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Special Event Blog – Nottingham Contemporary Exhibition Launch: Thomas Demand and DAAR

Friday 27th Jan was the official launch of Nottingham Contemporary’s latest exhibition pairing:

Thomas Demand – Model Studies
, architectural photography
DAAR – Common Assembly, a challenging exhibition commenting on the ‘decolonization’ of Palestine

In the grand-yet-cool style we’ve come to expect of the city’s renowned international gallery, the launch was an epic affair, with shoulder-rubbing encounters between several hundred patrons, artists, and art-lovers of all ages.  This launch epitomised how the gallery has succeeded in bringing together art-lovers of all walks of life.

I’m no contemporary art expert, so I thought I’d ask the gallery’s own experts to explain it to me, which they obligingly did.  Apologies for the varied audio quality – it was  a busy and lively event!

Hear gallery assistant David Newport discussing Thomas Demand‘s exhibition: play or download audio: thomas_demand. [Depending on your browser, clicking on this link may start to play the audio immediately, or present you with another screen with a link to click on to hear the talk.]

Hear gallery assistant Leila Al-Yousuf discussing DAAR’s exhibition, and her view of the meaning behind the amazing steps installation: play or download audio: DAAR

It’s great that Nottingham Contemporary gallery assistants are so knowledgeable about the exhibition.  Apart from getting great briefings from the curatorial team, many of them are practising artists.

Visit Leila Al-Yousuf’s portfolio website to see her spatial, geometric site-specific work.

Read more from the gallery team and their musings on gallery life and work on the Nottingham Contemporary blog.

You can also join the Gallery Assistants every Wednesday at 1pm during exhibitions for a free Wednesday Walk-Through event. No need to book – just turn up to learn more about the exhibitions.

Nottingham Contemporary Director Alex Farquharson formally  opened the exhibition. Hear him discuss the artists, their work and participation events linked to the exhibitions: play or download audio: alex_farquharson

This was followed by a suitably mellow groove in the gallery’s The Space (superb live music performance space, why don’t bands use this venue more often?) provided by Walls.  Thanks guys.

Marcus Clarke-Smee with his 'puppetised' outfit at Nottingham Contemporary

Marcus Clarke-Smee with his ‘puppetised’ outfit 

Various Nottingham artistes were present.  I was distracted from the amazing wall-hangings by the eye-catching evening-wear sported by  Marcus Clarke-Smee, artist and puppeteer from Hands Up Puppets.  Hear us discuss the dilemma of not having a stitch to wear from the BAFTAs, dazzling on the red carpet and the ‘puppefication’ of his suit: play or download audio: marcus_clarke_puppetisation

See a video of part of this interview: Marcus Clarke at Nottingham Contemporary (YouTube)

Find out more about Marcus’s puppetised jackets. [And see some photos of Marcus, the jacket, and me!]

What will Marcus puppetise next?  Trainers?  Sandwiches?  Gallery art pieces?  This website, indeed?

*Exclusive competition!*
Marcus is running a competition for one lucky winner to have one of their outfits ‘puppetised’ by him.  A great idea if you want to have a distinctive look as a performer, turn heads at an otherwise suave dinner party, or just amuse yourself when your doing the housework.

You can enter the competition to have your very own garment ‘puppefied’ by adding your comment to this blog, or write privately to Marcus (, saying why you’d love to have your favourite outfit puppetised.

The DAAR and Thomas Demand exhibition Is on until April 15th.  Various talks and events accompany the exhibition and its challenging themes.  See the Nottingham Contemporary website for details of talks, events and opening hours.

Susi was one of the founders of Creative Nottingham and is the Director of Digital Consultant, a digital strategy and marketing consultancy. You can follow her on Twitter @susioneill and @digconsultant, and read her blog.