Turnaround plan unveiled after Firstsite visitor numbers drop by 25,000

Gazette: Turnaround plan unveiled after Firstsite visitor numbers drop by 25,000 Turnaround plan unveiled after Firstsite visitor numbers drop by 25,000

FIRSTSITE’S director has set out his vision for change after visitor numbers dropped by 15 per cent.

The first year of the art gallery was hailed a success after 172,000 visitors came through the doors.

But in its second 12 months, up to September 2013, the centre attracted 147,000 visitors.

The venue, which opened in 2011 after years of delays and cost rises, aims to attract at least 150,000 visitors a year.

Director Matthew Rowe has revealed the organisation is beginning a “programme for change” aimed at dramatically boosting the gallery’s popularity.

Changes coming include: ý More art exhibitions making greater use of the space of the £28million venue.

ý Exhibitions in the entrance in the style of the Tate Modern’s “turbine hall”.

ý A private fundraising drive to pay for the hire of more artwork and exhibitions.

ý Better training for gallery assistants so they can explain how the contemporary art on display can be interpreted.

ý Greater use of the land surrounding the building, including a new children’s playing field.

ý Longer opening hours if and when the regeneration of the area, including a proposed cinema at neighbouring Roman House, comes to fruition.

ý A new director of communications, starting early next year, to increase Firstsite’s presence on social media.

ýAnew website which will use more film and aural content.

Mr Rowe said: “It’s not a disastrous situation, but I think there’s room to develop.

“I’m confident we can improve these figures.

“We think we can communicate about the art we show in a more accessible manner.

We will also have a better programme or projects and exhibitions.

“My ambition is to make more consistent use of the building and its architecture “We might have three or four different artist exhibitions in the building at any one time.

“There will be more opportunities for people to like what they see or engage with what they see.”

Mr Rowe warned many of his proposed changes would not become apparent until 2015 because arts venues largely work 16 to 18 months in advance.

One of the criticisms Firstsite has faced is visitors not well versed in modern art struggle to unders t a n d the abstract installations.

Mr Rowe said with £850,000 a year coming from the Arts Council to promote the contemporary scene, challenging exhibitions will continue to be displayed.

But he said the greater training for gallery assistants will mean they can help explain some of the theories behind the artwork.

He said: “One of the real strengths of Firstsite is we attract a very broad range of visitors, from specialists to the less experienced.

“Clearly, contemporary art can be challenging for the first-time visitor and therefore it’s really important institutions like Firstsite really invest in the welcome and the conversations that can take place.

“We want visiting to become a much more social experience so you’re almost able to hear the artist speak or have a conversation with the artist, with the gallery assistant as intermediary.”

Mr Rowe said one reason for the drop in visitors was the lack of a director following the retirement of his predecessor, Kath Wood, in summer 2012,.

He said: “There are many examples of visitor figures dropping in year two.

“With Firstsite there were other circumstances. For six months the organisation didn’t have a director so the strategic direction of the was left in abeyance.”

Comments (31)

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7:35am Mon 30 Dec 13

jim_bo says...

15% 25% ???? Is this made up?

Surely it's time to abandon this folly and turn the place into a roman heritage centre displaying all the artifacts that are in storeage?

We would become the York of the south!
15% 25% ???? Is this made up? Surely it's time to abandon this folly and turn the place into a roman heritage centre displaying all the artifacts that are in storeage? We would become the York of the south! jim_bo

8:14am Mon 30 Dec 13

Say It As It Is OK? says...

There is a much longer report in last Fridays Essex County Standard wher Mr Rowe has been very condescending in his comments saying the majority of people don't understand modern art and they need educating, hence the plan to train VAF assistants. Comments like this do him no good at all.

Mr Rowe also says it will be 2015/16 before we can see changes! By then he will most probably have resigned, just as his predecessor did.
There is a much longer report in last Fridays Essex County Standard wher Mr Rowe has been very condescending in his comments saying the majority of people don't understand modern art and they need educating, hence the plan to train VAF assistants. Comments like this do him no good at all. Mr Rowe also says it will be 2015/16 before we can see changes! By then he will most probably have resigned, just as his predecessor did. Say It As It Is OK?

9:46am Mon 30 Dec 13

romantic says...

Frankly, I don't believe the figure of 147,000 visitors per year. The times I have been there, there have been just a handful of other people there. It would be interesting to see how they reach these figures.

Nonetheless, we don't gain anything by it failing, because it is our money - by one route or another - which has already been spent on this. If the public are not rolling in in droves, it is not the fault of the public! The VAF seems to scarcely market itself at all. I've had people stay with me and wander around the town centre, and even after 2 days, have no idea the VAF is even there! And I live 5 minutes from it. Colchester as a whole seems not to market itself very well, Firstsite seem to do even less to get their message across.

The things which do get people in are things like the film nights and kids activities. They need to do more such things, evening events which get people in who might otherwise never think of going there. The restaurant is a disaster, serving up very ordinary grub at highly inflated prices. People might go once, but they won't get stung again, not when there is a town full of eating places so close by. Have a restaurant which people want to come to and they will look at the exhibits on the way through.

The VAF perhaps have to decide if they need to become more "populist". Their implied attitude always seems to be that they are this beacon of enlightened artistic awareness sadly dumped into a town full of uneducated yokels. This means that any criticism is airily dismissed as being due to dealing with backwater peasants. I think they can do both things: have the challenging modern art there, but also have the exhibitions by local artists, the gigs, the films etc.

