I am extremely excited about playing with the Ken Ardley Playboys at the Party! show next week. The Apathy Band and some of the Ken Ardley Playboys played in Pescara Italy just after we finished the window installation for the party show last week. The window installation is the largest and most involved art work we have made so far involving images and objects from the Garman Ryan Collection; see the video below. It is inspired by some very touching photo’s of Esther at a party she must have organized for Roland Joffe when he was six or seven in our version of the party at the Epstein House things have gone rather crazy and busts by Epstein have be festooned with silly string and streamers. I find the party photos very moving.
They are an insight into the personal lives of the Epstein’s. Because Kathleen does not appear in them I suspect they are her eye view of proceedings. Perhaps when people look through the portholes of the window box installation for a brief instant become Kathleen. Neil has made a wonderful job of representing our efforts so far in the Archive Gallery in the Garman Ryan Collection. He has edited the films we have made so far with ‘Pathe’ footage of Epstein. It makes for a very effective 45 minutes of film. Hales Gallery in London are interested in organizing a screening of the film. It’s always enjoyable working behind the scenes of the Gallery. Neil and I are very much involved with one aspect of the Gallery but as we were working last week I was amazed at what a cultural centre The New Art Gallery Walsall has become. During most week days the Gallery is filled with school kids. Unlike most middle aged gallery goers I don’t mind a few kids running about. When I was a student I lived in Italy. The use of museums in Italy as Educational tools is far more advanced. Because so much of what it means to be Italian resides within the museum they jam them with kids. The New Art Gallery Walsall is doing a great job of reflecting how culture is developing while showing where its roots are.
Happy Birthday. 10 years old this month.
The New Art Gallery Walsall celebrates its 10th anniversary in February 2010! Here are the ‘Top Ten’ reasons why we are celebrating…
1. The New Art Gallery was shortlisted for the prestigious Sterling Architecture Prize in 2000.
2. In 2007, The New Art Gallery Walsall in partnership with Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Ikon Gallery, Birmingham were one of five UK consortiums to receive the Art Fund International Award. The initiative is one of the most important and ambitious schemes ever launched by The Art Fund and £1 million has been allocated to each of the five successful partnerships, to fund the creation of collections of international contemporary art over a period of five years. The West Midlands partnership, whose collection theme is The Metropolis: reflections of modern urban life, will explore the diversity, dynamism and growth of the contemporary metropolis. Recent acquisitions include: Grazia Toderi (Italy), Christiane Baumgartner (Germany), Miao Xiaochun (China) and Zhang Enli (China).
3. The New Art Gallery Walsall purchased 22 contemporary artworks through the Contemporary Art Society‘s Special Collections Scheme including works by Martin Creed, Layla Curtis, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Laura Ford, Hew Locke, Mike Nelson, Nina Saunders, Yoshihiro Suda, Gavin Turk, Richard Woods and Toby Ziegler. The national initiative which enabled fifteen galleries throughout England to build up collections of contemporary work was celebrated at The New Art Gallery Walsall with the launch of the exhibition Out of Place, curated by Deborah Robinson, Head of Exhibitions, in 2006. A supporting publication New Art of View, co-published by The New Art Gallery Walsall examined the role of museums in collecting contemporary art and featured contributions from Sheila MacGregor, Sir Nicholas Serota and the gallery’s Director Stephen Snoddy.
4. In 2006, The New Art Gallery Walsall acquired the Epstein Archive. The archive had been on loan to the gallery from Beth Lipkin, Kathleen Garman’s companion, since 1999. In 2006 following her death we were able to purchase the Epstein Archive with financial assistance from the V&A Fund, Walsall Museum and Galleries Development Trust and with immense support from Jackie and Isobel Epstein. Composed largely of photographs, manuscripts, sketches and correspondence between Jacob Epstein and his family and friends, patrons, buyers and galleries, it holds the context of much of the internationally important historic collection at Walsall and to the people behind the art. It also contains significant information about Epstein and 20th century cultural developments. (See no 10!)
5. Since opening, The New Art Gallery Walsall has been visited by over 1.6 million people – with over 200,000 coming through its doors in 2009. For the week ending on the 1 November 2009, the gallery recorded an attendance of 9,289, the highest since the opening weeks. This impressive figure was reached through the culmination of various projects: the final week of major solo exhibitions by Gordon Cheung and Neal Rock, numerous half-term workshop sessions for families and youth groups and The Journey to Old Halloween – a weekend extravaganza of performances and events by the artist collective The House of Fairy Tales. The gallery’s audience development programme features an ongoing series of events and projects and has engaged thousands of people and various community groups throughout the last 10 years. Events have included artists’ projects, social evenings, film and music nights and cultural events. Through effective partnerships with other organisations, we have successfully bridged the gap between various art forms, attracted people from diverse backgrounds and made the gallery a welcoming, friendly, accessible and exciting place to visit, interact with, participate and experience.
