Each week, we have been using i-ching readings to pick two random books from The Cover of a Book is the Beginning of a Journey, and creating a new performance score from them. This is inspired by the cut-up technique of William Burroughs, and also relates to our interest in the connection between performance scores and ritual protocols.
We have been writing these on a blackboard by the book collection, and inviting people to interpret the scores for themselves. Click here to see the different instructions created over the weeks, and try them out yourself.
During the book fair on the 27th November 2010, we spent the whole day with visitors, trying different methods of generating new performance instructions. To randomise the texts we used dice, pulled words out of a bag, and threw coins.
Then, as everyone was packing up, we presented some performances based on the scores made on the day
Click the following images to see videos:
If you’re into books next week is where it’s at! As well as The Cover of a Book is the Beginning of a Journey opening here at the Gallery on Saturday 9th Oct, next week sees the start of Birmingham Book Festival 2010:
‘Now in its eleventh year the Birmingham Book Festival makes its return to the city from Tuesday 5th – Thursday 21st October. Featuring both fiction and non-fiction writers, poets and workshops, it promises to be a celebration of literature encouraging us to read, write and think.
Highlights include Lionel Shriver, Jackie Kay, John O’Farrell, David Nicholls and Jonathan Coe, plus a panel of new voices. Other events include a keynote exploring the meaning of city of culture, a workshop in Ikon Eastside’s Hitchcock’s Hallway, tea and cake with Jenny Eclair and the BBC’s Environment and Science correspondent David Shukman who brings tales from his new book, Reporting Live from the End of the World.
The Festival also features international writers including the granddaughter of a murdered Prime Minister, Fatima Bhutto from Pakistan and contemporary German writer Jörg Albrecht. Other writers encouraging audiences to think include British diplomat Philip Barclay who brings an account of Zimbabwe’s violent 2008 elections and human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce who has represented families and victims of the Lockerbie air disaster, the family of Jean Charles de Menezes, Guantanamo Bay detainee Moazzam Begg and the Birmingham Six.’
For more information about all of the events visit www.birminghambookfestival.org
Tickets can be booked at www.birminghamboxoffice.com or by calling 0121 303 2323.
You canalso keep up to date with them though Twitter and Facebook.
VAGA have kindly dontaed back copies of The International Journal of Art & Design Education to the Art Library – Vol 18 – 27.
Pop in to have a look or get in touch if you are after a particular article…
We’re trying out a new way for you to make enquiries about the Collections -we’ve set up a twitter account so you can tweet us with quick questions on anything such as Epstein and the Garman family, past exhibiting artists, the architecture,
I will attempt to answer in 140 characters or post up the answers here on our blog and send a link. You can also ask questions on here, or if there’s something you want to ask without the whole internet world knowing then email me email@example.com.
Last chance to see ARCHIVE, a portable collection of artists’ books curated by Chris Taylor and John McDowall. It’s on display in the Art Library until 5 December.
Alongside is a display of collages by art and design students at Dudley College, made in response to the books on display in the ARCHIVE cabinet.
Last Thursday Serena Korda came back to The New Art Gallery to lead a Book Club Debate on Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H.Lawrence. She was joined by journalist and broadcaster Helen Brown, along with several members of the public and gallery staff.
It was a great discussion, which got pretty heated, particulaly when topics such as feminism were examined.
Gallery Assistant Julie Jones gave us some valuable insights into Lawrence’s personal life. Discussion quicky turned to censorship and controversy, particularly regarding views on sex in the early 20th Century, which effected several artists of that time. Lawrence came up against a similar attitude from the public/authorities about Lady C as Epstein did about various works, for example The Tomb of Oscar Wilde and the British Medical Building sculptures. These works were lambasted at the time due to their frank nudity which depicts fertility, but at the time was seen as hugely distasteful.
Our debate went on to consider the impact of class and snobbery on these opinions and whether people were actually outraged because of the relationships between classes. This was a time of huge social change and Lawrence describes quite clearly his take on the change in societal structures.
We spoke for 2 hours solid, so I can’t go into too much detail here, but thanks to all who came and contributed. If you want to continue on here then please do!
As a quick aside, I also found that Lawrence had self-published Lady Chaterley’s Lover because he realised it would not be possible to do so through the normal routes. I didn’t know this before reading it, but it now seems fitting that we keep a copy here considering the collection of indendent/artists’ publishing that we hold (even if we don’t have the original) .
