Thursday, 26 May 2011

New Jem Finer project launches Stour Valley Arts' new gallery space

'Still' by Jem Finer. Photo © Jem Finer

Stour Valley Arts in Kent have commissioned 'Still', a new artwork by Jem Finer to celebrate the opening of their new gallery in Ashford town centre. The artwork will be launched at the gallery on 11th June and will remain on display until 26 July 2011.

Jem Finer is renowned for his spectacular Artangel commission 'Longplayer' a one thousand year long musical composition and his triple award winning 'Score for a Hole in the Ground' at Stour Valley Arts, a work that relied exclusively on gravity and weather to create an endless score. Jem was also one of the founding members of The Pogues.

Following the success of 'Score for a Hole in the Ground', SVA is proud to present this new work resulting from Finer's further exploration of King's Wood. Taking advantage of the remote forest setting, Finer hid a solar-powered camera within a tree for a full year - a passive observer, recording all that passed before its lens. Finer then designed computer software to continually re-order the 18,000 captured photographs. This generative sequencing system means that the flow of time is continuously being stretched and compressed, ebbing and flowing. Between dawn and dusk the viewer is as likely to witness the passing of a single day as the turning of a full year's seasons.

In 'Still', Jem Finer has created a new form lying somewhere between photography and film - a still image in a state of constant flux. We see the same view through the seasons, through rain, shine, day and night. What seems static is actually an endless series of transitions both subtle and dramatic. No two viewings of the work are ever the same, as the film is continually finding new and different paths through the days, weeks and months.

'Still' reveals Finer's interest in designing intricate programs and complex structures that enable an interface with the macro, the cosmological and the infinite.

About Stour Valley Arts
Stour Valley Arts in Kent is recognised as one of the leading commissioning agencies for site specific contemporary art in the UK. It was established in 1994 and quickly gained an international reputation for showing exciting new contemporary art works within a forest setting.

The organisation is situated in the King's Wood, a 1500-acre forest and designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Challock, Kent. The ancient woodland, was historically a royal hunting forest, and although a large herd of fallow deer still inhabit the place, it is now better known for housing important art works that are visited by thousands of people every year.

Gallery Expansion
The success of the organisation means it is now able to expand and to have a visible presence outside of the forest. The new gallery space will act as a fulcrum or focal point for the organisation playing a central role in highlighting the work of SVA at King's Wood. As well as a being a nerve centre and communication hub for the organisation, the new gallery space in Ashford underscores and cements the relationship it already has with the town. The gallery will provide a gateway to the organisation's natural home, King's Wood.

Stour Valley Arts Gallery is located 5 minutes from Ashford International Station with High Speed connection from London St. Pancras and connections from Charing Cross, Victoria, Brighton and Margate.

A fleet of high speed trains means that Ashford is just 37 minutes from St Pancras International, parts of East Kent are now effectively closer to the West End than some areas of outer London.

Contact Details
Stour Valley Arts Gallery, Elwick Road, Ashford, Kent TN23 1NR. Gallery opening hours, Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 5pm
Launch Event Saturday 11 June 2011, 11am-2pm

Channel Islands public art project

One of Andy Goldsworthy's Alderney Stones.
Photo: Chris George

The Channel Islands of Alderney, Guernsey, Herm and Sark (otherwise known as the Bailiwick) are the setting for new art commissions by artists including Andy Goldsworthy, Antony Gormley and Cornelia Parker.

Goldsworthy's work Alderney Stones consists of ten stones, each 180cm in diameter, weighing three tons and containing locally sourced materials. One work is sited in an old bunker (pictured above).

Cornelia Parker's proposal is for a conceptual artwork on Herm....
'As one would look to place a ‘string of pearls’ around the neck of a beautiful woman, Parker proposes to surround Sark with its own necklace. Cornelia Parker proposes to walk the cliff paths, taking with her a pearl necklace and at various vantage points around the island, of which there are many, she intends to ‘throw’ a pearl (stripped from a necklace) into the sea.

Effectively there will be ‘nothing’ to see but visitors using their mobile phones, will at the various locations around the island, be able to relive the moment that Parker actually threw the pearl over the cliff face.'
Gormley's sculpture is pictured below and follows the siting of a previous work by him at Castle Cornet in Guernsey between 2008 and 2010.

