Everyone’s A Critic


BLOG - Groundwork

News of a new art gallery opening in my hometown is something to be celebrated, it’s not a common occurrence.

Reporting on the news last week the local press seemed less convinced.

“Visitors to the new GroundWork gallery in Lynn will be forgiven for doing a double-take as they come through the front door. For there on the newly-painted white walls is a huge brown stain, which at first glance looks like the departing builders have had a mishap.”

The “huge brown stain” is actually an original piece by Richard Long, one of his series of “thrown splash works” created using mud and made “spontaneously on gallery walls and floors”, (with the mud in question coming from the river which sits a few metres from the gallery’s front doors).

A further piece in today’s paper continues with the theme of damning with (very) faint praise – “Freshly painted and bursting onto the Purfleet scene* is a bright new gallery displaying the work of local and internationally renowned artists and as part of the launch there is a new piece created in mud by an artist which has been commissioned specifically, I imagine, to provoke a response from visitors.”

With the inference being that provoking a response is somehow a bad thing.

Quiet why we want art that doesn’t provoke a response seems a little lost on the writer, who goes on to proudly tell us that they previously found themselves “almost incandescent with disbelief at the sight of people worshiping at the shrine of Damien Hirsts’ fish tank full of dead shark or eulogising over the meaning of Tracey Emin’s tragic camping installation”.

As it happens the gallery are quite clear about what they want to achieve (although perhaps the local press have taken umbrage at the missing apostrophe in their promotional material), and the opening exhibition ‘Sunlight and Gravity’ with works by Roger Ackling and Richard Long seems a pretty decent first effort.

Here’s hoping for more of the same.

BLOG - Richard Long

*To clarify ‘the Purfleet scene’ isn’t some impossibly outré collective, in this instance the writer is referring to a particular part of my hometown. That said if anyone wants to join me in creating said scene please apply at the usual address.

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