Here’s a video I recorded with Bob and Roberta Smith in a Leytonstone kitchen.
How am I supposed to process the latest arrival at East Village. I already feel unnerved by the looming presence of the monolithic blocks – this Mega City One in its infancy then these ‘things’ appear over night like something from an episode of Doctor Who – apparently benign and cheerful but containing an underlying threat of some terrible robot death.
It seems I am not alone in my fear of this place – whoever was commissioned to create what I suspect is possibly ‘public art’ had a similar reaction.
I received an email from artist Penny Gaff in response to my Trews Report on the Poor Doors at No.1 Commercial Street about her V.I.P project from 2013 that “explores the idea that everyone is V.I.P.”
The project is a series of photos “featuring homeless folk surrounded by red rope and gold stanchions” shot around South Central Los Angeles. They’re really powerful images that subvert the everyday image of homelessness.
Have a look at the rest of the series on Penny’s website (scroll horizontally)
Headed up to Scarborough at the weekend for the inaugural Art Party Conference organised by Bob and Roberta Smith and Crescent Arts.
I’ve been to Labour Party Conference a few times and performed my satirical comedy show The Soapbox Cabaret on two occasions – but as soon as I stepped inside the Spa at Scarborough it was apparent that the Art Party Conference would be a world away from the murky world of block votes and corporate lobbying.
The target was clear – Tory hateboy Michael Gove, the man with a mission to remove art from education, and erase the cultural memory of the nation. Where Thatcher was the ‘milk snatcher’ Gove is the ‘crayon grabber’.
Bob and Roberta Smith read out his impassioned letter to Michael Gove making the case for the importance of art in education.
Artists had come from far and wide to rally to the cause, show their work and generally have a bit of a laugh in the bracing North Yorkshire air. I was there to present my documentary about Bob – Make Your Own Damn Art, a film that focuses on the humorous polemical campaigning heart of Bob’s work.
There was a great programme of films shown in the splendour of the Spa Theatre, a space more accustomed to vaudeville than artist film and video. Amongst the films there was Cornelia Parker’s Chomskian Abstract, Ian Bourn’s zen meditation on the cockney staple Black, Green and White – the way of the pie, and a John Smith programme that featured the world premiere of another of his hotel diary films, Demo Tape, as well as classics such as OM and Gargantuan.
Apparently Michael Gove was seen walking out into the sea the next day in his pants before disappearing beneath the waves.
I spotted this wonderful Bob and Roberta Smith poster at White City Tube Station a few years back.
When I went back with a better camera to document it properly it had gone …. but where?
Perhaps it shunted further west down the Central Line to Perivale or Greenford.
The Leytonstone Centre for Contemporary Art finally has a rival – artist Lizzie Hughes’ ‘occasional project space’ Nook.
I went along on Sunday to have a gander at the inaugural show – Constellations, featuring the work of Ian Bourn, Matt Hale, Robert Ellis, and Pat Naldi and I spent more time in the Tardis-like gallery than I have in many of the rooms at Tate Modern.
Leytonstone may yet reclaim its place as London’s Left Bank.
Opening times and info about Nook here