Writing / Grizedale Arts Blog / 2010 / -

The smell of success - horrid


I hate it when our projects are successful - The Coniston and Torver Farmers Market and Art Fair was so. A blend of art aesthetic and farm produce and a bunch of stuff between. Over 400 people enjoyed the collision and just over £700 was raised for the village hall restoration fund from a turnover of just over £2,000 - which is pretty good for a small village at a very quiet time of year.

There were a few complaints that it wasn't a proper Farmers Market, but then no one seemed to sure what a proper farmers market was - although there was a consensus that it should involve burgers rather than scallop and saffron mousse.

Posted by Adam Sutherland on 14/12/10 at 09:31

The patter of tiny programming fingers

Big congrats to our web guru and friend Dorian Moore and his wife Angie on the birth of a daughter Amiya!

Posted by Karen Guthrie on 05/12/10 at 21:17

The Re-Coefficients Dining Club films


The Coefficients Dining Club was established in 1902 as a forum for the meeting of social reformers. On the 23rd April 2010, at the Millennium Galleries in Sheffield, we used this format to bring together six new and divergent voices to give speeches on cultural and social reform.

Over a five course meal of five different soups over 100 hundred diners listened to speeches by John Atkinson (farmer), Inderjit Bohjal (minister), John Byrne (academic), Cristina Cerulli (architect), John Ruskin (educator) and Alexandre Singh (artist). Click here for more.

Posted by Maria Benjamin on 02/12/10 at 23:36

Tumult - the forgotten blog


Just found this blog entry that I forgot to put up ages ago

I am travelling to Denmark first thing following Frieze to do a bit of discussion, I like Denmark, I like being run down by giant women on giant bikes - not a mountain bike in sight - I like the 'scanning the horizon' Morton Hackett quality in peoples eyes. I like the similarity between the older Danish woman and iron maiden's cover icon Eddie. One thing I don't like is the national desire to develop a strong jaw line by chewing gum open mouthed, so horrible, sort of like wanking in public. Still a small price to pay for civilisation. Actually that Christiania place is not such a small price to pay, a den of porno drug tossers demonstrating what 2000 years of civilisation can achieve. A great reason to hate the 1960's.

I am here to talk about an art thing - Tumult, which by some oversight opens alongside Frieze, can't see any Italians showing up, it's on an island but not the right kind of island. I along with some other people have been asked to consider a few things about doing art in the sticks, i.e. is it pointless? Andrea Schliker, she who does the Folkstone Saga Triennial is along for the jaw-defining workout and I will presumably be disagreeing with her. By the look of things it is the usual - put this art world Frieze world stuff in front of a non specialist audience and then be cross and derisive that they don't have much of an interest in it.

Met at the air port by the Tumult team and decanted along with Andrea and Kirsten Bergenstal into a van hired from 'rent a wreck'. I had always imagined this was a turn of phrase for a less than new smell car but this vehicle seemed like a family of ferrets had been living in it for a few years, there was a massive spiders web crack across the windscreen and the rubber seals on the windscreen flapped and rattled a free jazz drum break as we drove. We stopped to buy tape to hold the thing together and I briefly perused the service station shop - sugar and porn - liquorish of every hue alongside a mono vision of mentally distraught eastern European women displaying their bottoms, there was even a large DVD library again with almost identical pictures of heavily doctored bottoms. Kirsten told me that the DVD's play in the car, going off when the car is moving, coming on automatically as soon as it stops, quite what the benefit of that is can only be pondered upon, one must assume that pornography has no relation to sex, who would want to stimulate an on-off erection sequence timed to traffic lights, red = hard, amber = tumescent, green = flaccid. So presumably pornography (I've never seen any hence my surmising) has another purpose or maybe just the pure pleasure of seeing another person utterly humiliated, a bit like the medieval enjoyment of public executions and tortures, a fascination with the degradation of another objectified human being.

