAG, which is definitely worth a perusal…

…then into Ikon to see Clare Rojas and Joao Maria Gusmao and Pedro Paive. The Rojas work was incredibly desirable and I have to admit for me Ikon’s shows have been a bit ropey of late but this particular paring was enchanting…

…finally burgers and home to watch X-Men over champagne. Perfect.

Friday, 12 February 2010

New Art Gallery Walsall's 10th Birthday Bash

New Art Gallery Walsall went POP last night with their 10th Birthday celebrations. Bob and Roberta Smith kicked off the evening with a performance and ended it too, speeches were made, cake was eaten and mingling was made.

It was however the third floor exhibition that was the highlight for me. A retrospective of the gallery's past 10 years, it was so nice to see all this work together, a literal A- Z of past artists.

The list of participating artists include:

Jonathan Allen, Michael Andrews, David Batchelor, Peter Blake, The Honourable Dorothy Brett, Angela Bulloch, Vanley Burke, Marc Chagall, Kent Christensen, Lucienne Cole, John Collier, Martin Creed, Cathy Daley, Judy Darragh, Grahham Dolphin, Sean Dower, Frederick William Elwell, David Ersser, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Gilbert & George, Nan Goldin, Francisco de Goya, Anne Hardy, Frederick Daniel Hardy, Juneau Projects, John Kirby, Darren Lago, Jim Lambie, Mark Leckey, Colin Lowe, Roddy Thompson and Sarah Lucas, Seamus Nicolson,Chris Ofili, Martin Parr, Peter Peri, Eric Ravilious, Paula Rego, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Malick Sidibé, David Shrigley, Bob and Roberta Smith, Emma Talbot, Sam Taylor Wood, Juergen Teller, Andrew Tift, Spencer Tunick, Gavin Turk, Daisy de Villeneuve, Jane Wilbraham, Gillian Wearing, Yang Mian and Zhang Peng.

Highlights for me - Martin Creed's 'Half on the air in a given space' - it was more entertaining watching the poor invigilator trying to keep the massive purple baloons contained for the duration of the show, due to queues I did not go in...this time!

Bob and Roberta Smith's first works from his time in the Jacob Epstein archives - this room was crowded throughout the entire evening, my favourite 'Please send me £1' one of a selection of quotes taken letters sent to Jacob Epstein from his son.

And David Bachelor's 'Disco Mecanique' - a room of disco balls made from pastic sunglasses.

For me this show highlighted not only the great work New Art Gallery Walsall has been doing in bringing interesting and provocative contemporary and historical art works into the region but also how bright and kitsch most of the work was, a theme I had not noticed previous to this show in their programming - a characteristic however probably seen in Director Steven Snoddy, who gave a speech that was comical, passionate and appreciative.

A good time was had by all...

Thursday, 11 February 2010


For The Vaults Bazaar there will be 2 for 1 on selected cocktails:

French Martini
Finlandia vodka, Pineapple juice, and a dash of Chamboard

Raspberry Collins
Tanqueray Gin, Lemon Juice, Sugar Syrup, Raspberry Liqueur, Topped with Soda Apple

Bacardi Rum, Lime Juice, Apple Juice, and a dash of Sugar Syrup

Tequila Sunrise
Hornitos Tequila, Orange Juice with a dash of Grenadine


Thursday, 4 February 2010

The Vaults Bazaar

TROVE, in association with ARC, presents:

The Vaults Bazaar

A collection of artists from around the UK

One night only:

Wednesday 24th February 2010 6-8pm with music till late

The Vaults, Newhall Hill, Birmingham, B1 3JH


TROVE is the first gallery invited by ARC to present a one night only exhibition at The VAULTS in the Jewellery Quarter, Birmingham, UK.

Each month ARC invites regional guest curators to present an exhibition of works to be exhibited at The VAULTS, with TROVE kicking off their 2010 programme.

The Vaults Bazaar brings together a selection of regional and national artists that TROVE invited to take part in this exhibition. Each offering a different proposal of work, each vault will be different from classic painting through film to performance, a truly bizarre mix.

Artists include: Jane Ball, Graham Chorlton, Coco DeVille, Caitlin Griffiths, Daniel Lehan, Bigid McLeer, Milk,Two Sugars, Paul Newman, Elizabeth Short and Steve Varndell