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Talking about Art

Listening to a talk about Art at the Nottingham Contemporary

Listening to a talk about Art at the Nottingham Contemporary

What is sometimes not noticed is how much talking about Art in our museums and galleries.  The Castle Museum sometimes does talks, often at lunchtime, about a specific exhibition or sometimes just “what is new”.  These are sometimes only in the printed brochures, not their website. 

The New Art Exchange has many talks and events.  Both the artists with shows opening this week will be doing at least one talk: 

  • Thursday 29 July, 6pm, Ed Pien In Conversation with Skinder Hundal (Chief Executive, New Art Exchange) and Sally Lai (Chief Executive – Chinese Arts Centre, Manchester).   They will be explore the background to the installation – Memento.
  • Saturday 4 September, 2pm, Suki Chan will be discussing the boundaries between private and public spaces and the relationship between an individual to the collective.  No doubt with frequent reference to her current exhibition, Sleep Walk, Sleep Talk.

But the Nottingham Contemporary, in its short existence, completely re-defined gallery talks and events.  Their brochures now have several pages devoted just to the talks and events, more pages than about the exhibitions.   There are lunchtime talks most Wednesdays, for example, walking through the galleries with, in different weeks, academic experts, gallery staff, and working artists.  I think this is quite amazing, and we should note that the public programme is jointly funded by Nottingham Uni and Nottingham Trent Uni – thanks!

From the current brochure, accompanying the just opened Diane Arbus and Gert and Uwe Tobias exhibitions, there are three items which jump off the page at me:

  • Thursday, 5 August, 7pm to 8.30pm.  Novelist Geoff Dyer, who is also a photographic historian, talks about Diane Arbus’ work and answers questions.
  • Saturday, 14 August, 10am to 6pm. Thomas Bloch playing the glass harmonica, a rare instrument, hardly played now.   Also that day, in the galleries, Tom Hill, of Origami Biro, will build sonic pictures inspired by the photographs of Diane Arbus.  He will build them using a 1950s record player, guitars and found objects.
  • Thursday, 2 September, 7pm to 8.30pm. Germaine Greer will use her own experience of being photographed by Diane Arbus in 1971 to talk about how art institutions define, or “frame” marginalised groups.  This talk has £7 tickets, the other events here are free.
  • Thursday, 9 September, 7pm to 9.30pm. Goth Night: dress up, be immortalised by filmmaker Jeanie Finlay, and watch her film about the 4th Annual Goth Cruise.

Okay, that was four things. I can count, I just got carried away by the programme. You will too.