The bus took us on a tour of far-flung art works in unusual locations and as with many of these kinds of works I could see little reason not to place them in a normal gallery setting, the artists had not really considered the location as significant enough to reconsider how they make work. The first effort was a Mark Dion, I don't know why but his work always raises my hackles, something, could be the experience of him and his contingent or maybe just the love in which he is held by curators because he makes work about their concerns - his pointing out of the bleedin obvious to people who seem to regard a blade of grass as a weird thing they have never before considered. Another work by Maria Lund is a horrible mess, she had instructed a local craftsperson to carve, in sequence, from a massive block of limestone each of the 10 public sculptures already hosted by the town, unsurprisingly he hadn't got far seemingly bereft of a jack hammer and other large scale industrial cutting equipment. Maybe Maria should have had a go at stone carving first; clay might have worked a little better,

The highlight was probably Thomas Kelppers reworking of a block of flats although I did keep thinking what a waste of energy, and the extension of that waste being that 'work' was in a way in public ownership, the public resources (i.e. other peoples work) that created the time for the artists to dick around. The art world is like a small village, interdependent on one another's labour, helping each other out, if someone wastes time on a pointless endeavour the whole community resents it; they could have been doing something useful like ploughing.

So the discussion centres on the division between urban and rural and on Friday morning we rise early in order to get a good run at a 3-hour discussion. It is kind of tiring, Andrea has the popular success of Folkstone to talk about whereas I have the somewhat underwhelming highs of Grizedale most of which don't really translate well into sound bites being rather lengthy explanations of complex relationship development between the over privileged and the undeserving. Still we stagger through the allotted time, maybe there were some useful thoughts. It makes me think about whether I should have followed through on the many Grizedale projects bringing them to material conclusion as Andrea did in Folkstone, creating those one-liners 'they made a mobile sci-fi library from wood from their own arboretum', but something about this sort of work makes me restless, irritated, I don't believe in it, it seems to be about career development, there seems little content, I don't understand anything from it.

The issue regarding making art, promoting culture in rural places remains a conundrum with artists and curators seeing it as a poor relation to international art and local practitioners aping urban models in an attempt to break through. As Tacita Dean expressed recently, it's just not appropriate to show her art - though made in the rural - in the place that it was made, it doesn't work and there is no point - the people that enjoy and value it will not be there. Suggesting that work is made for a very specific audience and designed to alienate all other audiences, that the place it is made is utterly insignificant.

To make significant work in non art space you need to forget about the hirearchy of the art world and create a relevant and engaging process and product. So for artists and curators there is no point if you don't believe in it as an end in itself, that there is a purpose that the work will undertake in that context. Saying that Grizedale has produced plenty of pointless art works that have served the artist and our art world credibility very well but done little for the place in which it was produced and from where much of it's raison d'etre was drawn..

Anyway for some reason the whole thing is most extraordinarily tiring, and my Saturday morning was spent marvelling at the Carlsberg museum in Copenhagen, a no money spared Victorian monstrosity of marble and brass, with an extensive collection of Greek and Roman sculpture alongside it's 19th century Scandinavian progeny, quite hideous as my mother would say - marvellous. The special exhibition of Etruscan art is a wonder, you can trust a Trusky to do something magical and practical with a lump of clay. The wall paintings did depict a few rather horrific 'games' a kind of arm wrestling where to win you force your opponents hands into a caldron of oil and another game where a blindfolded man with a club fights a man controlling a trained attack dog. Something chimes somewhere.

By the way BMI baby is a nice way to travel even if it does feel a bit like being squeezed back into a tube of toothpaste.

At Glasgow airport I am a little disappointed not to see the 'punching a burning man' stunt or indeed Elvis Presley, Prestwick being the only place his holy feet touched British soil when he bought mints from my friend jenny's friend's mum.

