There’s never enough time, maybe all those people who run all those galleries that don’t ever seem to actually physically open know what they’re doing? Maybe they spend all their time doing the admin, answering the hundreds of emails, chasing the ever inefficient Royal Mail, setting up the next shows, dealing with all the artists and their individual problems as well? Maybe the others spend as much time doing all that as we do? Maybe that’s why they don’t actually have the time to actually open and actually share any art with anyone? That one down the road (the one that’s funded up the eyeballs if their website is to be believed) they managed to put on a grand total of one show last year and then only halfheartedly opened on and off for about four weeks before their shutters came down again. Then there’s that place up there on the main road, forever sending out their wordy press releases and invites (with Arts Council funded logos in the corner) while they’re busy taking shots at other galleries in the neighborhood. Not managed to catch their space open once in the two years I’ve been walking past their front door (and occasionally knocking or looking around the side just in case). Forever getting their mailouts and reading their negative comments in the press about “the wrong type of galleries” though…
Sixteen months after we took on this space and started cultivating we’re still nowhere nearer working out the London gallery system or why more of our fellow artists aren’t questioning it a little more. We’re not for one second suggesting all galleries should be run like our funhouse on the corner and I certainly wouldn’t run every space we might be involved in like we run this one – each space needs to be treated in its own way, The current home of Cultivate is not a white cube, you can’t be reverential, it needs to be alive with energy and attitude (give is that beautiful Wilkinson space and we’ll treat it like the spacious white cube it is).
If Cultivate is “the wrong sort of gallery” then so be it, frankly we’re rather pleased with the notion, we’re rather pleased to be upsetting the people who run “the right sort of gallery”, that was partly the motivation for setting up our artist-run space in the first place. We’re rather pleased with the art were showing and the way we show it, with our friendly inviting open door policy and our ever evolving ever busy program of shows and events, with the doors we’re opening for artists like Zoe Crosse, My Dog Sighs, Gareth Morgan, with the Tim Goffe piece we sold yesterday or the way people are enjoying Julia Maddison’s work, Emma Buggy’s shoes or the fine lines of Nikolai Kozin that feature in the current Back in Black show
This is what we want, e.mails like this – ” Hello again Sean, could I come and paint a word onto the wall for Ten, please?” Yes! Well when the mail comes from an artist we know and trust, we are very picky about what goes on our walls. Wonder what the word is going to be?
So yes, we’re already in to a busy February and March at Cultivate (not made any plans beyond March yet, it is always a hand to mouth battle to survive down here, can we have a small slice of that funding the sneering galleries than never actually open get please?)
The BACK IN BLACK 23 person group show of black flavours continues this (First) Thursday evening (Feb 7th), we’re officially open from 6pm until 9pm, we always end up being open much later on a First Thursday though. If you don’t know about First Thursday, then the first Thursday of each month is when lots of galleries in East London, include about ten or so down Vyner Street, come together to open late. Cultivate is surrounded by galleries that will be open late tomorrow night, looking forward to the new show at Hada Contemporary, they’re consistently good, new group show of Korean artists opening tomorrow, New things opening at Wayward, House of Vostrovska, Vyner Street Gallery and more…
The Back in Black show goes on for Thursday night and then one more weekend – Friday, Saturday and Sunday – there’s a photoset here on our Facebook page – and then things change again for the TEN show and such….
TEN – 14th – 20th February
On 15th February we host a much anticipated International Free Art Friday event on the street and the outside walls of Cultivate, we expect lots of people and lots of attention on that Friday and the weekend that follows – lots of people, lots of art, lots of media attention and lots of artists from all over the world participating and leaving art outside our door and along our street Meanwhile inside the gallery, what are we going to put on the walls for that week?
TEN – We’re going to divide our walls in to TEN areas (with black tape) and invite TEN artists to take one area each Each wall section will be 1 metre wide and 2.9 metres high (there will be blank space each side of the one metre so artists can use all their space) Artists can do what they want with space, fill it with one big canvas or piece, fill it will lots of small affordable pieces of work, install something, take it in a minimal direction and make a bold statement with one piece in the space…. Watch this space, full line up and details coming this weekend.
INTERNATIONAL FREE ART FRIDAY – 15th FEB
Time for another Free Art Friday on our corner of the street, coming up on Friday 15th Feb, we have another of our Free Art days. We’ve been holding them since our art space opened. artists have informally been leaving free art outside, or indeed inside the gallery on most Fridays. Now and again we like to get a little more formal about it and issue an invitation and publicise things a little. This time we’re thrown out the invite a little further than usual, thrown it out to the ever growing international Free Art movement and inviting artists from all over the world to either bring their free art to Cultivate in person or to mail it in for us to put outside (or inside if the weather isn’t good) on the day.
From Midday until 6pm on Friday February 15th, artists are invited to come down to the gallery and leave art outside. People are invited to come along and take part and quite take the art that has been left. The only thing we ask is that people respect this and only take one piece each. Some of the art will be right outside, some might hidden around the street (if the weather isn’t friendly then you’ll find it inside Cultivate). Any art left when we close at 6pm will be taken in and then left out again over the weekend.
Artists can bring art down to the gallery on the Friday during the event (or on the Thursday before and leave it with us, no art will be put out on the street until Friday afternoon) Artists who don’t live close enough can mail in art to us,
We follow up TEN and FREE ART FRIDAY with a show called YEASTIE GIRLS and a group show called SPRING… If you wish to get involved then here are the ARTIST CALL DETAILS… More on those shows next week, right now our minds are still on the blackness, come drink in the blackness