If anyone is interested in setting up a regular book club with a visual art slant, please do get in touch, or drop into the Art Library.
Serena will be hosting her final event on 21st November – a nose casting workshop for families. The Library of Secrets is here until 29th November.
Lat night, Thursday 22 October, we hosted the first of the three events which are part of The Library of Secrets residency at The New Art Gallery Walsall. For those of you who missed it, it was a lovely evening with an interesting talk by the artist Serena Korda and book sniffer and journalist Murrough O’Brien followed by a book sniffing session!
The next free event is the Great Book Club Debate on Thurs 5 Nov at 6pm and is inspired by the controversial career of Jacob Epstein. The book club will discuss banned books and ideas of literary censorship. Chaired by Serena and journalist and broadcaster Helen Brown, the book to read is Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H Lawrence.
Our collection of artists’ books in the library is slowly developing -i’ve added a few new editions this week:
Me, Myself and I by Kelly Large is a book of transcriptions documenting three open studio afternoons that the artist organised as part of her residency here at the gallery in January 2008. Kelly invited various people she had previously worked with to give a presentation about their understanding of her practice. The book explores the notion of the artist-in-residence and Kelly’s practice within this context, the artistic process and audience participation. Kelly has produced three copies of this book for the Gallery; one for the Library to be used as a resource, one to be acquisitioned as an artwork in the collections, and one as a document for the Gallery archives.
I’ve picked up a few other artists’ publications this week:
I bumped into Robin & Harry of An Endless Supply who were handing out their latest issue at the Ikon preview. They’ve upgraded their paper and have a new printing press, so it has a slightly more luxurious feel to it!
At the Eastside Projects Abstract Cabinet Show opening last night Freee were handing out copies of their 2nd Manifesto The Free manifesto for Guerilla Advertising (After the Revolution) -an inspiring read on my way to work this morning!
Also featuring in this exhibition is the collaboration between Laureana Toledo and John Taylor (yes that’s right, John Taylor of Duran Duran!) to produce a film and a newspaper exploring both Birmingham and Mexico City.
Eastside Projects and An Endless Supply will be taking part in Publish and be Damned this weekend. I went to this last year -well worth a trip to London if independent publishing is your thing.
Hi, i’m Cheryl, Library and Collections Supervisor at the Gallery.
Just thought i’d let you know about a conference I attended in Cardiff last week all about Artists as ‘Go Between’, in other words artists acting as a mediator between collections and audiences. This is obviously particularly relevant to us with the Epstein Archive project Neil and Bob collaborating on.
Many presentations were given about projects where artists had worked with museum collections to create new artworks, exhibitions and events. There were many different types of project, for example artists placing their own work alongside objects from museum collections, inviting the public to partcipate in making direct responses and new archives, or completly changing the methods of display within the museum.
Highlights included Manchester museum’s Alchemy project, in particular the Manchester Hermit Ansuman Biswas; and The Uncanny Room at Pitzhanger Manor-House.
There were also papers given which brought up potential issues with this type of project, and several question raised, such as:
why has it become the burden of artists to enliven collections?
Is the artist really better at communicating to the public than existing museum staff?
Is the artist’s work comprimised or hindered by the limitations inevitable in working with an institution?
Are our collections in danger of being mistreated by untrained handlers?
Is this all just about the number of people coming through the door of the museum?
These questions are all food for thought, but each person who presented a working example, whether they were artists or institution professionals, reported a positive experience for all parties concerned. However, the conference could have done with some representation of the audiences and public participants to ensure a balanced view.
I still came away from the conference believing that these projects are a fantastic way of introducing people to collections that they may not otherwise ever come across. Artists can bring a fresh set of eyes to the often overlooked parts of a collection, and through a good dialogue with the collection experts within the museum, they can bring their own practice to the table to create innovative methods of interpretation.
I have a copy of The Go Between (Vol 1) available the library which contains some of the papers presented at the conference.
It would be interesting to know what your thoughts are…
Exiled children of parents separated either because of schooling or the 2nd WW often write home to their parents demanding the comforts of home. Theodore Garman was no exception in fact he was an innovator with demands ranging from various kinds of sock (thick) to expensive conte crayons to gloves lined with sheepskins and treacle and his most requested item a pot of jam and slippers!
Quote from one of the letters from the Epstein archive “PLEASE POST MY BEDROOM SLIPPERS… I feel lost without them”
Although these requests for Theodore’s treasured items may seem mildly comical they also represessnt evidence of pains of separation says Bob Smith.