MoMA x Tate Collective

Recently I worked with Tate Collective to co-produce and write online content and film video content for a collaboration with MoMA Teens. ‘A Tale of Three Cities’ was a free all-access online art course, exploring the artistic and cultural scenes in London with Tate Collective, Chicago with Art Institute of Chicago and New York with MoMA Teens.

We made some videos with London based filmmakers at Reel Nice to share stories about London’s diverse cultural happenings. We met and interviewed skaters at the Southbank, graf artists in Waterloo, singers in Shoreditch and got inspired by artists in their studios.

Q&A: Christopher Jarratt

I'm currently the Resident Blogger for Tate's Art Exchange, an online platform for artists, educators, creators and anyone interested in art to share ideas! It's free to register and packed with interesting ideas and projects to try with students or at home, take a look if you have time. Along the way I've met and interviewed some really inspiring artists, including Christopher Jarratt.

As an artist and maker Christopher designs and produces whimsical pieces like giant slingshots, spinning tops and hairbrushes. What particularly excited me was Community Kite Project, which Christopher set up in 2011 with a collective of artists, designers and makers. Together with Christopher they run kite-making workshops, which have taken them around the world working with diverse audiences of all ages.

here's a snippet of our chat…

JB: I noticed you write about imagination and the ‘fantastical ideas’ we dream when we’re children. Would you say this is your main influence? Where do your ideas for your objects and projects come from?

CJ: Story telling, daydreaming and play. These are key influences for me and I try and channel these things through my everyday life which hopefully in turn is sparking my imagination which in turn gets me creating things and coming up with new ideas. It's very easy to rationalise these types of things out of our mindsets as we get older. I feel there is huge value to everyone to keep these actions alive. If my work can spark these things in others, that is great.

JB: You formed Community Kite Project back in 2011 and have since been running kite making workshops. What first drew you to the idea of kites?

CJ: I have always had a passion for making and flying kites (especially single line kites). They seem to have an ability to tell stories as much as create them. This thing you have created, flying in the wind connected to you by a thin bit of string, it's a very special relationship. It is only able to fly because you are holding on to it. If you were to cut the string, it won’t fly away (like it feels it is trying too all the time!), it will just drop to the ground.  Most people need to just look at a kite and they smile.

Kites are full of useful information, from the physics of flight and material properties through to the sculptural/architectural aspect of kite making and the painting of the canvas. The visual history of politics, life, love and belief has been represented on kites for as long as people have been making them.

Want to know more? Check out Christopher's website below.

Late at Tate with Jenny Moore

Across April, May and June I worked with Tate Collective colleagues and artist Jenny Moore to co-programme a series of performative interventions at Late at Tate's Spring Series at Tate Britain ... under the title What Am I Looking At?

Working with the theme Speculate we broke each month into sub themes; Question, Disrupt and Transform. Jenny Moore's performance art practice felt like the perfect balance of audacity, surprise and wit to visualise these concepts to our audience.

We wanted to stage series of performative pieces that questioned traditional gallery etiquette. Across the three months our team grew, working alongside The REC and dancers from Siobhan Davies Next Choreography programme. We also built up a network of performers that grew with each event which massively benefited the project.

For each night we staged different sets of performances, some nights we lay amongst artworks, filling the space with the sound of The REC. One performance in Tate Britain’s historic 1840 Room (known for housing Millais’ famous painting of Ophelia) used giant weather balloons and bicycle pumps. The group clumped together, their breathing became louder and in tune with the balloon pumping to create a contagious rhythmic resonance, until dispersing as if nothing had happened … wandering back through the space. 

In another choreographed performance, we worked with mirrors in the Rotunda. Architecture, artworks and audience were reflected in scattered but lyrical impressions, forming almost Cubist images of the space around us.

Tate x LSFF

Ok I’ve been a little quiet … I spent the past few months co-programming Turbine Festival, ok … excuses, excuses!

We took over Tate Modern for one day with installations, music, films, workshops and performances.

I was lucky to work with LSFF and Philip Ilson to put together the Turbine Festival Cinema, screening 27 inspiring and creatively diverse short films ... and subsequently perhaps the biggest Q&A I've ever seen!

Thank you to the team at LSFF and the filmmakers who helped make this happen, it was incredibly exciting to screen a programme of this format and scale.

New Brutalist Image: Tate Britain

This year Tate Britain is shining a spotlight on the intensely creative and influential 1949-55 British movement 'New Brutalism' focusing on architects Alison and Peter Smithson, engineer Ronald Jenkins, Eduardo Paolozzi and photographer Nigel Henderson. While New Brutalism is often referred to as 'short-lived', the show proves its enduring impression. A strict emphasis on functionality dictating form, material and structure was at the heart of the New Brutalist movement. While its primary imprint fell on architecture, Tate's show sheds light on the photography, sculpture, painting and collage that contributed to bringing this new aesthetic to life.

