Art events which stand out from 2010

It’s that time of year when it’s customary to look back as well as forward. In the newspaper column on Friday I looked at some of the highlights coming up this year, and now I’m mulling over what will stick in the memory from the local art world in 2010.
The Leamington Studio Artists set up their own exhibition space, Gallery150, in the town’s old library, and held some memorable exhibitions there, including Dominica Vaughan’s vibrant paintings. There was also the memorable first night of one exhibition which clashed with the meeting of a local history group, whose members resolutely sat there while I tiptoed round the edge taking notes, and the private view was called off. Gallery150 has now moved into new premises in the Regent Court Shopping Centre and ended the year with a show of excellent photographs of Paris by Florian Louineau.
Bill Zygmant also exhibited his 1960s photos at Gallery150, and seemed to be everywhere, even popping up at a 60s weekend at Compton Verney, but he has such great stories to tell it’s always a joy to bump into him.
The White Room in Leamington continued its mix of shows, but is still successfully promoting young artists, including Tom Lewis who is rewarding their support with national success. What I remember most from their private views is interviewing artists on the pavement outside as they take a smoking break….
Coventry’s The Lock moved to new, more-characterful premises at the end of the year and it will be good to see what shows energetic Emma O’Brien pulls in this year. Interviewing Angela Hallam there, who turned out to be the creator of Sky Blue Sam, has stuck in my mind from lastyear!
At The Herbert, the Street Art show was given a huge launch. The show personally left me cold, and the first night was chaotic. Inviting everyone to the opening may have seemed like a good idea at the time, but the young drunk lads, carrying their own bag of cans and lighting roll-ups in the gallery, who I eventually saw getting thrown out, proved the need for a better door policy.
The Herbert’s David Rushton exhibition, Models and Metaphors, Concepts and Conceits, was an intelligent show which was a joy to visit more than once, and earlier in the year the Robert Longden canal life photographs was also stunning, and an Arts Council touring exhibition brought world-class names to the city.
The Mead at the University of Warwick continued its eclectic mix of exhibitions and Lindsay Seers’s works focusing on her missing sister stayed with me.
Rugby Art Gallery‘s continued to stage exciting exhibitions to bring new works to the town, including a show by Japanese and Norwegian artists, and one focusing on dance and film.
Leamington Spa Art Gallery showed works by former local photographer Harry Hammond which brought music icons to life. Compton Verney‘s Volcanoes exhibition showed how to make a success of a thematic show with works from several centuries.
There’s a load of exhibitions opening across the area in the next few weeks, so it will be interesting to see what we remember from 2011….

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