If you’re heading down to London any time soon there are a few exhibitions that are worth seeing and are varied enough for there to be something to suit anyone’s tastes.
I wasn’t excited at the thought of Bronze at the Royal Academy but it turned out to be a real winner. Featuring items made out of bronze dating back BC until the present day it delights with its scope, its variety of subject matter, its world-wide range of exhibits and the many uses they were put to.
From the decorative to the useful, the ceremonial, the religious and sculptural representations, they’re all here. My favourites include Buddhas, such as a late sixth century Buddha Shakyamuni ubn Abhaya-Mudra from India, to much more recent works by Brancusi and Giacometti.
So George Shaw didn’t win the Turner Prize. The disappointment in the packed big hall at the Herbert art gallery was palpable, as many people left within a few minutes, spurning the after party.
But although it’s disappointing and he’ll miss out on some of the instant attention (and prize money) the win brings, it’s hardly like to harm his career or artistic reputation. George Shaw is already well respected in the art world, by the critics, by collectors and by a growing number of art fans and that will not change.
Google Turner Prize and flick through a list of the past winners and other nominated artists – the ones who’ve gone on to greatest artistic success/fame/richness aren’t always the winners.
Timing is everything, and you can’t predict the future.
So five years ago to the week when Rosie Addenbrooke, The Herbert’s Senior Events and Exhibitions Officer asked George Shaw about staging an exhibition in his home city she couldn’t have known the opening of the exhibition would coincide with his nomination for the Turner Prize.
So just 18 days before he finds out whether he has won or not, the exhibition finally opened tonight, with hundreds of people there to quaff champagne and celebrate.
George’s paintings focus on the Tile Hill estate where he grew up, and have been shown in London, hugely-successfully at the Baltic in Gateshead, and elsewhere – but never in such number in Coventry,
IN The Herbert gallery in Coventry the paintings are on the wall, and the final preparations are being made for George Shaw: I woz ere to open to the public.
It’s the first big home-town exhibition for George, born in the city in 1966, and he’s here overseeing the work and admitting to feeling a little anxious about how it will be received.
“It’s all right doing this, thinking about it before I came to do it wasn’t. Without Rosie’s [Addenbrooke, senior exhibitions and events officer] enthusiasm and commitment it wouldn’t have happened. It was something I was avoiding. You are always afraid of doing something you haven’t done before.
“I was slightly anxious the reality of the situation would take over from the work. In many ways it has but not in a negative sense.”
The shortlist for art’s most prestigious award, the Turner Prize, is due to be announced tonight – and Coventry-born artist George Shaw is among the contenders.
The list is due to be announced on Channel 4 news from 7pm tonight, but several leaks on Twitter and on various websites name Karla Black, Martin Boyce, Hilary Lloyd and George Shaw as the names up for the award this year.