Thursday, 10 June 2010
June's Late at Tate Britain was hosted by Grizedale Arts. This event told the tale of Grizedale's ten-year transititon from sculpture park to radical arts organisation pioneering new approaches to artistic production and reception through a programme of out of the ordinary artists' residencies, events and social projects from their base in the Lake District National Park.
This is a story that particularly resonates with me, perhaps largely because I had the opportunity to witness it at close quarters: from walking the sculpture park as a child (and occasionally creating our own Goldsworthy-inspired mini works of land art); to more recently, the chance to take a look at the redevelopment of the Lawson Park site.
The Tate event did a good job of reflecting Grizedale's idiosyncratic and uncompromising programme, relating its story through re-enacting a range of artists' performances alongside music, drama, film, dancing and food. Bringing together a pleasing mish-mash of projects, ranging from Souped Up Urn (a tea urn created by Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane) offering tea on the lawn, to Harold Offeh performing Crow, a mesmeric wedding dance, dressed as a gigantic bird; and from Juneau Projects serving up live music and chat beneath strings of coloured bunting, to sculptor Pablo Bronstein selling crisps; the event was also a clever and frequently entertaining presentation of the hazards, as well as the highlights, of socially engaged practice - the "pitfalls and pratfalls" of this approach to art. Part village fete, part live art performance, this event was just as weird and wonderful as I might have expected.
[After discussions with both Tate and with performers from Egremont, a community that Grizedale Arts have worked with over many years , it was decided that the evening's performances should go ahead in spite of the tragic events which took place in West Cumbria last Wednesday.]
Find out more about Grizedale here or read about their new book Adding Complexity to Confusion.