Day two and three of the “re-up” experiment was received with curious interest by our gallery visitors both regular and new – people who had deliberately come to see what it is all about as well as the people who are regularly to be found just wondering down Vyner Street exploring and looking to see what the various galleries have to offer of a weekend
Alas, you artists, on the whole, are drowning us with your apathy, or your need for it always to be so formal. “why didn’t you do a proper artist call?” Surely the idea is simple, submit your work, make us want to include it, be the one to fill the blank spaces on the gallery wall. Excite us, make me want to take down my work and put yours up instead – get your art in front of the hundreds of people who we know are going to turn up again, whatever the weather, this weekend and especially this coming First Thursday evening. We expected you to be fighting for that empty plinth – not the case and so today the empty plinth was re-up’ed by a familiar artist to Cultivate regulars, his work is often to be seen in our space, an Irish artist called Arthur Guinness, one of our favourites artists here at Cultivate, his work is a little overpriced at £3.90 a piece, you usually find it on sale at the Victory gallery over the cobbled road, we’re always happy to give his crisp blackness and creamy flow some space at Cultivate though, Arthur is an artist to celebrate.’
Meanwhile the white wall space that was still empty at the start of day three is now mostly taken up by bits of things hanging around the gallery – unwanted pizza flyers painted on, old pie boxes exclaimed on, old newspapers used on the gallery floor while I’m working, all thrown together rather thrown away, thrown in to a frame that someone didn’t want, a frame found, miraculously unbroken, in a skip full of bricks and builders rubble on the way to the gallery the other day… nothing goes to waste and if you aren’t going to re-up the space then I’ll sit in here and make my own damn art, fill it myself… Anger is an energy, so is collage
I don’t know, the spontaneous idea of a “re-up” excited us, the idea of showing work on a corner in a space on a street where people want to engage with art – don’t know about you and your art, but as a working artist, that chance to interact and engage with people excites me (and people do still want to engage down Vyner Street, whatever Nettie Horn and her propaganda-peddlers might want to tell you, whatever happened to her anyway? Where are you now Nettie? Didn’t work out for you in upmarket Fitzrovia, what a shame). Surely you artists want people to see your art? T repeat what I said yesterday, at least the YBAs had some get up and go about them, you really do make me want to crochet….
And so day two and three were received by the Vyner Street visiting public, on the whole, with a positive response, with interested debate, excitement, with questions, with curiosity, “surely you can’t change a show every day?” – the people who want to engage with art, the gallery going public, are getting it, indeed the art buying public are getting it – well a couple of my paintings sold this Saturday – that’s one hundred and ninety six pieces of my own work sold via Cultivate this year now, (three hundred and ninety odd if I count the pieces in both hundred piece pieces as individual pieces of art), I like having this “art-chute” for the art I make, I like getting my art out there, so does Emma, she just called Cultivate a beautiful art-chute for her creativity
This Re-up show is about re-uping the space, replenishing it, revitalising it, evolving it, it is also about YOU artists re-uping us. Emma Harvey and I have been doing this Cultivate thing by ourselves for over two years now, we ask again, do you artists actually want a genuine artist-run space that tries to treat you and your work respectfully? Do you want something that really is genuinely about artists doing it ourselves rather than letting ourselves be exploited? At the moment you are mostly telling us you don’t.
Got approached by a gallery not far away from us here in East London the other day via another cold-calling style e.mail that I assume they were sending to everyone, a gallery claming to be an artist-run space and wanting new “members” to join them for 2014 (word is the 2013 “members are working out they got suckered now, they need some fresh suckers now). Three hundred quid to be a “member” and join their “artist-run” space for a year, and for that all you seem to get, is a chance to be in four one week long group shows a year – are they serious?! Four group shows, one week long, in a so called artist-run gallery space, and they want you to shell out three hundred of your hard-earned notes for the privilage? Are they having a laugh? Mind you their website and their forms are all very official and plush looking, shows all tediously hung by the art-school book, all neatly laid out with an on line website full of the kind of stiff formality that would send most people to sleep. Now then artists, is that what you want? If it really is then we’re off. Cultivate can’t exist in the form it exists in now if you artists don’t want to, if you’re happy to go on handing your money, time and effort to these artist-exploiting art-fairs and galleries that really do take the absolute piss out of you artists when it comes to fees and commission percentages, if you’re happy with all that then we’ll shut up and go away
Like we’ve said many times, we never intended to keep all this cultivation going down Vyner Street for this long any way, it was a six month artists-doing-it-ourselves experiment that has now gone on for two long time-eating non-stop years, an experiment that you artists are now telling us you don’t really want. Besides the so called Street Art scene, , in terms of the new artists and new energy, in terms of the small places that should be alive with fresh excitement and risk-taking attention-grabbing evolution, with a very few exceptions, is really not very exciting. Where are you artists? Everything is so conservative, tired, restrained, formally hung, done by the book, even when your art is exciting the way you present it and ask is to interact with is is so uninspiring. Re-up us, your attitudes are asleep, your media moribund, you scene is unexciting, besides the whole different kettle of flapping fish that is street artists, most of you are so conservatively boring. Here we are. sandwiched between the big black door down the road, and the art marketing sell-it-like-a-furniture-store merchants up the road, surrounded by ten or so other closed-door well behaved galleries and spaces, we could “flip shit up” down here if you really wanted to. I wanted you to excite me this week, the re-up was about YOU replenishing us, making us want to go on with it all a little longer, I wanted an “art-hit” off your excitement, your creativity, instead all you are confirming is that it has all run it’s course, and that rather then revitalising, it is time to take ourselves somewhere else and paint the outside walls back to formal battleship grey… you aren’t re-uping us, we’re thinking it might just be time for us to flip off…The East End deserves more…
Day three or Re-up, brought lots of people to see what had changed since opening day, it brought no new art to re-up things, besides the pieces we made ourselves with help of Arthur G and his beautiful black magic…
TODAY’S RE-UP TUNES