Posted by Adam Sutherland on 14/11/10 at 09:37

Campo Conference

Campo Adentro Conference, Reina Sofia, Madrid

Apart from the usual Easyjet horror - this is really the last time, even as in this instance when it is for friends. The flight featured the typically warm humour of the Liverpudilian crew, with the incessant high pitched drivel about nails and stockings (possibly a portent of what was to come). Some Spanish crusty mums (like yummy ones but with a heavy edging crust) seemed convinced the isle was a play opportunity and seem to have come prepared with a selection of toys suitable for the playing conditions, mostly car type contraptions, the children thoughtfully punctuated the cars and running with high pitched repetitive rhythmic shrieking, possibly some sort of crusty ritual their parents had developed with them. But possibly best and most uniquely I was to enjoy a 2 hour high volume lecture of the rise and fall of the fortunes of Sheffield Wednesday, a football club of little merit if I understood the man correctly - he repeatedly interjected the stuttering phrase, 'the, the, that's right'. Said monologue was delivered by a cat litter tester, really that is a job, he must surely be unique in this regard, he was visiting the Spanish parent company to train up further cat litter testers to whom I feel sure he will equally imbue some of the intricate detail of Wednesday, 'the, the that's right, we don't want to be a feeder team for the big boys, bought him up through the juniors, very disappointing, the, the, that's right'.

Madrid was beautiful, cool and sunny it was fun to hang with all the rural brigade, myvillages, kultivator, Angus (NVA), Fernando - albeit a little distracted. What wasn't quite so fun was the punishing regime set out over the 4 days, 12 hours of interminable talks by crapademics who appeared to be in a long term process of surmise, forming random and banal explanations of the state of things. I believe many were important politicians and figures from the establishment, Spanish universities it seems are even more corrupt than the UK ones being in the pay of various multi nationals but worse just bloody useless, un-rigorous, boring and unbelievably repetitive, the lecture programmes stretched over 12 hours with a healthy lunch break and none of the endless coffee breaks of the UK equivalent - thank god. The practical lectures were left till the 8 - 9pm period by which time any words had becomes a meaningless mush better suited to feed to babies or use as a face pack. None of the practitioners were really able to raise the tone myself included. The end result was disappointing, little energy apparent, little direction indicated and really most of the Armageddon arguments offering little substance bar a kind of swim in a luke warm brown depression.

Highlights were the meals and discussion over them and the last day set within a street market and a cheese fair organised by Fernando and highlighting the artisan cheeses of Spain, a wonderful selection. The conference finally got out to a wider audience with a kind of commentator tent featuring interviews and discussion, presentations and performances. Though this may not of had the gravitas of the Reine Sofia I am sure it was far more effective and raised the spirits and the enthusiasm.

One or two thoughts were raised that seemed interesting, the notion that the power structures were shifting away from the government towards a web connected matrix of specialist groups focused on specific subjects, and holding the knowledge and influence that affects the multinationals, that there would be an increasingly moral majority acceptance of civil disobedience.

In discussion there was an acceptance of the idea that art was a useful tool that could lead issue based culture, art was described as 'art culture' a term that meant to include the basic mind set behind any creative activity rather than any attempt to qualify or validate any actual product. The notion of art as a means to raise the value of a culture that it focuses on, a traditional notion akin to art and religion.

Really and partly in response to the endless foggy claptrap the imperative to get on with it, pushing ideas forward though action, demonstration and creative endeavour.

Moments of hilarity were few but there were moments, the translators bursting into laughter as they failed to keep up with the insanely fast speaking politicians. Being described as a planet in search of a galaxy by a bilingual man who in English seemed rather straightforward and practical but in Spanish was amongst the most flowery of linguists. Wapke refusing to read out the manifesto she had signed up to declaring 'I do not fink dat', it gave me the giggles mainly as I wrote most of the outrages and the rest of the group were clearly reading them for the first time despite the fact the site had been cleared and been up for months

But perhaps the key thing is that we can continue despite our differences, perhaps Spain was a good place to discover that, the country that lost the civil war against fascism by infighting over the definition of communism.

Reine Sofia is an institution that looks like it overdid the steroids, all soft bulging muscles and vast voids, housed in the heart of the building is Guernica in front of which a daily battle rages between the perpetual crowd of 200 and 4 security guards standing in front of the painting screaming at people to stop using flash.

If that isn't a beautiful metaphor for our condition then I am a crapademics Eastern European research assistant.

A man in front of me on Easyjet has just dropped one of the smelliest farts it has been my misfortune to encounter in an enclosed - he seems happy, oh and there's another one, my row are all covering their faces with scarves, no one seems to mind the terrorist threat, possibly at this stage it would be a blessed relief.

