Times are harsh when even regeneration fads want to tear down a local, historical icon.
It’s not everyday some cooling towers can be called ‘public art’, nor do we want every cooling tower to be classed as some local monument, but for Sheffield, the cooling towers are just that. They are iconic. They are like the Angel of the North, but Sheffo style. That being, grimey…dirty…. working class… but most of all, REAL. Sheffield is the real deal, or at least it used to be. Apparently one of the biggest artist communities that resides outside of London, us crazy cats have more about us. We ain’t into that greasey art-pole (mostly because we can’t get onto it due to London Art school network elitest policies)* our practices aren’t made for profit (although I bet most of us don’t half wish we could get some cash for it), or brown-nosing networking – our practices are for us, for ourselves as artists… and we want to make work we wanna make and have some integrity about it. This doesn’t mean that I am saying, yeah Damien Hirst has no integrity… but I do know (have to the conclusion / heard) that most of the YBA’s are probably no longer making the art that they want to make.
The artworld forces them to continue to make stuff that sells, that gets the publicity and all that jazz. Sheffield artists have read ART AS ART by Ad Reinhardt, and are purists. They know a sell out show is exactly what it is. It makes the artist a complete sell out. And although this is clearly a justification on my behalf of my own position, I would love the respect as an artist. In a perfect world, if I could choose an artist career to copy – it would be along the lines of Spencer Finch, Omer Fast, Michael Corris, Anthony Micallef, Gordon Matta Clark… with the most famous being Joesph Kosuth. I want to be respected for my art and not my connections, I want to have achievements that I am proud of and treat the people who deal with arty affairs like friends and family. They’re all amazingly famous who I have mentioned, yeah… I’ve always wanted that because with Fame = money… and since I’ve been young, in my head I have equated Money = easier times/ happiness. I do know, espeically dazzling in fame it doesn’t mean such a thing. But I wanna be comfortable with my living standards, and go the places I wanna go and I want to be a respected person.
I’m getting off my point… For Sheffield, it is community that matters. The art students come together in hope that they won’t knock their amazing Psalter Lane campus down, they go drinking with lecturers and paint their houses. They march together at Global Warming protests, and they all come together to support one and another. None of this competition that I have seen so much in London based art schools. So it comes as no suprise that sheffield’s community came together, thanks to GO SHEFFO, and protested to KEEP the cooling towers… on websites, with stickers and leaflets, on BBC Radio…. even on Channel 4. And despite all efforts, it came to nothing. EON still wanted to blow the beautiful objects up for business.
Surely there is more to life than business. Imagine owninga piece of public art?
Imagine going to Sheffield on the Train and seeing no Cooling towers… which are like the gates to sheffield? Imagine going to Meadowhell and looking over at the M1 and seeing no modernist concreate beauty? Just the fragments of what existed.
I hate the say it, but we are completely distoying anything that stood in a modernist structure…
Labour Party = New [post modern] Labour (wants 2 privatize NHS/ Charges fees for Education + schools get worse / the only socialist type party to take money off the poor and give it 2 the rich [the new 10p tax])
Modernist buildings = Knocked down made way for shopping malls
Warehouse art studios = knocked down for luxury apartments
Park Hill Flats = Upgrading to lucury shops and flats with only 1 3rd of the houses still avilable to the under 16,000 income bracket [typically w/c]
You get my drift. It’s an end of an era. The physicality of hope, the end of where people power used to mean something/ I am left feeling disillusioned at the idea. A sense of Anomie.
Feels like my own practice again…. How can one, espeically an artist, make a different? If only I knew the answer…
The end is near…. Demolishing happens on this Bank Holiday Weekend, whilst the Meadowhell shoppers know nothings going on .