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...