Another Time XI by Antony Gormley, sited on Herm.
Photo: Kevin Rushby

The Art and Islands Foundation behind the project is led by founding Director, artist and art teacher Eric Snell, who was born in Guernsey. Snell set up the first art school on Guernsey in 1994.

To read a travel article by Kevin Rushby about his visit to meet Andy Goldsworthy to discuss the project, visit:

To find out more about the project, visit: 

Matchmakers Wharf Public Art Commission advertised (budget £30k)

Telford Homes Plc and Acme Studios are offering the opportunity for an artist (or more than one artist if working collaboratively) to undertake a permanent commission at Matchmakers Wharf, Telford Homes' new mixed-use development due to be ready for occupation from June 2012.

Matchmakers Wharf, currently under construction on the site of the Lesney Matchbox Toys Factory, is situated on the River Lee Navigation close to the Olympic Park and will consist of over 200 homes, offices, shops, commercial space and 49 purpose-designed artists' studios  to be owned and managed by Acme.

Block A of Matchmakers Wharf, Homerton, E9, which including the glass trapezoid, will include 49 purpose-built affordable studios for artists.
Block A of Matchmakers Wharf, Homerton, E9, which including the glass trapezoid, will include 49 purpose-built affordable studios for artists.

The partners wish to commission a 'public artwork' which will be an imaginative response to the history of the site, and to the architecture and function of two (visually and / or conceptually) linked external 'locations' within the new development. The work at the first location will be at the entrance to the site and should make reference to the former Lesney Matchbox Toys Factory, once a major employer in the area, whose die-cast manufacturing included the world-famous Matchbox toys. This work should act as an introduction and signpost to a second location: a busy public pedestrian intersection just beyond the entrance.

The second location at ground level, approximately triangular in shape and close to the artists' studios, will naturally function as a meeting point for residents and visitors, and it is envisaged that the work may include seating and planting, and could be interactive and involve the use of lighting.

An understanding of the history of the original toys factory, its relationship with the people who worked there and the wider community, will be necessary to inform an appropriate response to the commission. It is envisaged that local people will be involved in some way in the research process and creative development of the work.

The 'work' (at both locations) will be expected to embrace the use of sustainable materials and construction techniques, be durable, and future running and maintenance costs should be low.

The value of the commission is a maximum of £30,000 (to include fee, material, fabrication and installation costs). A separate budget will cover the costs of associated site preparation and the integration / landscaping of the commissioned work into the site.

Selection of the proposal will be via a two-stage process, with artists submitting indicative proposals by 17 June 2011 from which three proposals will be funded for further development. Artists selected for the second stage will receive a fee of £500 and be required to submit their detailed proposals by 5 August 2011.

The selection panel will include representatives from Telford Homes Plc, Acme Studios, Stock Woolstencroft (architects) and Standerwick Land Design (landscape architects).

The work will be completed and launched in May 2012.

For more information on how to apply, please visit:

Acme Artists Studios Limited 44 Copperfield Road, Bow, London E3 4RR
T 020 8981 6811 E W

Bristol launches Public Art website

Bristol City Council has launched a new website with details of art commissions in the public realm in Bristol. 
The public art programme has been active since the adoption of a Public Art Policy in 2000, and the development of a Public Art Strategy in 2003. To date over a hundred commissions have been produced in a wide range of settings.
You can find out more by visiting the website at

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Pae White artwork at Art Institute of Chicago upsets brides

Brides who have booked summer weddings on an outdoor terrace at The Art Institute of Chicago have discovered their coveted view of the city's legendary skyline and the greenery of Millennium Park will be blocked by a new artwork by Pae White called 'Restless Rainbow'.

The artwork draws on Pae's interest in and knowledge of graphic design, textiles and animation to wrap the terrace in a vibrantly colored, energetic abstracted rainbow. It is the result of the artist wondering 'what would happen if a rainbow became disorganized (sic) - would it fall from the sky? What if a rainbow misbehaved, causing its color (sic) spectrum to take on new order? Would it include black, as rainbows in comic books often do?' 

