Private View II

Coventry University final year students’ work on show

Coventry University’s art and design final year students are holding their end-of-course shows across campus this week, with the chance for all to see what they’ve been working on.
The show opening is usually one of my Coventry are highlights of the year, but this year it felt quieter than usual, and the more muted tone – in the basement and top floor anyway – seemed to match the show.



Jeremy Deller exhibition at Mead focuses on industrial and musical past to raise valid questions

It’s been D-day in Coventry- Jeremy Deller day. All That is Solid Melts Into Air is the title of the touring exhibition he has curated which is now showing at the Mead Gallery at Warwick Arts Centre, at the University of Warwick in Coventry.
On the opening day Deller was in Coventry to take part in an In Conversation with Mead curator Sarah Shalgosky held at The Herbert in Coventry and then there was the exhibition opening party at the Mead. I caught up with Deller in the morning as the final touches were put to the exhibition – including fixing the jukebox which takes central position in one room.

adrian street and his father 1973 photo dennis huthinson (c) dennis h    (2)Adrian Street and his father1973 photo Denis Huthinson (c) Denis Huthinson
The exhibition is described as “Jeremy Deller takes a personal look at the impact of the Industrial Revolution on British popular culture, and its persisting influence on our lives today”.
He told me that wasn’t what he had set out to do: “Originally it was to be a show much more about music culture and industry but when I started looking at the industrial revolution it became fascinating to me and I became more and more interested in it and the effect it had on people and urbanization and the show became less about music and more about the social and cultural aspect.”


New Art Gallery brings together great overview of Richard Long’s career

There has been a lot of Richard Long’s work on show in the Midlands in the past year – and now there’s an exhibition dedicated to him at The New Art Gallery in Walsall.
The gallery is showing Richard Long: Prints 1970-2013 and a work created in the gallery, Spring Circle, 1992. The prints cover all those he has made during his career.
In a fascinating In Conversation with the Walsall gallery’s director, Stephen Snoddy, Long was questioned about his career and his work.


Ragley Hall artist’s talk before France Brodeur exhibition a real treat

France Brodeur and Dawn Harris
France Brodeur (left) with Dawn Harris, artist in residence at Ragley
Knowledge can really help illuminate an artist’s work, and hearing her talk for nearly an hour about how passionate she is for her work was certainly a good introduction to a new exhibition in Warwickshrie.
France Brodeur gave an illustrated talk about her exhibition, fittingly called A Lasting Passion, at Ragley Hall, before her exhibition opened in the Ragley Studio, in the picturesque nearby stable block, all organised by Dawn Harris who has an arts residency there and runs arts events on site.
The invitation also included a cream tea in the tearoom and, well, it didn’t tie in with my current diet plan, but it was too alluring an opportunity to miss.


Bill Drummond begins 12-year world tour at Eastside Projects, Birmingham

Bill Drummond raft bed with daffodils
An exhibition has opened in Birmingham which is then going on the longest-ever art world tour, ending back in Birmingham on 28 April 2025 – if the artist does not die beforehand, as the publicity materials dryly state.
Bill Drummond is 60, and his name to me and others of a certain age will always be synonymous with a bunch of KLF hit records of the late 1980s and early 1990s, 3am Eternal, Justified and Ancient and others from The White Room, classics of their time.
But Drummond’s life since then has become almost an eternal art performance, and this exhibition which stays in Birmingham until June 14 will see him taking part in many strange acts involving people around the city.


Belfast weekend brings wealth of rewarding art exhibitions

What seems to have become an annual weekend in Belfast was a chance to take in some of the latest exhibitions.
At Belfast Exposed, Tom Wood’s photographic exhibition Men and Women makes use of his vast archive to pull out works to make up this gender-related exhibition. People go about daily life, caught in action by Wood, who was born in Mayo in west Ireland in 1951, and studied painting at Leicester Polytechnic. It’s a fascinating set of observations, with Three Wise Women standing out, showing three women, one proudly carrying a new waste bin, carefully walking away from a very tatty outdoor sale.
The mac, Metropolitan Arts Centre, was a new find to me last year, and opened in April 2012. Last year it featured Belfast’s first big Andy Warhol exhibition. This year it’s showing works by Kara Walker, or as the mac puts it “We at the MAC are Exceedingly Proud to Present an Exhibition of Capable Artworks by the Notable Hand of the Celebrated American, Kara Elizabeth Walker, Negress.”


mac’s inspiring new exhibition explores art made by taking a walk

Taking a walk as an artistic act is explored in a new exhibition which is full of varied works from the last few decades.
Exhibitions can be like buses – you wait ages for something then two come along at once. Walk On at the mac in Birmingham is billed as the first exhibition to “examine the astonishingly varied ways in which artists since the 1960s have undertaken a seemingly universal act – that of taking a walk – as their means to create new types of art”. The current exhibition at the Mead at the Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry is described as the most comprehensive exhibition of British land art ever. In truth, there’s a lot of pieces which could fit in either exhibition, but the good thing is it means there’s a chance to really immersive yourself in artworks created from this outdoors perspective.
The mac exhibition fills the upstairs gallery, and pieces are dotted around downstairs, with some on TVs easy to miss in the entrance area.


Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota impresses at The New Art Gallery

Size may not be everything, but 400 old suitcases suspended from the ceiling certainly make an impression.
The installation by Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota at the New Art Gallery at Walsall fill a large gallery, and start off hanging near the floor at one end, and then get gradually higher so you can walk underneath. They are used and old, and you an only imagine the journeys they have made, and who their owners may have been.


Adam Buick’s Pembrokeshire kiln opening event is a new art first

Pots in landscape
I’ve been to lots of exhibition openings – but never a kiln opening before.
This was a holiday treat too, something I found out about while away in Pembrokeshire, but it’s a good idea which could do with being copied.
The ceramicist in question was Adam Buick, a name to watch whose work has already featured in national art, design and style publications. He focuses on making white porcelain moon jars, inspired by the Korean dal-hang-a-ri vessels, but of widely varying colour and size.