The, the, the that's right.

Posted by Adam Sutherland on 14/11/10 at 08:51



The family farmed at Lawson park during the war, hosting 3 teachers, and 3 evacuees, they developed the diary side of the farm making wensleydale cheese and also introduced a new flock.

Posted by Adam Sutherland on 02/11/10 at 07:51

Haunted by Ruskin

Hi All,

The long lost John Byrne here.

Sorry it been quite a while since my last blog entry but, amongst other things, I blame the recession inspired cuts to the arts - and the coalition hell released upon Higher Education.

Like most people in the arts I've had to try extra hard over the last few months to make anything like a positive move. Then again, like most people involved in the arts, that hasn't stopped my trying.

One thing that has stuck with me over the past few months, I'm more than mildly surprised say, is how badly I've been bitten by the big JR bug. So far, the conversations I've been having with people, and those that I've recorded for this blog, are really pointing towards a re-thinking of my relationship to art (and to art's relationship to me). The video I've popped up today is a case of this. As I grabbed a few JR interviews at the end of Grizedale's 're-Coefficients Club' event in sunny Sheffield last April, I couldn't help thinking of Alistair Hudson's prophetic flight of metaphoric fancy - that if big JR were to be around today he'd be wearing a hoodie and getting straight up the noses of the current art industry glitterati (and not, me thinks, in a necessarily neo-conservative way either). After all, just because much of today's off-the-shelf avant-gardism seems dull, vacuous and fascicle, doesn't mean we have to 'return' to traditional norms - unless, of course, those traditional norms are those long lost values of radicalism, activism and a will to coherently re-evaluate the present worth of our artistic and political efforts.

I guess some things just keep cropping up, re big JR, which I want to find out more about. Craft is one of them. Maybe not the usual idea of craft (as the pseudo hand whittled mass production of tourist tattle and middle class Sunday supplement escapist fodder), but the idea of Craft as a hands on approach to trying to do something different, something against the grain. After meeting up for a Jonathan Meese event at Grizedale almost a year ago, I had a really exciting conversation with about this with Charlie Gere. It's really stuck in my mind. I need to follow this up with Charlie and spend some more time reading Richard Sennett.

I've also become fascinated with Grizedale's idea of re-inventing the 'Mechanics Institute" as roving art and education intervention. It's not just that this idea appeals to me on the level of something I'd quite like to help out with (after all, tagging along with an itinerant bunch of art bedeviled educators may be my only option if cuts to Higher Education bite much harder), it's that John Ruskin's ideas seem to allow for a very contemporary re-appraisal of what education actually is and can do. Also, the Art and Design School that I currently work for at Liverpool John Moores University can, apparently, trace itself back to a nineteenth century mechanics institute… more of this when I check it out.

However, I have to admit that the biggest 'big JR' haunting has happened when I've been looking at contemporary (and historical) issues of how artists can simply find a way to do something different, worthwhile, against the grain. Alistair kindly joined us for the Autonomy Summer School at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in July and it was both surprising and exciting to find out how many Ruskinian strands of thought kept re-emerging. And, as well as this, 1848 has taken on more of a significance than I thought it would! Hmmmm…....

So, I have the big JR inspired bit firmly between my teeth now. Expect more interviews, musings, idling, rambling and surreptitious attempts at fitting square pegs into round holes as winter draws in and the long nights await. But what better way to spend nights beside the fire than with a laptop and the continuing ghost story of big JR?

Posted by John Byrne on 31/10/10 at 17:48

Local Vitamins


This week we are hosting Michael Eddy and Emi Uemura from our good friends Vitamin Creative Space in China.

Michael, who runs the Vitamin operations in Beijing and artist Emi are here to develop ideas for a project between us.

During their stay they will be contributing to a number of events we are involved in. Please feel free to come along and take part.

Tuesday 26 October, 1.00 - 4.00pm

Kendal Food Fair

Market Place, Kendal

This afternoon, we will be contributing to the South Lakes Food Group stall at Kendal Food Fair in the Market Place. We will be presenting International Eating from Local Fields, or cuisine with normally high food miles made with local ingredients.