The Art Institute of Chicago say, 'the artwork inverts the tradition of looking out from the terrace, and instead invites visitors to enjoy it as an immersive space.'

One of the brides, Gabrielle Berger told the Chicago Tribune, "I knew what risks we were taking in booking the space, but what they've selected to display in the space during wedding season is absurd." Renting the terrace costs $5,000, and it's $10,000 for the entire third floor, including the Terzo Piano restaurant, according to Art Institute spokeswoman Erin Hogan.

The artwork, which opened to the public on Saturday 21st May, consists of colorful vinyl strips that wrap around the terrace's glass panels and sweep across the floor. The panels on the north end of the terrace, which overlooks over Millennium Park, are 18 feet tall.

Hogan said that once White's plans for the terrace were finalized in March, the museum informed those who booked summer weddings and other events. She said the museum is looking for ways to address the concerns of wedding parties that have expressed concerns over how White's art will affect their celebrations. "At the same time, we are an art museum committed to bringing contemporary art — and art of all periods and places — to our visitors," Hogan said. To appease unhappy couples, the Art Institute has been coming up with alternatives, including full access to Nichols Bridgeway, which connects the modern wing to Millennium Park.

Anna Gonis reserved the terrace to serve cocktails for her wedding party on June 25. She has persuaded 10 other couples to join her in a formal complaint to museum officials.

White visited the exhibit on Tuesday, as it was still being installed. She said she had just learned about the unhappiness of some future brides who planned to use the site. "It is just news to me, so I am just kind of processing it," said the artist. "My intention was not to be disruptive."

To read the full story, visit:

To find out more about the exhibition, visit: 

Monday, 9 May 2011

Ixia conference about the future of public art is announced

At last! After a deafening silence since the cuts were announced, Ixia have planned a conference to discuss and reflect on how public art has been affected by the cuts and where things are going (if anywhere). There is a sprinkling of performance and theatre specialists among the speakers which is interesting as this area of work has in many cases seen an uplift in Arts Council funding. Is there a perception that these two areas are expected to cross over more, or an assumption that they already do?

Speakers include Andrea Schlieker (Folkestone Triennial), Mark Ball (Artistic Director, London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT), Sally Tallant (Head of Programmes, Serpentine Gallery), Brigitte van der Sande (Curator, War Zone Amsterdam) and Dr Louise Owen (Lecturer in Theatre and Performance, Birkbeck, University of London). 

There are afternoon breakout sessions planned on the subjects of Regeneration & Planning, Tourism, Culture, Health, Tourism and Evaluation.

To see the full programme and find out how to book, visit

The conference is free of charge and takes place in Bristol on Friday 10th June 2011.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Lewis Biggs to leave Liverpool Biennial

Liverpool Biennial’s founding Director and Chief Executive Lewis Biggs is leaving after 10 years in post.

Paula Ridley, Chair of Liverpool Biennial said, ‘We are extremely sad that Lewis is leaving as his contribution as founding director of the Biennial has been key to this success and to the benefit it has produced for Liverpool. The Biennial’s popularity, impact, experienced management team and support from partners underlines the fact that Lewis Biggs leaves the organisation in a position of strength. A challenging economic environment means the resources available to the next Biennial will be reduced, but our commitment to the best quality art has not.'

The recruitment of his successor is now under way, led by Paula Ridley - for further details visit the opportunities page of the Biennial web site.

To read the full press release, visit:

Art & Architecture Journal blog

Friday, 6 May 2011

Andy Warhol statue unveiled in NY

(photo: James Ewing)

Phew, that's better. Couldn't leave that horrific Michael Jackson sculpture on this page for any longer.

'The Andy Monument' by American artist Rob Pruitt was commissioned by the Public Art Fund and will be on display until 2 October 2011. It is located at the northwest corner of Union Square outside 860 Broadway, where the Factory was between 1974 and 1984. One block away is 33 Union Square West, the Factory’s location from 1968 until ‘74 (and where Valerie Solanas shot Warhol in ‘68), and a short hop around the corner is 213 Park Avenue South, today an innocuous cafĂ©, but once known as Factory hangout and punk birthplace Max’s Kansas City.

You can read a full article about it on the Frieze website at:

or on the Public Art Fund's website at: