Writing / Grizedale Arts Blog / John Ruskin and reinvention

Sao Paulo Installation

Adrain Street film and mural by Raphael
Inside with drawings by Lambeth School children, 'Ruskin' and the Collingwoods
Cabinets of Coniston Curiosities
Jeremy bought some cacti to soften it up a bit, but looking for a cat calendar for that human touch
See how the Institute does that 'inside/outside' thing, see what we're doind there?

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

John Ruskin is Big Leggy

Big Johnny Ruskin strode the Victorian art world with balls of steel, a heart full of moral invective, keen critical sensibilities, dubious/unconventional/repressed sexuality (delete as appropriate) and a penchant for spotting and supporting young talent. Oh, and don't forget those sideburns. If he were alive today he would probably be a judge on the X-Factor.

Such a flippant view is, hopefully, anathema to supporters of the heritage industry - that specialist sector of the culture, tourism and leisure industry whose job it is to produce a dewy eyed retro market for Past Time franchises, Laura Ashley wallpaper and endless TV regurgitations of period and costume dramas. You are not the guardians of history. You are the producers of a marketable image which is just as crass, tacky and removed from the 'reality' of culture (whatever that might or could be) as Father Christmas and Sonic the Hedgehog (on second thoughts, apologies to Sonic).

This blog intends to help wrestle the memory of John Ruskin away from those who wish to fix him as a definable historical identity - all medieval moralism and anti-technological rant. Instead, it intends to return John Ruskin to the land of the living - as a complex cipher for understanding our current dilemmas with ever changing relationships between art, artists, culture and society.

Lofty stuff I hear you cry!

But manageable if you are prepared to work with me (and indulge me a little) in the production of a meandering text/video blog whose singular intention is to uncover what Ruskin might mean to artists, curators, producers and publics today. So here's looking forward to an amusing and possibly informative culture clash of the old, new, borrowed and often simply made up.


Posted by John Byrne on 01/11/09 at 18:22