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You are in: Birmingham > People > Stories > Crisp dust and car boot sales- is it art?

Work by Sheila Fawkes (detail)

Work by Sheila Fawkes (detail)

Crisp dust and car boot sales- is it art?

The Birmingham Institute of Art and Design opens its MA show at Margaret Street School of Art on August 29th, dispelling rumours of closure.

Margaret Street School of Art

Margaret Street School of Art

A year ago, rumours that the Margaret Street School of Art in Birmingham city centre was to close rocked the region’s art community. According to “a trusted source” quoted on the Created in Birmingham website, classes at the country’s oldest purpose built institution of its kind were to be relocated, and the building sold off for redevelopment.

In the context of the contraversial Eastside redevelopment, which is rapidly changing the face of the city, these rumours were not taken lightly.

Work by Chris Poolman (detail)

Work by Chris Poolman (detail)

A marketing blunder

Concerns were only later allayed by Birmingham Institute of Art and Design Course Director John Wigley, who called the shelved proposals “A marketing and publicity blunder of spectacular proportions.”

As rumours dissipated, and the shock expressed by people across the region proved unwarranted, the school of art was determined to bounce back.

Visitors to the Birmingham Institute of Art and Design MA show, which opens on August 29th, are in for a surreal, inspiring and beautiful experience, featuring what has been hailed as the best art ever produced by Margaret Street School of Art.

Work by Phil Barber (detail)

Work by Phil Barber (detail)

Pizza, love and loss

The public can expect to see artist Gareth Hughes phoning the Samaritans to seek assistance for his work, Phil Barber's video installations and 'floating' television sets, fruit-stalls, pizzas re-arranged according to computer colour scales by Chris Poolman, delicate animations of love and loss by Prim Pisolayabutra and Shelia Fawkes’s cabaret extravaganza.

Henry Rogers, who co-ordinates the Arts Based Masters programme at Birmingham City University, decided to take a radical approach to preparing his students for this year's MA show.

Unusually quoting England Manager Fabio Capello, Rogers said, 'We needed to create a new way of working, and that's why I felt the need to set some rules. For example, we all eat together, leave the table together - it is all about respecting each other'.

Work by Linda Babb (detail)

Work by Linda Babb (detail)

"Strongest show yet"

Whilst the football analogy may seem bizarre, Rogers says the implementation of new and established ways of making art has had remarkable results: 'In all my years as course director of the MA Fine Art at BCU, I think this is probably going to be the strongest final show we've had yet'.

But do a Jeff Koons inspired car boot sale, a room full of rubble, canvases painted by robots or a face sculpted in crisp dust count as works of art?   

With a wry smile, Rogers replies "What do you think? Of course it does. Art takes many forms. Our approach at BCU is to cultivate openness and inculcate new ways of thinking, not to dictate a particular style or approach. We provide a supportive environment in which emerging artists can find their own voice and fulfil their potential".

Work by Claire Alison West (detail)

Work by Claire Alison West (detail)

Breathtaking and bizarre

This year’s show involves everything from painting and sculpture to installation and performance- a creative spectrum which promises both the breathtaking and the bizarre.

The exhibition opens with a private viewing at Margaret Street on August 29th, and runs until September 7th. For more information, click on the link below.

last updated: 19/08/2008 at 10:10
created: 18/08/2008

You are in: Birmingham > People > Stories > Crisp dust and car boot sales- is it art?

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