Thursday, 7 March 2013

Turner Contemporary Broken Again, and some other musings on today’s visit to Margate.


Today was my third consecutive visit to the Turner Contemporary art gallery in Margate where at least two of the exhibits in the Rosa Barba exhibition have been out of order.

Photography is banned in this exhibition and frankly I couldn’t be bothered to draw it again. My understanding is that two million pounds of public funding are required to run this gallery for a year.

Half of this funding comes out of the Kent County council purse and therefore out of our council tax. I am beginning to wonder if this is something I should complain to the council about, like a blocked drain.

There were fewer people in the upstairs galleries where the Carl Andre, William Turner, Rosa Barba exhibitions are than I have ever see, although this may be a coincidence.


Frankly it is very difficult to criticise both modern and contemporary art but this is not a good collection of exhibitions, the Turners are not really works of art but Turner’s lecture illustrations, the Andre is a bit of a hodgepodge of his works and looks like what was available rather than what would have been chosen and the Barba both doesn’t work because the artist has chosen a medium beyond her ability and because it is intrusive – noise and flickering light – to the other exhibitions.

My reason for being in Margate related to delivering children and collecting them from The Winter Gardens, so I took a few pictures of the inside of the venue.















After this cream tea at The Walpole Bay Hotel.






15 comments:

  1. There are other hidden payments that KCC make to keep the Turner running on top of the £2 million grants. First the building belongs to KCC so they pick up the £150,000 plus tab for insurance and maintenance. Second they give a educational grant to the gallery. When I last checked the accounts this to was also more than £100,000.

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    1. If you were able to check these payments, Anon, they are not really very well hidden, are they, or did you just call them hidden for dramatic effect?

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    2. Tom if you have visited this latest exhibition I would be interested in what you reckon.

      Personally I don’t resent contributing to the running of the gallery, providing it’s run properly, my gripe here is that people travelling to Margate to see the exhibition are going to feel very disappointed if the exhibits don’t work properly and the separation between exhibitions mean that there is a sensory intrusion from one exhibition to the others.

      I visit the gallery regularly, have visited art galleries regularly for years, worked for the V&A for bit – carcassing don’t ask – I guess I get a sense of when things are not right and I am getting it with the Turner Contemporary.

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    3. Tom, you try and find the total Turnr KCC spend on their web site or the accounts for the TC trust. The TC spend is not in the current accounts or budget book. It was available a few years back on minutes from a committee meeting. So currently hidden it is. You will find the total Arts grant and the £100K cut in grants for this year but the Arts Council are increasing their grant in the each of the next few years. And you will find that some of the money recovered from the first attempt to build the TC in the sea is in a special account. Why was this not returned to the general fund used for front line services? But as you know if you want to find out anything at KCC you need to raise a FOI request and wait. As an example, you only have to look at the recent FOI that reveals that KCC have given VisitKent £100K to promote the new KLM service in Europe, nothing more than an illegal grant to KLM by any other name.

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    4. No, Michael, I have not seen the exhibition, but my wife and daughter are regular visitors to the TC. Feedback from them ranges from excellent to not as good as the last one. All in all, I guess the main consideration has to be overall benefit to the area and, if money from all over Kent is being spent for our local trade improvement, I do not have a problem with that.

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    5. Last summer the fish 'n' chip shop told me that their trade had boomed since the Turner Centre opened across the road. Not the least because some punters are are not keen on the Turner Cafe prices.

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    6. Which is also good for our local fishermen who no longer have to throw half their catch back.

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    7. I guess what worries me here is that the usual commentators who would normally have no difficulty in grasping the implications of something publicly funded that is broken and or badly maintained and or not fit for purpose in the first place seem lost for words.

      In very simple terms; the publicly funded traffic lights function unreliably and erratically then the cars crash into each other, everyone sees this matters, the publicly funded art exhibits function unreliably and erratically then tourist fail to keep coming, no one seems to be able to grasp this.

      The argument here isn’t about whether you like or understand modern or contemporary art, whether it should have been funded in the first place, but how to deal with it not functioning as the artist intended.

      Simple terms again, I go to the local publicly funded art gallery, one exhibition has 20 pictures but five have fallen off the wall, as we are paying for the gallery out of our taxes in the hope that doing so will help the local economy, what actions should we take?

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    8. Are you sure all 20 should be on the wall? Maybe the artist wanted you to walk on the other five, Check the wall notices to see which ones you are allowed to tread on.

      Alternatively scribble with a blue pen on a blank canvas and hang it instead, maybe you will get a CBE

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    9. I would rather they spent money on Turner Contempory than the alleged £100k they are providing to publisise Manston airport via the website Visit Kent. We need to get real about Art, its an expensive luxury but necessary in some way to enrich lifes experience. Some will be good and some inexplicable, a bit like religeon really. Sometimes an artwork can seem totally uninteresting but reverberate at a later date by its impingement on the subconcious. Its a kind of soul food, give it a chance_keep an open mind.

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  2. Loved the photos, what a lovely old building the Winter Gardens still is,and the Walpole Bay Hotel as well!

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    1. Very Edwardian afternoon Shinguard, where else could one go for tea after The Winter Gardens? Glad you enjoyed the pictures.

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    2. I didn't see the "blocked drain" exhibition, glad you liked it.

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  3. I have not been to see the exhibition yet if ever I improve I will go but I still feel rubbish so not getting out.

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    1. Don I wonder if they will let you take your disability scooter onto the exhibit you are allowed to walk on?

      I’ve tried the get well soon approach on you before and had better not say “break a leg” perhaps I will try another sketch, it seemed to get you moving last time.

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