I’ve had a very fun and exciting morning.
Regular visitors might remember that I recently co-curated a week long exhibition, (including some of my own photographic work), at The Works Gallery in Birmingham…It should have been great…But, between you and I, Dear Reader, the experience was veering rather more towards shite. Though a lot of the work there was really impressive, (heads up particularly to Kerry Smith, Amber Scarisbrick and Jasmine Hitchens), the show was appallingly attended and was a damn sight more trouble than it was worth. Very disappointing.
However, I am not one to let poor advertising and apathy get me down.
So today I grabbed my 15 minutes of fame…….
I set myself three tasks:
- Hang an exhibition in 15 minutes.
- Promote an exhibition in 15 minutes.
- Deliver an exhibition that lasts, (yes, you’ve guessed it), 15 minutes.
Because this idea came to me in a drunken stupor yesterday evening, I had no time to book and pay for a gallery space, so instead decided on a totally unauthorised, ninja-like incursion of The Bessant Gallery in Wolverhampton which I’d noticed was currently empty. I’d thought if I was in and out in an hour, there would be little chance of Arrest, Expulsion, or Death by Nunchucks, and luckily I was right.
The hang actually took 11 minutes, (due to careful use of pre-rolled blue-tack) and I started promoting the event at 10.45 am by running, (like a fucking madman), around the George Wallis Building, giving out the flyers you see above.
The exhibition started at 11.00 am and, I’m please to report, there were visitors from the first minute. By 11.03 twelve people had stormed the door… rather more than I bargained for… and then…whew!…the throng grew almost swollen when Matt Finn, visiting lecturer and Jerwood Prize winning photographer, accompanied by my other lecturers, brought a group of students he was teaching in for a shufti, resulting in what actually looked like quite a busy launch. Result!
There was, however, a bit of a downside to this…….
Lecturers have no interest in letting you bask in your glory. No opportunity for casual mingling and polite conversation. No “Helloh Dahhrling….How absolutely lovely to see you”…. No ” You’re a genius…Have my phone number, my husbands away”…None of that!
Instead I was thrust into the spotlight, (the observant among you will notice I was going for a bit of mystery and hadn’t even put my name on the flyer), and ended up doing an impromptu presentation, and speaking and answering questions about the work for..(and this is the really bad bit).. way, way, WAY longer than my planned 15 minutes…. Ah well, I almost stuck to the plan.
This was a great experience. Apart from a bit of printing before the fact, the whole thing took less than two hours including the trip to the gallery and back. Over forty people filled in comments forms, and, most importantly, the Q and A was easily the most useful feedback experience that I’ve had since I first started showing examples of this work last Autumn.
In retrospect it would have been nice to have documented this better…Hand on heart, I expected a quiet and sedate fifteen minutes with maybe a dozen visitors in total. The reality took me completely by surprise. Luckily, I took a couple of smartphone shots before the doors were open, and I managed to get one shot once people had started to arrive… but, if I ever do anything like this again, I’ll get a colleague to photograph and record the event…..
If, as Mr Warhol suggested, we are only allotted fifteen minutes of fame, it really would make sense to have a record.