Untitled Contribution to 'East end Promise 1985-2000 A Story of Cultural Migrants',
edited by Ernesto Leal and Paul Sakoilsky
Our History, London, 2010
Attempted (defective and incomplete) chronology and critique of at least some art (and other) developments in and around the East-London area during the cold-war and afterwards.
Also published and available as outsize poster-print.
1967: David Medalla & Co’s “Exploding Galaxy”, commune and performance
collective in Balls Pond Road. Studio co-ops and complexes, early
1970’s onwards Beck Road (ACME, SPACE, but not A.I.R?) studios with
live-in houses. Most notaby: Genesis P’ Orridge and Co’s COMTransmissions / Throbbing Gristle / Industrial Records/ Psychick T.V/
Theee Temple ov Theee Psychick Youth; Helen Chadwick (R.I.P.); MickeyCuddihy etc. Since early 1970’s and even before that….Docklands scene
(Andrew Logan + Alternative Miss World, Zandra Rhodes, Derick Jarman,
events, parties). 1979 onwards Robin Klassnik & Co’s Matt’s Gallery
(at 10 Martello Street, also Throbbing Gristle “Death Factory”/
Industrial Studios).. Showroom (Bonner Road, mid 80’s).
Another noteworthy presence = Gilbert & George (Art for All), based and active
in Fournier Street, exclusively using the local visual vocabulary to
embody their concerns (since late 60’s-early 70’s, then onwards).
Anne Bean, Paul Burwell, Marty Saint James and Richard Wilson etc’s
Bow Gamelan Ensemble (in memory of Stephen Cripps “pyromechanics”).
Anthony Reynolds Gallery 1st opened in Cowper Street mid 1980’s.
Kay Roberts (New Exhibitions of Contemporary Art listings) Actualities
project space in Narrow Street, Docklands (later where Simon Cutts,
Erica Van Horn & Co’s workfortheeyetodo / Coracle Press were based
when they returned to London).
Maureen Paley / Interim art in Beck Road.
Flowers East (originally near Richmond Road Squats).
By the early 90’s, the recession then recovery halted or just slowed down gentrification and property
Many properties/ premises/ land/ buildings still belonging to the same families and companies as in much earlier
(colonial / industrial) times.
New money / companies / enterprise /vested interests / purpose serving.
Corporation of London and other authorities.
Joshua Crompston & Factual Nonsense.
Dermot O’Brien and Co’s Curtain Road Arts.
Mark Jones’ Bedsit to Loft installation and live performance program
– from which evolved Simon Hedges, Paul Sakoilsky and Co’s Underwood Street Arts.
Jonathan Hatt and Michael Croft’s Annexed mid 90’s.
1996: LIFE / LIVE major survey of U.K. art curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Co, double volume book, including
entries by and about many U.K. independent organizations -8 of which
were invited to stage projects in Musee D’Arte Moderne De La Ville De
Paris (later toured to Portugal). Interestingly enough, around the
same time as being listed and appearing in LIFE / LIVE, many such
organizations ended (due to losing spaces, funding or members, moving
on, giving up etc). 1995: Chapman Bros, Nick Waplington and Co’s
studio in Brick Lane.
Lux Cinema in Hoxton Square (mid ‘90s- early millennium).
Evolved out of merger with London Filmmakers Co-op (similar to London Musician’s
Co-op becoming South Bank Centre’s Meltdown Festival also set-ups like
Bookworks and Artangel etc), more recently since then LUX is now part
of British Film Institute. Lux = London Filmmaker’s co-op, merged
with London Electronic Arts.
London Filmmaker’s Co-op came out of 1960’s counterculture around Better Books (bookshop, gallery,
meeting-place, event-space etc) scene in 1966. London electronic Arts
very much took over / consumed / replaced the to-some-extent
even-then-still-alternative London Filmmaker’s Co-op.
Mark Ærial Waller’s Glow Boys screening night with live concert by Mark E. Smith
of The Fall was listed in the free newspapers and those involved made
the effort to promote it -making it a relatively well-attended event
Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas “Shop” in 1993.
Factual Nonsense’s The Fete Worse Than Death and other events 1992-’96.