6. Over 48,000 school children have been recorded as visiting The New Art Gallery Walsall in its first decade. In 2009, 23,112 people participated in education sessions for formal education and lifelong learning at the gallery, each developing an ongoing relationship with the visual arts. In depth projects from small and large scale partnerships with local, regional and national bodies such as engage, Birmingham City University, other cultural organisations enhance the programme. The New Art Gallery Walsall was one of the first cultural organisations in the UK to develop a specific interactive area for younger visitors that brings international contemporary art to everyone in an accessible area. The DiSCO interactive gallery current attracts over a third of all gallery visitors to the venue.
7. The New Art Gallery Walsall has curated major solo exhibitions by Gordon Cheung, Vidya Gastaldon, Christopher Le Brun, Conrad Shawcross, Hew Locke, Neal Rock, Gavin Turk and Joanna Vasconcelos. Each exhibition was accompanied by a publication helping to profile the artist and the gallery whilst also contributing to learning, academic study and debates surrounding contemporary art practice.
8. The gallery continues to support artists based in the West Midlands region through its residency programme. Artists including Ania Bas, Simon and Tom Bloor, Faye Claridge, Sima Gonsai, Karin Kihlberg and Reuben Henry, Kelly Large, Feng-Ru Lee, Juneau Projects, Ivan Smith and Yolk & Zoom have produced new bodies of work whilst in residence at The New Art Gallery Walsall and have gone on to exhibit nationally and internationally.
9. In 2006, Floor 4 of the gallery was transformed from a restaurant area in to a new gallery space. The unique space with its 8m high ceiling and incredible windows with vistas over Walsall has enabled the gallery to present a programme of regional and internationally renowned artists including Richard Billingham, Phil Brooks, Giacomo Brunelli, Hyung-Geun Park, Andrew Jackson, Steffi Klenz, Elizabeth Rowe, Jonathan Shaw, Susanne Treister, Stuart Whipps and works from the Frank Cohen Collection.
10. In 2009, Bob and Roberta Smith was commissioned to work alongside newly appointed Archive Curator Neil Lebeter to reveal the previously undocumented and unseen Epstein Archive to audiences in new and exciting ways. Thousands of letters, books and photographs in the archive will form the starting point of a series of site-specific interventions, discussions, video works and blog posts. The initiative forms part of New Ways of Curating, a project initiated by Arts Council England, West Midlands and MLA. The Archivist post is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Bob and Roberta Smith and the Epstein Archive was launched on August 28 2009, when the artist collaborated with Director, Stephen Snoddy as part of Antony Gormley’s One and Other on Trafalgar Square’s 4th plinth.
4pm – 9pm
Thursday 11 February 2010
Welcome by Stephen Snoddy, Director
DJ set by Gavin Turk
Performance by The Ken Ardley Playboys (featuring Bob and Roberta Smith)
6pm – 9pm
Floors 3 and 4, foyer and floor 1 activity room
As part of the celebrations, we are delighted to present this exhibition which will feature a consciously eclectic range of artists whose works will be linked through broad reference to the party, a theme which will extend across music, singing, dancing, food and drink, dress and decoration. Amongst the revelry will lurk darker and more sinister undercurrents!
Participating artists: 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, Graham Dolphin, Sean Dower, Frederick William Elwell, David Ersser, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Gilbert & George, Nan Goldin, Francesco 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.
We are 10!
12 February – 18 April 2010
Garman Ryan Galleries 1 & 2, mezzanine
Birthday cards by artists who have contributed to our programme over the last 10 years.
Bob and Roberta Smith
Garman Ryan Galleries
Bob and Roberta Smith, together with archivist Neil Lebeter, are exploring the Epstein archive and presenting and interpreting it in their own unique way.
Examples of their work can be seen in the foyer, the Garman Ryan Galleries and the Window Box.
4pm – 6.30pm, 7.30pm – 9pm
The Unwanted Gift Shop
Transform your unwanted gifts into pieces of art! Visit artist Mitra Memarzia at The Unwanted Gift Shop and bring along your festive jumpers, kitsch ornaments and useless gadgets.
We are pleased to let you know that the latest What’s On (Oct-Dec 2009) is complete!
Printed copies will start to appear any time now and the digital version is available here
As ever it has been a pleasure putting this together, with so many inspirational artists and events featured.
We hope you enjoy it!
Sam & George – Stereographic