We note that the suits and ties of the London Southbank art establishment, those suits who claim to really care about our art and our culture. the (elitist?) suits and ties (surely they’re not that elitist? Surely they’re not that out of touch?), the suits in control of our art – seems the suits are still hellbent on destroying the iconic (a word used far far too much, we use it here with much consideration, a term we don’t like to use unless something really really really is as iconic as the Southbank Skatepark Undercroft quite clearly is), seems the suits are still hellbent on destroying the skateboard/street art area on the beautiful bank of the River Thames, and replacing something that has been such an important part of London culture for over thirty years or more now – hellbent on replacing it with more coffee shops and, yes, just what we need on the Southbank, more “retai l opportunities”, more cynically overpriced tourist-abusing moneysucking faceless corporate American coffee shop chains…. .
The Southbank undercroft skateboard park area is one of the most important living breathing art-spaces in London – this is our heritage, this is our culture, this is our art, it isn’t yours to take away and shove out of sight around the back where no one can see it, find it, feel it. enjoy it, love it. Those walls and ramps need to be right where they currently are, right there, right by the river, living, breathing, evolving, they need to be celebrated as a vital part of the Southbank – there for those of us who haven’t got a clue about skateboards as well as those who love to ride their boards. A space there for us ALL to enjoy as we head for a performance at the Festival Hall, or to the Tate (or rush past the embarrassing fast-food horror that is the old GLC building). I’ve never been on a skateboard in my life, this is not just about skateboards, – this is about art, music, hip-hop culture, punk rock evolution, this is a place respected and celebrated worldwide, this is not about shoving a group of young people enjoying their sport around the back, out of the way, where they can get on with it out of sight and out of mind! This is about vitally important art happening in a very important, culturally significant, art space, this is about ever evolving culture, about every drop of paint that has ever touched those walls, about artists who’s named we’ll never know, about the colour on those ramps, the paint on those supports, about the evolving walls of art – art as important as anything along the path at the Tate or any operatic performance happening in the Festival Hall. Those walls are alive, they’re exciting, those walls are organic, things of ever-changing beauty, and to even consider destroying that space in the name of art or commerce or whatever you want to call it, is beyond arrogance, beyond criminal. What price art? Surely a little more than just another plastic cup of coffee and maximising earning potential?
Listen to this spokesperson. Southbank Centre Director Mike McCart – retail blah blah, maximise profit…. urban art safely boxed away in our archives… would you buy a used cup of coffee of this man? “First point of contact! we can’t have the money paying public seeing this!” What is this thing they called “urban art”,. taste the patronising disdain as he counts up the cash from the cake sales and gets dizzy from the fizzy drink money, Exit through the gift shop or what!?
Here’s a video published by the Southbank (published on May 3, 2013)
“Southbank Centre Director Mike McCart talks about why the South Bank undercroft is important to the Festival Wing refurbishment, and outlines Southbank Centre’s commitment to co-design a new riverside skate space with current users”.
“….a community worth celebrating. Filmed and edited by LLSB spokesperson Henry Edwards-Wood, a skateboard cinematographer who grew up skating and filming at the Undercroft. Please don’t let this wonderful example of what human beings can do together without money, planning, policing or institutional influence be destroyed by an organisation who are meant to be cultivating artistic expression and diversity.
Music to that second video there: ‘AWAYNow’ by Tawiah feat Micachu
Further reading – Save Our Skatepark
And here’s a little more….
IMMORTAL TECHNIQUE ON SOUTHBANK SKATEPARK LONDON WITH HASAN SALAAM and AKIR
Meanwhile down a street in the East End,,,,,,
PINK: A GROUP SHOW – ANOTHER FIRST THURSDAY AT CULTIVATE, VYNER STREET
For two weeks. opening on First Thursday July 4th, we intend filling Cultivate with art flavoured pink. Over the past 20 months we’ve turned the space red, blue, gold, black, green, deep purple (we’ve resisted the temptation of white), this time things are turning pink,
Everything pink while questioning the colour and what it means (pink is;nt just another colour is it?). Once again we plan a busy hang, an energetic art show, walls (and plinths) alive with energy, with pop art colour, contemporary thought, painterly restraint, street art attitude, bold photography, vivid brush strokes, abstract beauty…
PINK will be the 23rd in an unbroken run of First Thursday shows on our corner right in the middle of Vyner Street..
Artists featured this time: ALO, BEN NAZ, COUNTESS PASHA DU VALENTINE, D7606. DONELLE CAIMI. EDIE MURRAY. EMMA HARVEY. FRIKKX. GA RAM KIM. GIUSI TOMOSELLO, JEANNIE BROWN. JESSICA BALLANTYNE, JULIA MADDISON, KAY BAINBRIDGE WILKINSON, LYNNE BLACKBURN. MICHAEL MACKENNEY. MICHELLE MILDENHALL. 1STOP. RACHAEL BLACKWELL, RUTH PHILO, SEAN WORRALL, SIXONESIX and TIM SKINNER
Cultivate is an independent gallery space run by artists for artists on artists terms rather than gallery people out to cynically make money out of us artists….
Wear pink, bring pink, think pink, we open at 6pm on Thursday July 4th, we officially sta open until 9pm although we expect to be there much later. All welcome, our private views are very public, our corner door is always open, none of that ring the bell stuff, no need to RSVP or get on a list, we like to let everyone in, not lock people out…. The show runs until July 16th, usual gallery open times.
The Pink show will feature the second of three ONE HUNDRED PIECED PIECES from me (gallery curator Sean Worrall). A work consisting of 100 pieces, each piece for sale at £1. All one hundred pieces of The First 100 pieced piece sold in the first 30 minutes at the recent Brick Lane Art Car Boot Fair (we’re told pieces have been changing hands for far more than they sold at the Art Fair last month – what price art?)