Where is British art? Not in a metaphorical sense, but in a geographical sense. The real sense.

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Where can you go to see British art? Is it available to you, locally, in a way that is accessible to you? Do you feel that too much of it is kept from display?

Tony Cragg, 'Britain Seen from the North' 1981

Tony Cragg
Britain Seen from the North 1981
Plastic and mixed media
displayed: 4400 x 8000 x 100 mm
Purchased 1982© Tony Cragg

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Iain Watson from Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums has kicked things off with his thoughts:

“There’s so much going on! Here in the North East we’ve got the Turner Prize at the Baltic and that has really got people thinking and talking – there’s a great buzz about it. Last weekend was an open studios event in the East end of Newcastle – I went down both days and it was buzzing, lots of people browsing, buying, chatting – all around art! The art ranged from lithography to ‘curated’ vintage clothes for sale. Tonight at the Hatton Gallery we open a wonderful classic sculpture exhibition: John Graham Lough which features loans from public and private collections including the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the V&A and Alnwick Castle. But art is all around us! What is important is that art makes us think - as we live in a time where economic news is more than a bit grim. I’m not naive enough to suggest that art is a panacea but I do believe that British art is alive and that it’s up to all of us to engage with British art as consumers, producers and creators!”

And here’s Brian McAvera on the definition of British art:

“The problem with the nomenclature ‘British Art’ is that the art is rarely British but is usually English. Scottish, Welsh, Irish, and for that matter much art north of Watford, is routinely edited out of the equation. This is a historical phenomenon. When the establishment like a work, it becomes British (even if it isn’t) with the co-relative that if they don’t like it, then it isn’t really art of any consequence anyway.. we can regard this as a continuing legacy of colonialism, or as the pragmatism of an establishment that either can’t, or won’t see that there are alternative visions.” ‘

Where is British art?’ is one of the questions that we will be addressing at the Great British Art Debateconference on Saturday. It’s free (booking required), or you can watch the whole thing live on the web.

Your comments will be fed into the last session of the day, so please do watch and make yourselves heard; you will influence the way museums and galleries work in the future! The hashtag is #gbad11 or you can leave questions in the comments here.

What do you think? Do you feel there is a vibrant British art scene for the public, and are you part of it? Can you access art in the way you want, where you want?

Comments

d.mcardle

an oligarch an advertising executive and a politician walk into a bar ,the barman says "why the long face" ?

neil

you can find brithish anywhere between the outer hebrides and the scilly isles....
...only in 'class ridden england' is there an obsession with London centric art...don't buy into this 'capitalist' closed shop bullshit...a brit artist does not need to be based or show in London...there is a big world out there...and London is not the bloody centre of it...jeez, most pubs in London still shut at 11pm...try to find a half decent after hours bar to discuss, debate and argue about art and philosophy...there has never been anything remotely philosophical and nurturing in the 'grand scheme of worldy issues' ever to come out of London...it is and has always been a city obsessed with money, money money...that is why all major art movements were created within more 'cerebal' centres of culture on the continent and dare I say in the usa...

Geoff

You want to try living where I live. If you think that you have the audience for Art then is it possible to start your own group, or venue? If you can't get a venue then maybe something that revolves around public or private spaces/ libraries/ houses could be arranged, like book clubs do. Just an idea. :)

Geoff

You want to try living where I live. If you think that you have the audience for Art then is it possible to start your own group, or venue. If you can't get a venue then maybe something that revolves around public or private spaces/ libraries/ houses could be arranged, like book clubs do. Just an idea. :)

Rob Van Beek

Neither "Britishness" nor "Art" seem very interesting concepts at the moment. Fan what embers you can.

Tracy Hunt

I live in Cheltenham which has numerous major festivals througout the year - races / literature festival / science festival / Jazz festival / Food festival.
We have one art gallery and museum, but no arts centre, something the town is desperately in need of and has needed for many years!
Lots of artists in the area, Damien Hirst lives nearby in Stroud, but nothing going on here in the 'capital of the Cotswolds'.
Its Dire!

Jan Tozer

John Piper was recently featured at Towner Art Gallery- Eastbourne-Brighton Museum recently featured The works by duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell - Sir Peter Blake brought his CCA bus to Brighton Festival - Pop Art on each deck and for sell - I was introduced to Sir Peter Blake and he was very generous and helpful - kindly gave me some signed memorabilia

Paul Biddle

I think it must be one of those incredibly well-kept secrets

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d.mcardle

no you muppet it has never been more important for art to reflect where Britain is at the moment!

d.mcardle

and I'll give you one good blah blah blah out of London ; Jeremy Bentham.

d.mcardle

hhmmmnnn.... well that's what happens when you walk into a bar !