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  • Heather Fearfeld

Contemporary art and new cultural districts


Future Cities Forum is running its next 'Art and Cities' event at Goldsmiths' Hall, City of London where standards have been set for artists working in silver and gold, since medieval times.

At the forum, we will be discussing whether cities need to embark on 'grand projects' for a new museum or cultural hub to create a 'Bilbao effect' in order to drive regeneration and tourism, or whether building on existing assets is a less risky strategy? We will look at how major out-reach by Tate and V&A helps drives community arts programmes. How can cities and local authorities help foster a ecosystem of artists, makers and galleries that is inclusive and dynamic?

The forum will also consider the following questions: how are cultural hubs changing cities and our art experiences, and what are the new agendas for our museums in attracting wider audiences? How is AR changing our place-making activities, and what is valuable in pop-up art fairs and festivals? How do these shape and promote city branding and tourism? How is all of this driving art markets and urban landscapes? Will gentrification always kill creativity?

The New York Times published an article recently describing the new interest in Peckham as a cultural centre, attracting thousands of art lovers to an old car park, not ‘a major exhibition or a West End show’ but an art installation – a stairwell in the car park, painted bubble gum pink by the London artist Simon Whybray.

This was the cultural hit of 2017 and apparently drew crowds from all over England. Hannah Berry, founder of Bold Tendencies, who owns the new ‘car park gallery’ confessed that she had no idea how popular the ‘art staircase’ would be. The staircase itself perhaps had some help in that it leads directly to one of London’s most fashionable bars ‘Frank’s Campari bar’ a drinking spot for ‘London’s cool kids and bankers alike’.

The newspaper questions whether it is 'the cheap rents, or the recent arrival of the arts space ‘Peckham Levels’ that encourages local artists who were born and raised in South London, and potentially means that Peckham is about to boom'. It highlights Farka’s gallery which it says is 'typical of the area and its commitment to exhibiting avant-garde art such as the exhibition ‘Mouth’ a video installation that explores gender binaries by New York-based artist Maja Cule'.

#ArtandCities #contemporaryart

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