Steve Lambert at Charlie James Gallery

{A billboard by Steve Lambert}

Chinatown had a coordinated Art Night last night, possibly as a response to my plea to reduce art driving (just kidding…). The best show was new advertising signs by Steve Lambert at Charlie James Gallery, including a massive sign with flashing lights declaring “Look Away.” The signs are just pure fun and pretty good to look at too. I wouldn’t mind having one around.

Lambert is gleefully playing with the role of commerce in art. Across town, Sam Durant has used a similar form of advertising strategy, the light box, but with different intentions.

{Sam Durant, This is Freedom, installation view at Blum & Poe.}

I’ve had a few discussions with friends about these light boxes. Although some people really hate this show by Durant, I have to say I like these light boxes (can’t say the same for the pencil drawings of protests which are the source material for the language and style of the signs.)

Yes, the light boxes are huge. Yes, Durant is using white guilt or something to make money….but given that these were originally made for the Sydney Biennial and displayed outdoors, I understand the scale. I just wish that Durant was willing to acknowledge (like Lambert) that what he is really doing is selling some awesome shit that lights up and flashes.

> Steve Lambert at
> Everything You Want, by Lambert, is up through June 6 at Charlie James Gallery.
> This is Freedom? by Sam Durant, up through May 16 at Blum & Poe.

Go to Eco Art Blog

Manchester Festival announces programme: it’s good

manchester21The second Manchester International Festival released its 2009 programme this week. It’s turning into the the best multi-platform arts festival in the UK – but then the size of its budget – a whopping £10m this year – probably helps with that. That said, they’re making great artistic decisions. While the Edinburgh International Festival is clearly on the up under Jonathan Mills, Manchester is setting a great standard in new commissions.

And obviously chosing to put an image for Gustav Metzger’s new plea for environmental sanity Flailing Trees, which is one of those commisions, on the cover shows a kind of ethical intent which other festivals need to match.

More about Metzger’s sculpture here.

Go to RSA Arts & Ecology