Thursday 2 January 2014

Turn of the year

I went to snowy Norway before Christmas, one of the reasons why I've not posted for a while. I lived in Oslo for a number of years, but that was many years ago, and it is always curious to see how a place has changed, or not, over a long period of time, and of course you always have a different perspective with the passing of time.

I visited the National Gallery, and it struck me that these are the places to understand how a
country/nation sees itself. Or perhaps how it likes to present a idealised view of itself. The main Norwegian artists here are Krogh, Dahl, Cappelen, Tidemand and Fearnley. I wonder how far the traditional presentation of a National Trust property is a similar way of creating an idealised view of a very English mythology.

I also had a look around the National Academy of the Arts, in particular the metalwork and
jewellery department. It's a fabulous place to study, with lots of space in very modern workshops, set in an old sail-making factory. Education is still free in Norway - they've made good use of all their oil money, securing a very long-term future with the largest investment fund in the world.

In the week after I got back, I had a meeting with Jack Nelson and Nicola Shipley (of GRAIN) back at Birmingham Library to discuss a GFTA bid to work with Jack on a photography project with teenagers. We also had a visit from Tom Godfrey to discuss working with young artists in the Midlands, and Ann Jones from the Arts Council to look at where we might show Grayson Perry's The Vanity of Small Differences when they come to Croome in 2016.

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