If you go down to the woods today.
With arts funding cuts threatening to ruthlessly dismember (or even dissolve) regional arts projects, it’s about time we got out of the smoke and soaked up some culture beyond the M25 frontier. So I, naturally, headed straight to a gun crime hot spot and the birthplace of Harold Shipman: Nottingham, the not-so-likely setting for a thriving art scene.
Braving the cold I happened upon coyotes, clocks galore, art collectives, the prolific creative Martin Creed and some dangerously cheap bars. So here are a few tips about where to can lead your feet in the East Midlands this winter:
British Art Show 7
A free ‘snap shot’ of the latest and greatest of contemporary British art. Until 7 January at Nottingham Contemporary, the Castle and New Art Exchange.
Now just over a year old, Nottingham Contemporary is modestly beautiful building, a stone’s throw from the station in the Lacemarket area (hence why it is covered it green lace – which weirdly works, somehow). With big names David Hockney and Diane Arbus already under its belt, this gallery is beautifully designed and has a fantastic programme of exhibitions and events.
A whole host of fringe art events on until 18 December.
Artist collective who run a gallery, curate a video channel, hold gigs and have a cheap and cheerful cheap bar to wet your whistle.
Decent sized gallery space just five minutes from the city centre, in the Sneinton region.
One Thoresby Street
Despite the usual arts centre formula of galleries, cafe, gig venue, books, lofts and studios, this old building’s abundance of space across four floors manages not to dilute its content. A series of shows are lined up for the Attic space three floors up under the beams and there’s also Trade, a discrete one-room gallery with a video installation of Joseph Beuys’ I like America and America likes me (1974):
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Not-your-average-artist, Beuys was an aircraft radio operator, a combat pilot during WW2 and a prisoner-of-war before abandoning his medical studies to pursue sculpture. He went on to be a prolific artist working across a variety of media from drawing to performance art; the film on display documents one of the many radical ‘actions’ he completed during the 1970s. For this act of isolation, Beuys flew over to America, got wrapped in felt and whisked away to New York’s Rene Block Gallery in an ambulance, spent three days a cage with a coyote and piles of copies of the Wall Street Journal before returning to the airport in a similar fashion. His feet never touched American soil; a political statement relating to the situation in Vietnam. As the coyote fluctuates from being warm to almost violent, the film becomes an unpredictable and compelling watch, rather like Nottingham itself.
Tell us if you know of any other art venues in the Midlands – let’s share some knowledge, yo.