TAITMAIL    No more Fringe benefits

TAITMAIL No more Fringe benefits

 

By Patrick Kelly


The Edinburgh Fringe is the world’s largest arts festival, and that’s its problem. 

TAITMAIL   Talking of the unspeakable…

TAITMAIL Talking of the unspeakable…

Feelings are running high over what rights museums in the UK have to house certain objects, from a three-legged stool in Oxford that is claimed as a national treasure by Uganda to symbols of religious rites for native Canadians and New Zealanders to the Parthenon Sculptures.

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Alan Sparrow on another legend of photojournalism, Victor Console

Armouries appoints Edwards as DG

Armouries appoints Edwards as DG

The CEO of Leeds’s Thackray Museum of Medicine, Nat Edwards, is to be the new Master of the Armouries and director general of the Royal Armouries.

McKellen gives £25k for new plays

McKellen gives £25k for new plays

Sir Ian McKellen is offering up to £25,000 to producers to stage new plays and revivals, funded by his successful 80thbirthday tour.

TAITMAIL   The new world of tradition

TAITMAIL The new world of tradition

The new Royal College of Art in Battersea with its infinite spaces and possibilities opened to the public for the first time with its graduate show last month, showing some of the stunning fruits of the minds of young artists who have the latest digital technology at their fingertips, allowing them to fuse moving images, performance and installation in ways inconceivable a generation ago.

Shepherd joins Selladoor

Shepherd joins Selladoor

Selladoor, the regional theatre producer behind the national and international tours of The Jersey Boys, 9 to 5 The Musical and Footloose, has a new executive director in Andrew Shepherd.

Compton Verney’s new CEO

Compton Verney’s new CEO

Geraldine Collinge, director of public programmes at the RSC for 12 years, is to be the new chief executive at Compton Verney.

Perricone to chair Northern Ballet

Perricone to chair Northern Ballet

The Royal Academy of Dance’s chairman is to switch allegiances to become chair of Northern Ballet.

‘Reinvented’ Horniman wins £100k Art Fund prize

‘Reinvented’ Horniman wins £100k Art Fund prize

South London’s Horniman Museum, once a traditional Victorian museum but recast by its director to better reflect its diverse surrounding community, has won this year’s £100,000 Art Fund Museum of the Year award.

Brett Rogers to leave Photographers’ Gallery

Brett Rogers to leave Photographers’ Gallery

Brett Rogers is to step down as director of the Photographers’ Gallery at the end of the year after 16 years.

Cornwall’s museum facing closure after council cuts funding

Cornwall’s museum facing closure after council cuts funding

Truro’s Royal Cornwall Museum faces closure after more than 200 years after Cornwall Council suddenly refused a bid for continued annual revenue funding.

Showroom’s new director is Gabriela Salgado

Showroom’s new director is Gabriela Salgado

Argentina-born Gabriela Salgado is the new director of the Showroom, the London gallery that specialises on experimental collaborations.

Heidi Vaughan to take over at Tobacco Factory

Heidi Vaughan to take over at Tobacco Factory

Heidi Vaughan is to succeed Mike Tweddle as artistic director of Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres.

Probation chief is new English Heritage chair

Probation chief is new English Heritage chair

Gerard Lemos, chair of the prison and probation service, is to be the new chairman of English Heritage, to succeed Sir Tim Laurence in January.

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

THE ART OF PHOTOJOURNALISM Image of the month

Wimbledon hopeful crashes out, 25th June 1993, by David Ashdown for The Independent

By Alan Sparrow

Di Lees to leave IWM

Di Lees to leave IWM

Diane Lees is to stand down as director general of the Imperial War Museums next year, she announced today.

National Gallery goes national for NG200

National Gallery goes national for NG200

The National Gallery is to mark its bicentenary - by going national in a £95m celebration of its foundation in 1824, which includes a major refurbishment.

Little Amal returns to celebrate Refugee Week

Little Amal returns to celebrate Refugee Week

The national seven-day arts festival celebrating contributions made to this country by refugees is launched today.

SOLT/UK Theatre get job share CEOs

SOLT/UK Theatre get job share CEOs

The co-executive directors of the British Chambers of Commerce are to continue their job sharing as join-CEOs of the Society of London Theatre and Theatre UK.

Art Fund steps up museum funding

Art Fund steps up museum funding

Art Fund is making £2m available to museums in new funding schemes this summer.

MY STORY   The drink that StARTs art

MY STORY The drink that StARTs art

A new art prize is to feature in this autumn’s StART London Art Fair, the exhibition devoted to emerging talent at the Saatchi Gallery. The prize is sponsored by Martin Miller’s Gin and here the brand’s global head of marketing, Robert Eastham, explains how the partnership came together

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE   Museums: Beyond the gift shop window

GOOD PRACTICE GUIDE Museums: Beyond the gift shop window

At Museums Connections 2022 The Revels Office consultancy led an exploration of how museums can combine innovation, experience and retail strategy to create new commercial programmes. The Revel Office’s project co-ordinator, Jeani Tamakloe, sifts the inputs

Platinum medals

Platinum medals

Honoured in the Queen’s Birthday list

Populism or kitsch – does it matter?

I don’t know why anyone should be surprised that when the nation was asked what its favourite work of art was the nation overlooked Turner, Constable, Gainsborough and even David Hockney and pointed to Banksy.

The national poll was conducted by Samsung among 2,000 people who were offered a long list compiled by a panel of art critics. The exercise, as you might have guessed, is a not very sophisticated marketing exercise to go with the company's new television set, The Frame, which has 100 images of works of art pre-loaded for users to pick from as their screen-saver, rather than have a blank screen when the thing is switched off.
 
We’re not told who the critics were or what was on the longlist, but the top 20 that Banksy’s most familiar daubing, Balloon Girl, tops are images no-one doesn’t know. The second choice is Constable’s The Haywain and he would have rejoiced to know that he had not only beaten his garrulous old rival Turner but that Jack Vettriano’s The Singing Butler pushed The Fighting Temeraire into fourth.
 
So the art critics had decided to go for populism in their long list, and included album covers (Peter Blake’s Sgt Pepper was eighth, and 20th is the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks cover by Jamie Reid). There is no Tracey Emin or Damien Hirst, but Anish Kapoor’s odd Olympic helter-skelter ArcelorMittal Orbit makes it at 16.
 
The question is almost “What birthday card images did you get this year”: it’s within an ace of kitsch, many art critics who were not on the panel would say, and maybe some who were.
 
Forget the fact that postcards, posters and prints of Balloon Girl have sold in their many thousands all over the world, and one version painted on the back of a picture frameboard was sold at auction for £73,000, this is street art. The image first appeared as a piece of guerrilla art on Waterloo Bridge in 2002, and the new democratisation of art had begun.
 
There’s nothing wrong with populism, Rembrandt, Hogarth and Durer would have starved to death if they hadn’t printed versions of their masterpieces for mass consumption, and where I live every street seems to be brightened by a very well executed mural, an initiative of the local art gallery. One of the most controversial and ultimately most successful actions of Blair’s first government was to make all national galleries and museums free to enter, with the problem now being how the institutions cope with the sudden upsurge in visitor numbers.
 
It turns out that people genuinely love art, it doesn’t matter how they come upon it, and the trend is spreading from the visual to the active, with free street performances of dance, theatre and especially circus being offered officially wherever money can be raised to pay for it.
 
You may not like Maggi Hambling’s Scallop on Aldeburgh beach or Antony Gormley’s Angel of North guarding the AI at Gateshead, but a lot of people who know what they like do.
 

 

 

 

 

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