Art is everywhere in the cities across the UK. It’s taken for granted as it takes up a monumental amount of space. Edinburgh Castle dominates the city and within its walls are countless artifacts and relics of likely unnamed craftsman. 1200 years have passed and artists get to put their names on things but are likely to live hand to mouth all the same.
In Newcastle – actually Gateshead sits the Baltic, a monolithic rehabbed factory building sometimes known as the Tate Modern of the north showcases two artists currently. Larry Achiampong’s Wayfinder takes up two floors and features interactive gaming, animated film and an installation. This is how an artist might find themselves being supported and its awesome. He has created a world full of design and has the expansive space in which to invite the viewer in.
The other exhibition at the Baltic is the Chris Killip retrospective. He was a post war photographer who documented life in the north east of England. He is an influential photographer for good reason as witnessing this exhibition was nothing short of moving.
On the Baltic website they have a dedicated page for “Support for Artists” which includes residencies, an artist development programme, current opportunities and a contemporary visual network. Whenever there is a leg up for artists it is a burdened shared. It’s important. Art is everywhere in these old places but I wonder genuinely if in even 500 more years will that be the case in the US?
A museum will not take on an artist who has not previously been shown in a museum. How can any artist break through? How does it really work here? So many artists will remain nameless in this system.