As well as Factual Nonsense’s gallery shows, Joshua Crompton and co also
staged public festivities in the surrounding neighbourhood environs,
whereby invited young Brit Art stars and others sold editioned
multiples and also services. These became a meeting-point for various
groups and scenes in co-operation with mutual support from local
community and infrastructures. Memorable shows were 30 Underwood
Street Arts outdoing what U.K. institutions and museums dared not -by
showing the notorious veteran Viennese “Actionist”, Hermann Nitsch.
Bank’s abusive curation and placement of selected exhibitor’s work
(1994-98). Keith Farquar’s Gonzo show at the Old Fire Station in
Bethnal Green Road. Workfortheeyetodo showing Gustav Metzger after his
return to the U.K, then their memorable launch for Atlas (@las!)
press, ultimate version of Daniel Spoerri & Co’s Anecdoted Topography
of Chance collaborative and generative “Roman Nouveau” bookwork.
What is strenuous to believe now, is, despite the increasingly
computerised admin and digital graphic design, all promotion then was
still mostly or only done by print and post, therefore publicity was
another factor demanding advance-planning pre-event and ahead (as well
as production and cost). Circa 1995-’96 onwards, the beginning of
increased intensity, bringing both energy and action but also an
expanding burnout of potential. Intake and usage of alcohol and drugs
multiplying. Corporate and financial factor, as well as funding host
spaces and facilities…alcohol sponsorship! Anthony Fawcett… Becks/
Absolut/ Bombay Sapphire Gin/ J&B Scottish Whisky, mutual promotion of
artists and ventures -as well as alcohol brands. Back in the 1980’s
(before this critical era), the hitherto unknown German Becks beer
name was made when Becks sponsored U.K. public / institution/museum/
space, shows of new work by living artists.
Circa 1996-1997-1998. Negation of state funding (London Arts Board Etc)…..
Dilemma options: at least attempt becoming more commercial and / or
join the establishment and / or move on etc. More new blood and faces
“on the scene”. Brick Lane area. Alfred Camp / 97-99 projects in
Sclater Street using Anthony Howell’s former Holyrood old leather
market / performance space. Void nextdoor, later used by Decima (most
notably for their Daykin-Day, in honour of Mike Daykin, with
“Daykinisms”). Ambitious and enterprising - verging on desperation
and even ruthlessness. Anthony Wilkinson move eastwards. Stuart
Shave & Co’s Modern Art Inc opens in Redchurch Street (1998).
1st phase of Man (nee: Joost) Somerlink and Co’s Fordham.
Sheila Lawson’s Platform, Wilkes Street.
Chapman Fine Arts, Fashion Street.
Occasional shows of connections and artstars (David Falconer, The
Chapman Brothers themselves, Thomas Grunfeld, Bank etc).
Jamie Robinson’s space in Brick Lane.
Harold Werner Rubin’s Rivington Gallery, at a remove from the immediate “scene”.
Arrival of Prince’s Trust into Charlotte Road, 1999.
White Cube move into (and becoming?!) Hoxton Square after six years in Duke Street.
1996: The Commercial Gallery (Keith Ball & Co.) Spitalfields.
Root project with Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth and guest contributors, David
Goldenburg’s Martin group shows.
1999: advent of…The Foundry! Trendy shops, like Sho! In Curtain Road, selling Cuban posters and Clockwork
Michael Landy’s At Home show in his and Gillean Wearing’s Fashion Street loft, of preparatory material and other works
toward what later became Landy’s Breakdown Artangel commission
(cataloguing, then mechanised destruction of all Landy’s possessions).
Increased tourism (as well as Jack the Ripper Walks!). Free-Range
regional art and design college and department, graduation shows in
Brick Lane (around Truman Brewery etc). Bodyworld, preserved human
anatomy, street exhibition by Herr Doktor Gunther Von Hagens.
2000-2001-2002. Street art, Banksy and Co. Dragon Bar (1998
onwards). Banksy, Faile, Bast, Nok, Eine, Stella Vine, Santa’s Ghetto
Xmas. 2002 Dragon Bar. Gary O’ Dwyer & Pierre Coinde’s Centre of
Attention. 2001: Richard Priestley and Milika Miritu, ¢ell Projects.
2000: The Stuckists (Billy Childish et all) at Jo Compton’s furniture
and design shop in Leonard Steet and Viner Street. Much later / more
recently (with advance-footprint of the 2012 London Olympics) Hackney
Wick(ed), Time Out® 1st Thursday of the Month, Shoreditch Ball, Ashwin
©, Copyright, Douglas Park, 2010