Monday, 12 March 2012

Campaign for the Rehabilitation of No-Nonsense Plain Speaking in Art Gallery Press Releases

Few things make me happier than the launch of a new art gallery in London. If the gallery happens to be run by go-getting young artists or curators, all the better. I want them to do well; I'm rooting for them, I really am. But Jesus Christ on a Bicycle, do yourselves a favour and take a three day break between the writing of and the emailing of your breathy press releases.

I wouldn't normally pull on the razor-blade nail edges for a newbie gallery run by youngsters, but Peter Templeton ain't a newbie and really ought to know better than to send out a press release about his newest endeavour, the Red House Yonder, that somehow manages to take a lot of things I believe in - artistic excellence, art for everyone, the integration of social activities into gallery spaces, collectivity and community - and comes out sounding like a trumped-up convolution desperate for attention from the art-world's big hitters. I mean, come on! When the first sentence of your PR shtick is "Like Charles Saatchi they feel a lot of today's art has moved away from its true essence, from being something emotive and instead is often appreciated simply for the status it carries" something is so really very wrong. What! Charles Saatchi? Feels today's art has moved away from its true essence? Really?
The press release says that Red House Yonder fervently believes in the notion of art for everyone before Templeton effectively follows that up by saying that the real art will be made as one offs for the actual collectors, while some crappy digital prints will comprise the affordable offerings for the "art lover on a more limited budget."

Templeton also reminisces about his prior artistic "public outreach" project, the Salon des Arts, held at "the prestigious Palace Gate address in Kensington". Templeton feels it's important that the Red House "challenges the prevailing obsession with celebrity and sensationalism" by replicating the "interesting, provocative, and fun" events held at the Salon which included the likes of artists John Hoyland, Patrick Caulfield, architect Willy Allsop [sic], critics Mel Gooding. Aaaaarrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh! Even if Templeton really does believe in some of the things he spouts off about in the press release, the whole thing is so totally contradictory that it's impossible to tell whether Templeton is genuine or totally full of shit.

Anyway, decide for yourself. Read it in full below.

And to all you gallerists out there, please think twice before sending out your press release. Get a friend to read it, hell, get your mother to read it. If she doesn't understand it, there's no hope for the rest of us.


A new art collective has just launched in London, called Red House Yonder. Founded by a group of international artists including St Ives artist and RA member Liz Hough, Spaniard Gabriel Granados, emerging young artist Samuel Bassett, deceased Tony Smith and London artist and collective founder Peter Templeton.

Like Charles Saatchi they feel a lot of today's art has moved away from its true essence, from being something emotive and instead is often appreciated simply for the status it carries. They are keen to create art that "talks to the senses not sensationalism", art that tells the artists' story and is loved for what it is not just because it is a status symbol or brand.

“It’s time to move on from the notion of the art gallery and the collectors having this elite status. Yeah, we should be doing work for the collectors, because we also need to be represented in the art world and as a strong voice But it is about the larger world. We live in a very uncertain but exciting time. A phoenix, it is the time for a new kind of order to arise. This is a microcosm of that. It is about sharing, not about being anal and possessive about your own commodity in this case art. But wanting to work together to do things that are considered worthwhile. To me it is an enduring kind of art.” Said founder Peter Templeton

Peter explains that “The name came from an old blues song: I love the lyric “there’s a red house over yonder, that’s where my baby lies”. For me it was like going into a wood when you are little; you are a bit nervous or scared, but you know there is a house there or a place with lights and you want to go and find out what it is. That for me is the red house yonder. It’s a destiny, something you are drawn towards. To me there was the red house and the yonder.

The Red House Yonder project is an extension of the Salon des Artes, a creative space set up in the 90s by Peter Templeton with co-founder Danielle Dodd. Located at the prestigious Palace Gate address in Kensington, the Salon hosted social evenings, events, and exhibitions which included the likes of artists John Hoyland, Patrick Caulfied, architect Willy Allsop, critics Mel Gooding and thinkers like Charles Handy.

Peter explains: “The Salon was about generating social events which were interesting, provocative, fun and a place to chill out. People loved coming. It became a part of their weekly life and I have always fancied the idea of resurrecting the Salon but as part of a wider movement reflecting the digital age we now live in. One which, gives us the opportunity of producing original art at affordable prices. The Red House should also challenge the prevailing obsession with celebrity and sensationalism. Striving instead to create enduring Art which has something meaningful to say.”

“I have always been a believer in the collective and in community rather than just art as a sole pursuit so I wanted to do something which involved other artists. Working individually can be very isolated. I like the idea of sharing and working with other people; the excitement of invention, exploring the unknown, taking on challenges, having fun. A playful adventure in fact!”

Affordability of art is also central to the Red House thinking. The Red House will produce one-off pieces for their serious collectors, original customised digital prints and affordable print editions for the art lover on a more limited budget

Peter Templeton: “Affordable art can be achieved by looking at how things are done in the other creative domains like music, publishing or fashion. For example in the fashion world, there are different levels, from designer haute couture to High Street. All thoughtful and creative in their own right. Although haute couture, like the one off original piece of art, can be exclusive and expensive, a level also exists that is accessible to everyone which is still special, valid and a symbol of the artists and the originality of their work."

Moving into the present world has seen the creation of the Red House Yonder as a virtual collaboration, online and via a blog in which artists can share and engage, producing digital work and prints (The website will go live on 8th March 2012)

What better way to celebrate their launch than a party? It is happening on 25th April at 20th Century Theatre in Notting Hill from 6.30 - 9pm and they'd love for you to come.

“We see it less as an exhibition and more as event, as the art will be displayed in a more organic way than you might find in a traditional gallery. Our aim is to make art more accessible, fun and engaging and we believe this begins with how it is viewed in public. There is general perception that Galleries are intimidating and unwelcoming places to enter. Where you are expected to tip toe around in reverential silence. We have asked the question why is this case and isn’t there a more user friendly way of viewing and appreciating Art? Art is not appreciated in this way at home, so why does it have to be in the public sphere?” Peter Templeton commented. “It will be an evening of creativity, not just static art. A journey which we invite you all to join. We have a lot of surprises planned.”

1 comment:

Melissa Hardwick said...

Hello there.

Have just been writing press releases and spent time stripping them down to just saying what needs to be said with the right number of syllables.

So if you want a read let me know!

And come along and see the exhibition we are promoting...Faces of Health at the Free Space Gallery opening evening 19th April 6-9pm