Tuesday 26 October

6.00 - 8.00pm

Mobile Radio

Coniston Institute, Yewdale Road Coniston

Mobile Radio will be making a programme at the Institute on Mosel Wines with a wine tasting thrown in. Michael, Emi and their friend Rob have made a range of cutting edge breads to soak up the booze.

Wednesday 27 October

10.00am - 12.30pm

Fair Trade Café

We will be helping out at the Fair Trade café at St Andrew's Church, Coniston Come along for some ethical catering and lecturing.

Emi is a Japanese artists who creates complex food related art works that address social and political issues surrounding food production and consumption. A recent project in Beijing saw the creation of a bespoke lunch delivery service for office workers.

Vitamin Creative Space are based in Guangzhou and Beijing and are one of the foremost Contemporary Art organisations in China working with many of the Chinese 'Art Stars' currently working internationally.


Posted by Alistair Hudson on 26/10/10 at 12:27

New Chart Entry


The press frenzy continues with us now in the Independent's list of Britain's top 50 galleries and museums.

Click here for the link

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 25/10/10 at 16:06



Not content with an unflattering photogrpah of me in the art newspaper I now only gone and got myslef onto the hallowed turf of Artforum's Seen and Heard.

Next stop on the ladder, Grazia Style Hunter, surely.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 22/10/10 at 12:12



I've just been to Spain on a package tour. I took a flight from Manchester to Murcia, surrounded by golf clubs and young families and the rest of my package group from the North by Northwest group of northwestern northwestern art organisations (ie those that aren't in Liverpool or Manchester).

Most people at Manchester Airport were in groups too. But they all had the same t-shirts with Malaga Muff Divers on the back. We all have the uniform of regional art administrators. As treasurer of the group I could not sanction Manifesta Muff Diver shirts, though it would make a nice change from the staple art cloth sacks favoured by the artnoscenti on these occasions. There's a Biennial project.

I'd never been to Spain before this. Being a white middle class art snob from Cheshire I always assumed the place would be full of British en mass, getting pissed and inflicting their culture on the locals. And so Manifesta proved.

Manifesta8, subtitled The European Biennial of Contemporary Art Region of Murcia (Spain) in Dialogue with Northern Africa, was constructed on a trinity of curatorial collectives who had spent too much time believing their own art theory. Manifesta in dialogue with northern Africa was therefore filled mostly with a European sensibility that manifests itself either as a) Lots of photocopied pieces of A4 paper that you don't want to read pinned to the wall or b) beautifully crafted HD projections of slow panning shots of nothing in particular happening.

If I counted right, there were only 8 artists based in Africa, out of about 100. One of the curator teams was the Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum who laid on something close to the British Art Show in the old post office building. The consensus amongst the visiting audience, composed almost entirely from UK regional art tours like ours, was that this was the best bit. And there were good works here and there of course, but they could have been good works anywhere. Alexandre Singh brought some humour into the equation, as too Simon Fujiwara with his big cock. Ryan Gander made a puddle, which was nice. Pablo Bronstein and Common Culture were in a minority who actually addressed the context with any real sharpness. It was hard to find elsewhere with works that waded through and wore their academic credentials like a celice.

This comes across an aesthetic system built on extrinsic values, rather than any intrinsic will to have an effect on the world. Africa really didn't get a look in, not even in the catering.

You pay £3.5 million to get Manifesta. For that you get the art circus come to town and credibility branding and a few parties. I reckon that there were maybe 500 people at the opening party and this was the prime audience for the Biennial. That would work out at about £7,000 per head then.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 22/10/10 at 11:53

Down the hatch


Just down the road from the Frieze Art Fair, Mrs Rebecca Gander-Limoncello has organised the Sunday Art Fair in a cavernous underground boiler room. A sort of art fair without walls, it feels like the old London art world used to feel, with fashionable kids and arrangements of artlike objects in an as-you-found-it warehousey place, in a venue you have to discover, rather than have shoved up you.

You access the fair through a metal gate on Marleybone Road, descend a metal staircase, follow a service road down and around, then go through a small door, into what you you'd expect to be a bunker, possibly housing a James Bond baddy.