Eduardo Paolozzi: Collage Mural, 1952

Hunstanton Secondary Modern School, Norfolk

In 1955 architectural critic and writer Reyner Banham wrote The New Brutalism (read it here) which set the group's title in stone. He defied the critics who rejected Brutalism as a movement too close to its description, instead celebrating its 'ruthless logic' and 'coherence of the building as a visual entity'. For Reyner Banham it was 'architecture of our time' and vital for paving the way towards a new modernism. Perhaps the best example is Hunstanton School, Tate has the original ground plans and illustrations on display. This was the first major triumph for architectural duo Alison and Peter Smithson, who won the competition for its commission while they were both only in their 20s. Form entirely followed function, some elements of the building were even left exposed like the water tower, and their steel, glass and brick emphasis took inspiration from Mies van der Rohe.

Above: Henderson & Paolozzi: Study for Parallel of Life and Art, 1952

Below: Paolozzi: From Patio and Pavillion, 1956

The success of Hunstanton relied on a collaboration between the architects and Ronald Jenkins, Eduardo Paolozzi and Nigel Henderson. Along with architects, artists, writers and critics they formed The Independent Group and met regularly at the ICA to debate and challenge established views of Modernism. Together the group organised cutting-edge shows including Parallel of Life and Art curated with Reyner Banham at the ICA in 1953. Parallel of Life and Art pulled together black and white photographs from both fine art and non-art sources such as archaeological studies with works hung unconventionally at varying heights and angles. The exhibition merged art and science, questioning both art's place in society and its curatorial display, what unified the photographs was their role in recording human existence. Despite falling under the Brutalist title, this show expressed a lyricism and poetry that relied not on pristine aesthetics but a deeper connection to the outside world.

Left: Photographs of Hunstanton School by John Maltby and Reginald Hugo de Burgh Galwey, 1955

L-R: Room view of Tate's 'New Brutalist Image', Victor Pasmore: Jenkins Office Cabinet, 1952

New Brutalist Image 1949-55 at Tate Britain is on now until 4 October and free

More info here

Artists and Models: Tate Britain's Archive Spotlight

Tate Britain's current Archive display has unearthed a series of stunning sketches, paintings, photographs and letters that explore the relationship between artist and model. Check it out if you're at Tate, it's open until 19 April and free.

There's a dedication to Eileen Mayo who had a meticulous approach to drawing and design and greatly valued life drawing, she even worked as an artist's model herself.

Then there's Marita Ross ... a captivating and particularly popular 20th century artists'  model, she was cutely nicknamed 'Angel Face'. Her bold poses and exciting confidence challenged the static past for artists' models. She also worked as a writer and journalist, have a look at the witty poem she wrote about the model figure ...

Tate Collective x Joceline Howe: Shape Studio

This December's Late at Tate was dynamic, exciting and impressively loud! Working alongside artist Joceline Howe, Tate Collective decided to focus on an intriguing and slightly ambiguous artist, Marlow Moss, for our event on the night.

Marlow Moss is another great artist so many of us had never heard of … or at least I, admittedly, hadn’t. Tate’s current display hopes to change that, with a delicate and focused display of her characteristic Abstract paintings and Constructivist sculptures.

Moss was definitely going against the grain in the mid 1920s when she changed her name from Marjorie to Marlow, chopped her hair into a mannish crew cut and began wearing a man’s blazer and cravat. At a time where many women still couldn’t get the vote and gendered conformity was expected, Moss was a daringly obvious and proud lesbian artist.

Living and travelling between London, Cornwall, Paris and Amsterdam, Moss was very much engaged in the International Constructivist movement. She had met Mondrian during her travels to Paris, where she exhibited frequently, and his influence is unmistakable; the same geometric criss-cross grids and black painted shapes float on pure, white backgrounds.

So, back to the entertaining bit ... we'd decided our main aim for the night was that all participants had a heap of fun, as well as the chance to discover and respond to the work of Marlow Moss and bring Constructivist geometry to life ... so a Shape Studio seemed the perfect place!

Drawing directly on the paintings and sculptures of Marlow Moss we isolated block-coloured geometric shapes and constructed them in cardboard covered in bright fabrics. We invited visitors to get creative at our Shape Studio in Tate Britain's South Duveens, placed against a white backdrop individuals, friends and families arranged themselves and their shapes to create an individual Marlow Moss inspired image and all captured by artist Nicky Giraffe.

Did you come along to Shape Studio? Find your pics, taken by Nicky Giraffe, here on Tate Collective's Facebook

Check out some GIFs from the night on Tate Collective's Tumblr