Monday, 17 October 2011

Power, Older People, Australia, Young People, Drugs and St Perry of Essex

Ai Weiwei tops the art world’s ‘power 100 list’…whatever that is! ‘His art activism has been a reminder of how art can reach out to a bigger audience and connect with the real world…Institutions, while they are really important, can be great tombs.’
Mark Rappolt, Editer, Art Review

How we value older people, the arts and the 'market'
I’m thrilled to be giving the opening key-note at the 3rd Annual Art of Good Health and Wellbeing International Arts and Health Conference, which is taking place at the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra between the 14 and 17 November 2011. I’ve written a paper which explores the role of the arts when we are faced with serious illness and which asks, in the face of our own mortality, just what relevance can culture and the arts play, if any. An article in today’s Gurdian chimes with much of the sentiment of my paper (see directly below)

The Hon Simon Crean MP Minister for Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government, Minister for the Arts, will be opening the conference and I’ll be giving my paper at around 6:15 on Monday the 14th, so if you want to hear it and get involved in our international debate, please come along.

Illustration by Andrzej Krauze
 NHS end-of-life care has been crippled by a marketised mindset that sees everything in terms of its economic value 'Our market-shaped way of life has no time for the elderly or the art of caring.' Madeline Bunting captures some of the outrageous issues affecting us all, around how we age; end of life care and the insidious ‘market led’ approach to ‘care.’  

What young people are really thinking?
The Art of Protest is a pop-up exhibition organised that will take place in empty shops on Manchester's Market Street from 19 to 27 October. The charity Noise sent photographers Liam Carter, Sebastian
Heise, Lucia Zapata and Marta Julve out on the streets of Manchester, Madrid, Valencia and Berlin, to ask young people the question: 'What would make you protest?' Displaying the resultant images in an area hit by the recent riots is a powerful statement of disillusioned youth

To find out more go to:    

Why Americans Pay So Much More For Brand-Name Drugs (and Canadians don’t)
Brilliant Graphics and another sharp commentary on the pharmaceutical industry from
…and a Big Thanks to Cheryl Godden

On the Secular Beatification of St Perry of Essex
I’m often asked if I’m after a ‘celebrity’ to be a patron of Arts for Health, and in truth, we’ve had some great people behind our work over the years including Lord Attenborough; Joan Bakewell; Melvyn Bragg and Sam Taylor-Wood, but the current obsession with fame and all its glories, has left a bit of doubt in my mind around publicity, for publicity’s sake. Much of this has been reflected by the vapid self-celebration of contemporary British art.

This said, I had an almost revelatory moment at the British Museum this weekend, in the exhibition by Grayson Perry: Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, which I would recommend to anyone, particularly the people who ask, ‘what’s the relationship between arts and heath?’ I tend to open up a conversation about it being more than just a prescription...

Perry has produced something completely exquisite in his curation of artifacts’ from the British Museum and creation of his own work. I don’t particularly think he lays it on with a trowel either. It’s a beautiful show, with some challenging work that whilst exploring Perry’s own experience of being human, offers though the arts, far wider thoughts on being individual and part of a community. It’s not dumbed down in the slightest…if anything, he ups the ante.

Grayson Perry (b. 1960), The Rosetta Vase, 2011. © Grayson Perry. Courtesy Victoria Miro Gallery, London.
So on the basis of his enduring wit, cynicism and piercing beauty, I suggest some kind of secular beatification of Perry, and instead of approaching him to be a patron, he could be co-opted as our very own (and exquisitely flawed) Patron-Saint of the Arts.

An artists answer to the credit crisis…
Michael Landy’s Credit Card Destroying Machine was unveiled at the Frieze Art Fair last week. The huge Jean Tinguely-inspired contraption, pieced together from a random collection of found objects such as mannequin limbs and Mickey Mouse figures, is surrounded by tiny bits of shredded credit cards on the floor. In return for a drawing made by the machine that bears Landy’s signature, people have to hand over a valid credit card for shredding. An assistant feeds pre-signed sheets of paper into the machine and off it goes, with a marker pen attached to a metal arm doing an automated random drawing (you can choose the colour). Some 300 credit cards were shredded during the first day alone (including the private view). Landy, of course, is best known for shredding all his worldly possessions a few years ago. (Thanks to and Thomas Dane)

...and for all of you eagerly awaiting Part 1 of the m a n i f e s t o for arts/health, I can confirm that the wonderful Kamila Kasperowicz has been creating a stunning digital and hard copy version for your delectation…

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