Two years ago this week were in the middle of the Play show, a beautiful big group show in what was then a soon to be torn down East London warehouse just off London Fields here in Hackney (gone now of course, more expensive flats controlled by property developers out to charge as much as they possibly can in terms of rent that no one from around here can afford). Play was brilliant even if we do say so ourselves, it was done in the spirit of many things that had previous happened in the name of art and instigated by pro-active artists and curators over the last twenty or so years here in East London A year before Play we were enjoying a final defiant summer in Vyner Street before that once rather unique and special street fell to gentrification, greed, the poison of Limewharf’s new owner, “Future Thinker” and “artist” is what he likes to call himself as he buys up spaces and closes them all down to be replaced by more glass-fronted coffee shops, how many more glass-fronted over-priced coffee shops do we need here in East London?. Have you been down Vyner Street recently? How sad does it feel down the old street, heart and soul torn out, community ripped apart.
Surviving as artists in East London is getting tougher and tougher, finding space that isn’t tied up by the outrageously unreasonable greed of operations like Appear Here is getting harder, alternative spaces are closing, establishment art spaces just aren’t an option these days We’ve put on something like 150 art shows and events on under the Cultivate banner here in Hackney, Bethnal Green and East London now, mostly ignored by the London arts media and the the art establishment of course (open hostility from some who we might have dared to question now and again, don’t be expecting to see any of our shows listed or mentioned by those London Art Map people anytime soon and don’t be expecting to see anything on the pages of FAD, they’re too busy or so they said, we’ve reached a point where we expect no support from anyone in the arts media now). Play happened two years ago this week, Interact opens next week, we’re rather looking forward to it…
We started Cultivate six years ago because we weren’t satisfied with the way artists were being treated, we dared to think there might me a slightly different way to do things, a way that might be a little more friendly in terms of the artists as well as the all important interaction with the public, a better Woolworths you might say, no accident that Joshua Compston is often referenced around these parts.
I’m proud of that Play show that happened two years ago, I look back at what we did there with a big smile, looking back at some of the artists who have been involved in our many shows makes me smile, people like Agata Cardoso or Julia Maddison or Skeleton Cardboard or that brilliant painter who was more interested in playing football in the end or that strange Spanish guy with his coloured bombs. I loved that umbrella in the middle of Play, Play was brilliant, gathering up all this art and these artists is a buzz, art excites…..
Yes, I will say it, Play was brilliant! Gathering up all this art and these artists is a buzz, art excites, painting excites, curating excites. Gathering all these artists and pulling together these events is hard work, and yes it would be nice to have a little more support, a touch of coverage, but hey, we don’t expect it now, we know people will turn up, interaction will happen, we know Play was great, we know what we did in the middle of Vyner Street was (mostly) great, or that the Stinging Netil was rather good, or the Yeastie Girls show or that time it got all rusty with the Can Man or that show under the railway bridge was great We look forward to seeing some of you again next week, everyone is welcome (unless you’re thinking of voting Tory, don’t bother coming if you’re that way inclined, I’m sure you’re not, I can’t imagine anyone who would visit this page would ever think that way).
Art excites us, putting on art shows is exciting, pulling groups of artists together in exciting, Play was exciting, we hope Interact will be, we’re excited about the artists we’ve invited, do come and see, come and say hello, come and interact, come and explore some Survival Techniques, or te giant handbag or the tree or whatever Diane Goldie has for us this time, will Emma have a new circle painting? Will there be some fresh leaf growth, what will Brett have on his plinths? Come see the paintings of Sally Jones, Espira, Deborah Griffin, the words of Quiet British Accent, the performance of Amy Kingsmill, come and see what’s on Mia’s shelf, just come along and see… (sw)
Cultivate‘s Interact group show is at Coate Studios, 37 Coate Street, Hackney, London, E2 9AG. The show opens on Thursday evening June 15th (6pm until 9pm everyone welcome), and then runs from Friday 16th until Sunday 18th June, 11am until 6pm.