Inside is the closest thing the art world has to a James Bond baddy, Ryan Gander (nobody understands what he does and he's taking over the world).

"Ah, Mr Hudson, I have been expecting you."

Ryan is running an eponymous bar serving tea, coffee, wines and beer at astonishingly reasonable prices and cocktails at astonishingly unreasonable prices. He has asked a number of artists to design and make their own cocktails, which are £50 each. Liam will be serving spilt vodka on a tray, Bob and Roberta Smith a glass of freshly poured concrete, but the mixologist on duty when I arrive is Fiona Banner. She has devised a drink in which the consumer has to down as many glasses of champagne as they can as she counts you down from 10. It's rather undignified, but actually not bad value considering champers is £10 a glass over at the Big Tent.

So, seeing as the art world is on the brink of financial collapse I buy one.*

Three glasses is all I can manage and feel quite glad about this as I don't want to be sick over Ryan. The prize though is a pair of boxing gloves and signed certificate. And I got a receipt for Julie in accounts. Look out for these items in a Christies sale near you soon.

Proof of the indignity is laid bare as I appear the next day in the Art Newspaper.

Cheers Ryan.

*NB If as a taxpayer you are questioning the ethics of this, be reassured that this was part of a complex marketing excercise/Ganderwerk to get punters to part with their cash for real. A bit like those gangs of scallies from Kent do, who sell perfume at Oxford Street. And it worked because someone did actually buy one, for real.

Now i understand art.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 20/10/10 at 13:17

I saw Frieze

It doesn't seem to matter what kind of ticket you have there always seems to be some Eva Logronia, fur,denim and heels Italians sailing past you to wafting some other super pass. The ostentatious wealth of the Frieze crowd was even more evident than usual, with the VIP limo service and discounted hotels that start with the budget Connuaght at £300 a night - actually a bit of a bargain I would say bearing in mind the kind of humiliating experience you can put yourself through in a run of mill London shitpit at around half the price. The Connaught does at least make you feel good - I stayed budget before anyone gets shirty.

In general and considering the 5% of the fair that I saw I think it was a slightly livelier show than usual, fewer drawing room sketches, more big statements. I did enjoy a moment with vaulting young buck Simon Fukiwara, where I was bogusly and exaggeratedly commiserating with him on the immmmmmense pressure he must have been under in completing his Cartier commission and asked him where it was, he kindly pointed out that I was standing on it.

From our perspective Frieze offers a once a year shot in the arm (inoculation) update on how all that selling stuff is getting on and a chance to see a lot of people we saw last year and talked to about 'doing something'. It was great to see Vitamin's Hou Fang and Zhang Wei - (we are actually doing something with Vitamin next week) and Bruce Haines, attempting to complete on his commercial suicide, first giving Alan Kane a solo last year and now Des Hughes - added to which he appeared to be babysitting his 2 year old at the opening, call me old fashioned but…. still Bruce's chaotic charm will have no doubt seen him through the 15k barrier needed to break even. Toby Webster breathless as ever, the Association of Ginger Regional Curators and so on.

What always amazes me is how many people there are at Frieze that I don't know - I mean 'who are these people, where do they come from, why are they here, how much did it cost them to get here and where can I buy a 12 year old sex slave, Tahiti - great' (in the words of Gauguin). (Actually… Gauguin celebrated - Gary Glitter reviled, how so? So many similarities)

Talking of shows at the Tate that sunflower seed thing is disturbing and some. I trudged across the seeds in mounting horror. I was relieved to learn that the seeds were mould made, the thought of 100 million hand made seeds was hurting me somewhere inside. I think for anyone that's ever made something repetitively it is a shocking sight, however most of the audience seemed to misunderstand it as a beach - it's a bit like skate boarders who skate anything in the public realm, the Tate audience seem to think everything is a beach opportunity.

However it is a phenomenal artwork, with all its complex meanings, contradictions and downright wrongness. I also like that it has no visual charm at all - long live the pottery revival - (oh dam I shouldn't have said that now it'll be over).

