Exhibition review: Great Exhibition of the North. Part 3 | The Open College of the Arts
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Exhibition review: Great Exhibition of the North. Part 3

I found the overall visit to Newcastle made easier by the volunteers on hand throughout the city handing out maps and giving friendly advice on how to find things.
As I walked  away from the show at Baltic, and through Newcastle I mulled over the exhibitions aims. Idea of North strives to, ‘make connections between counter-cultural moments, combining moments of protest with individual stories of community and collective belonging.’
I found the spread of this show across multiple venues did highlight for me a sense of community connection and stories. I enjoyed accidentally coming across this:

Jane and Louis Wilson’s Suspended Island in Low Yard behind the Live Theatre.
This outdoor double-screen video projection worked very well despite the sunshine. The headphones provided an immersive sound scape.
Walking on and further into the city, I saw a man painting at an easel in the street.
Keeping with the idea of first-hand research, I asked him what he was up to. He was using oil paint and gave me his name and website.

Kevin Day. Painting opposite High Bridge Street, Newcastle. 26/06/18.
Is putting yourself in the street as a painter an invitation for conversation? It probably depends who you ask.
Here are some tips on doing first-hand research when visiting exhibitions. You may find it helpful to ask yourselves these sorts of questions :

  • What can I see by standing up close to this work that I would miss if I only saw a reproduction online or in a book?
  • What happens when I move around the work and look at form different positions?
  • Can I get more out of this by being here? Ask a question, uncover a fact, peek behind the scenes..?
  • How does the context* of this artwork effect how a viewer understands it?

*What might context mean in the last question?  It could mean the curation of the exhibition, the other art alongside it, the work’s location within the city, The cultural message of the exhibition material, the wider Great Exhibition of the North government funded project, the social and political context, and so on.
There are many more artistic projects in the North East as part the Great Exhibition of the North ‘the country’s biggest event in 2018, it will pack a programme of amazing exhibits, live performances, displays of innovation, new artworks and unforgettable experiences into 80 days.’
I would say it is well worth a trip to Newcastle. I hope you get to see some of it (first-hand). If not, visit the website!
Read my other blog posts on the same; part 1 and part 2.

Posted by author: Dan Robinson
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