I have put off writing a review about ART sheffield 2010 for a number of reasons. Usually I would re-write this out on a word document and take extra care and try and figure out how to make me sound smarter than i am.
those days have passed. well, no actually i’m lying. but i am writing this straight from my head. no editing and not alot of research to back up what i’m saying. (PLEASE NOTE I’M not really going to talk that much about the art but rather the context of this show)
the irony in me talking about taking care of what i write on this blog – mirrors the ART SHEFFIELD 2010 art show. biennale. whatever you would like to call it. It is quite comically named after that very boring book taht was once considered kind of revolutionary in the early 70s – LIFE: A USERS MANUAL .Ermmmmm, yeah?!
Under the curatorial guidance of Frédérique Bergholtz and Annie Fletcher, they wanted to use these terms ” affect”. whilst using the book as a curatorial guide. Not a good choice i think. I mean a guide to life is a pretty big statement. it reminds me of when i was in my 2nd year of art school talking ALOT (too much !) about the spectacle and the commodity in life because I had just learnt and finially understood alot of art texts i was reading. when asked how exactly my work is about the spectacle as architecture without using any buzz words, i tripped out. i felt like i had lost my vocabulary. did i actually know what these words really meant? can i produce art in my own thoughts first.
this was the same problem with ART SHEFFIELD 2010. What did it actually amount too?
I read most of their reading list from a symposium that they held some months before the opening of show, some of the thinkers on there were the greats such as chicago’s brian holmes. the awesome master-mind theoriest with some great texts on geo-politics. i meantion brian because being semi-located in chicago, i can see where his research and ideas comes from having worked with AREA Chicago for a short period last year.
In chicago, it is a city that still has huge class boundaries, a city of industry lost. Yet because of it’s chip-on its shoulder the chi-town had become this amazingly socially and politically active with urgency place. i had never seen this type of community alive with such disinction and drive in the whole of the USA or UK.
Now i bring up identity because ART Sheff 10 is supposedly a lot based on linguistics and language. exemplified by the works in the millennium art gallery.
The Yorkshire Artspace by FAR is the worst curated and display of work EVER. Seriously. Check it out. I’m not even sure it has enough substance or technic to actually cundrum up the strength of becoming art.
S1 and Bloc Art Space had the best work in the whole show which looked nice, but you’re kind of sure that you’ve seen this type of work in another form elsewhere. (Bloc’s art piece looks like charlie dimmock from groundforce has gone in and done a water feature cross art piece). it claims taht it is a “quest of sculpture”
the lingistics here are what’s most interesting. A quest indeed? Was Art Sheff a Quest to be a show?
curatorially the theme – despite the effort of trying to “take care” became quite the opposite. it’s like parenting. let them go to be happy or free or however that phrase goes.
Don’t try and push a culture or an identity that doesn’t fit onto a place. chicago and sheffield may well both be ex post-industrial towns with a huge working class population, except one’s artworld is alot more genuine than the other. and i will give you a guess as to who that is….
it’s not sheffield ;).
i wonder what could have happened if we had actually trusted a less-known book or curator, or tried too hard to sound cultured and relevant? perhaps we would have had a much more interesting risk- engaging curatorial premise?
how about we invite someone who has something to do with Sheffield?
Like the Whitney (although not much better) they always get whitney curators to curate. why would you bring in someone who doesn’t know the space when you’re dealing with it specifically?
This flying around, foreign curator culture is just really getting too much these days.
please sheffield, show me something good. no. show me something GREAT.