Posted by Adam Sutherland on 18/10/10 at 11:43

A Heavenly Kitchen


Grizedale Arts collaborated with the local church (St. Andrews) on the Coniston and Torver Harvest Festival. There was a lot of donations of locally produced vegetables and well as some shop-bought stuff (though hardly any cans, and no tinned mandarin segments in sight). There were some fantastic volunteers and together we made about 150 meals that day. Mostly packaged up to go out on a local meals-on-wheels round and the rest was enjoyed that evening at a sumptuous supper. It was a real collaboration with George McClure on design, including a great logo for the plates, Glenn Boulter playing some lovely music during the supper as well as taking the photos and waitering duties, Matthew and Hermione for making realistic marzipan vegetables and lots of people who turned up to help in the kitchen. DJ Sons of Birds gave the night some edge with his gospel vinyl. Sample playlist -Violinaires - Grooving with Jesus, Tommy Ellison - Let that be a Lesson to you (Drunk Driver), Gospel Keynotes - That's my Son Hanging on the Cross, 5 Singing Sons - Are you Lonely for me Jesus, Ziontones - Use me Jesus. We got sent a nice thank you card.

Posted by Maria Benjamin on 13/10/10 at 14:17

Mat Do Stronger than Ever


New resident artist and chipper Whitechapel geezer at large Mat Do currently has an exhibition at (AND/OR) at 171 Mare Street. The Ties That Bind Us are Stronger Than Ever features work based on his residency in Egremont. Mat is due back up in early November to develop a project with the goodly people of this vale.

'Go see' as they say in the print media listings these days.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 05/10/10 at 15:42

International Village Shop Website Launch


The International Village Shop is a growing network of cultural producers who set up permanent and temporary trading places for goods that are rooted locally. The products range from horsemilksoap to porcelain Frogbutterspoons, Peter's Pots and Titschy Kitschy houses, single-village rice, music CD's, handmade arrows, etc.

Grizedale Arts, myvillages.org, public works and Somewhere have worked with shop formats, trade and collaborative production since 2003. During a myvillages.org residency at Grizedale Arts in 2007 the idea was born to join ventures and the International Village Shop began.

Since then the partners in the network extended and reworked their trading places which include amongst others the ongoing Honesty Stall at Lawson Park, an annual shop for the village fete in Höfen, a two day shop at the Royal Academy in London, a one hour shop at the Studio of Urban Projects in San Francisco and an afternoon shop in a supermarket in the Swiss village of Fanas.

During the harvest month of October 2010 the International Village Shop website will go online. The site brings the geographically dispersed temporary and permanent "counters" of this one shop together, and gives insight to products that are developed for and contributed to this shop.

Throughout October 2010 a series of live shop activities will take place across both urban and rural places in the UK and Germany.

03 October, a "Höfer Waren" 2010 Swap Shop as part of the village fete activities, from 14.00 - 17.00 in the village of Höfen in Southern Germany, to make and swap clay fruit

06 to 17 October , myvillages.org presents thee International Village Shop at the offices of Lower Saxony in Berlin, with the shop open on Thursday 7th October from 19.00 - 22.00.

08 October at 19.00, a Friday Session on Shops at the public works studio in London.

10 October, "Heaven's Kitchen" as part of the Coniston Harvest Festival, with Grizedale Arts making frozen meals and a harvest supper from donated local produce.

New products that will enter the International Village Shop during October 2010 include:

Potato Sleepers, a bag to store potatos in the kitchen, developed with residents from the potato growing village of Neuenkirchen and myvillages.org, designed by FUCHS + FUNKE & Michael Lehner and made from leftover material from the local felt factory.

Paramentenmeterware, a new fabric devoloped with professional embroiders from the Paramentenwerkstatt at the Monastery of St. Marienberg, Helmstedt, in the far East of Lower Saxony, Germany.

Clay Fruit, a new dish applying "Hausfrauentechnik" to local clay to process the fruit that grows on it in the village of Höfen, Southern Germany.

Art and Agriculture porcelain sets , a printed second hand dinner set used during the Art en Agriculture wedding reception at Kultivator in Dyested, Sweden

New partners and products to enter the International Village Shop network are welcome.

For more information:

Contact mail@internationalvillageshop.net

International Village Shop Partners:

Website design and build: Dorian Fraser Moore (the useful arts organisation), and Kathrin Böhm (public works/myvillages.org)

The International Village Shop website is financially supported by Mondriaan Foundation, Rhyzom and FondsBKVB.

Posted by Dorian Fraser-Moore on 02/10/10 at 19:44

Mechanics Institute is christened


Even before the Instituto Mecanico programme gets underway, our Sao Paulo classroom hosts a talk by Ann Gallagher of Tate to a collection of art patrons and Outset folks. As the rest of the Bienal is a cocophony of video noise and vultures squawking, Ann is delighted to find a quiet room in the exhibition, at least while Adrian Street pumps on the other side of the wall.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 24/09/10 at 14:37

Grizedale Arts at the Sao Paulo Bienal

Grizedale Arts and Jeremy Deller have collaborated on a new commission for the 29th Sao Paulo Bienal, involving a film by Jeremy about the miner, wrestler and craftsman Adrian Street; an education programme, a YouTube site and the founding of a Mechanics Institute for the Bienal.

See project page or Sao Paulo Bienal website for more information

Project page/Eflyer

Jeremy Deller and Grizedale Arts at the 29th Sao Paulo Bienal

Foundacao Bienal de Sao Paulo
Parque Ibirapuera portao 3
CEP 04094-000
Sao Paulo


25 September - 12 December 2010

Opening 21 September 1900-2200hrs

So Many Ways to Hurt You, the Life and Times of Adrian Street

A new film by Jeremy Deller, commissioned by Grizedale Arts for the Sao Paulo Bienal, telling the extraordinary story of Adrian Street.

Adrian was born into a coal mining family in Wales in 1940, but at sixteen he fled to London to pursue a career as a professional wrestler. Hanging out in Soho with the likes of Francis Bacon and Leigh Bowery, he developed a persona that combined the camp of post war pop culture with the hard-as-nails attitude of his working class past. His increasingly exotic image took him to America where he now lives, still wrestling in his 70s and running an artisan cottage industry, producing bespoke costumes to the wrestling industry. (http://www.bizarebazzar.com/art.htm)

The film is not shown in a neutral setting, but set against a mural by Paulista graffiti artist Raphael and presented as the façade of a new educational facility for the Bienal based the Victorian Mechanics Institutes.

The Mechanics Institute
Grizedale Arts and Jeremy Deller

The Sao Paulo Mechanics Institute is constructed with historic material from Coniston and John Ruskin's followers in the village, with paintings by Collingwood and crafts made at the Coniston Institute around 1900. This classroom also features work made by Portuguese pupils from the Lilian Bayliss School in Lambeth who undertook a week's course in art, craft and nature study at Lawson Park farm, Grizedale in August 2010.

However this is not an installation, but an active classroom for the Bienal to extend their own education programme in new ways. This programme is designed to work from the ground up, inviting school groups, amateurs and non-experts to teach what they know to others, creating knowledge as a network.

As part of the project a YouTube site is being developed to pass this knowledge on, with films made by the participants.

This project will in turn feed back new ideas to the Coniston Institute, to help shape its future.

Supported by Foundacao Bienal de Sao Paulo, Arts Council England and The British Council.

Posted by Dorian Fraser-Moore on 21/09/10 at 21:38

Sao Paulo Installation


Nearly there, mural complete, film running, classroom set up. Just need to make a mess in it now. Meeting education team next to plan the education programme for the room.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 20/09/10 at 18:17

New Greasy Pole Champion for 2010

Congratulations to Ben Carhart winner fo this years Greasy Pole at the Crab Fair, Egremont. Ben got the leg of lamb and runner up with the shortest ribbon was Zac Turner, who claimed his £5 prize.

Artist Jeremy Deller, who instigated the return of the Pole along with Alan Kane is currently partaking in the Sao Paulo Bienal. Private view is this Tuesday at 7 if anyone can make it.

Posted by Alistair Hudson on 18/09/10 at 14:12