It would also be good to get the real visitor numbers ie not including the staff each time they come and go, or delivery drivers, or people just going in to use the loos. I won't hold my breath for that.

I want the VAF to succeed, but it is seen by a lot of people as the preserve of an artistic clique rather than a place they would feel welcome in. The trick is to break down that barrier without having to completely dumb down.
Frankly, I don't believe the figure of 147,000 visitors per year. The times I have been there, there have been just a handful of other people there. It would be interesting to see how they reach these figures. Nonetheless, we don't gain anything by it failing, because it is our money - by one route or another - which has already been spent on this. If the public are not rolling in in droves, it is not the fault of the public! The VAF seems to scarcely market itself at all. I've had people stay with me and wander around the town centre, and even after 2 days, have no idea the VAF is even there! And I live 5 minutes from it. Colchester as a whole seems not to market itself very well, Firstsite seem to do even less to get their message across. The things which do get people in are things like the film nights and kids activities. They need to do more such things, evening events which get people in who might otherwise never think of going there. The restaurant is a disaster, serving up very ordinary grub at highly inflated prices. People might go once, but they won't get stung again, not when there is a town full of eating places so close by. Have a restaurant which people want to come to and they will look at the exhibits on the way through. The VAF perhaps have to decide if they need to become more "populist". Their implied attitude always seems to be that they are this beacon of enlightened artistic awareness sadly dumped into a town full of uneducated yokels. This means that any criticism is airily dismissed as being due to dealing with backwater peasants. I think they can do both things: have the challenging modern art there, but also have the exhibitions by local artists, the gigs, the films etc. It would also be good to get the real visitor numbers ie not including the staff each time they come and go, or delivery drivers, or people just going in to use the loos. I won't hold my breath for that. I want the VAF to succeed, but it is seen by a lot of people as the preserve of an artistic clique rather than a place they would feel welcome in. The trick is to break down that barrier without having to completely dumb down. romantic

10:01am Mon 30 Dec 13

pixiebell87 says...

heres an idea close the stupid thing an spend the millions wasted there on things people of this town actually need or is that idea to advanced for the council!!
heres an idea close the stupid thing an spend the millions wasted there on things people of this town actually need or is that idea to advanced for the council!! pixiebell87

10:09am Mon 30 Dec 13

jim_bo says...

Pixiebell the actual cost was £2 million to the Colchester taxpayer. Which isn't bad as the total cost was £29 million.

So even if it does fail we get a very expensive building for just £2million.
Pixiebell the actual cost was £2 million to the Colchester taxpayer. Which isn't bad as the total cost was £29 million. So even if it does fail we get a very expensive building for just £2million. jim_bo

11:02am Mon 30 Dec 13

totallyfootball says...

Alert to Tesco's or Morrison's?
Alert to Tesco's or Morrison's? totallyfootball

12:06pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Nevtyler says...

Contemporary art is challenging? Or to put it another way ****!
Contemporary art is challenging? Or to put it another way ****! Nevtyler

1:21pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Catchedicam says...

59 people per hour eight hours per day, every day of the year. These are pure fantasy figures. Exactly the same as the figures that Kath Wood invented to justify this ridiculous folly in the first place.
59 people per hour eight hours per day, every day of the year. These are pure fantasy figures. Exactly the same as the figures that Kath Wood invented to justify this ridiculous folly in the first place. Catchedicam

1:24pm Mon 30 Dec 13

stevedawson says...

I like the idea of exhibiting all our stored treasures including the clocks.
I like the idea of exhibiting all our stored treasures including the clocks. stevedawson

1:38pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Bengreen1980 says...

I am so surprised by this headline... I mean, who could have seen this coming?
I am so surprised by this headline... I mean, who could have seen this coming? Bengreen1980

2:39pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Goonerboy says...

All visitors should be given a ticket and enter through a turnstile . This is the only way to get a justifiable figure. The turnstile should be located at the entrance with a separate access for the café . This would allow a breakdown to be produced of users of the café , visitors to exhibitions and those attending events or meetings . A true assessment can then be made of what the facility is being used for
All visitors should be given a ticket and enter through a turnstile . This is the only way to get a justifiable figure. The turnstile should be located at the entrance with a separate access for the café . This would allow a breakdown to be produced of users of the café , visitors to exhibitions and those attending events or meetings . A true assessment can then be made of what the facility is being used for Goonerboy

2:44pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Gavin2z says...

Financially does it really matter. Entry is free so what effect does a fall in visitor numbers have?
The taxpayer is lumbered..er...I mean responsible for keeping the thing afloat anyway.
Financially does it really matter. Entry is free so what effect does a fall in visitor numbers have? The taxpayer is lumbered..er...I mean responsible for keeping the thing afloat anyway. Gavin2z

6:21pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Noah4x4 says...

This news item grabbed my attention as a Colchester resident that has never visited this local "attraction" . I thought, perhaps I should at least take a look at its website; just to see what I am missing; given that I do enjoy visits to places of artistic appeal; for example to the fine galleries in Paris; Venice; Florence and, of course, London.

There; I read that the current primary "sculpture" exhibit is 'two decommissioned USAF aircraft engines stuffed with crushed anti-depressant drugs'. If one stuffed a booze-bus full of crushed depressed football fans it might be far more meaningful and relevant to this town.

I hence agree with the earlier suggestion. Make this venue a tribute to Colchester's remarkable heritage; to the Roman's & to Boudicca; a centre something to rival York's Jorvik Centre; plus Sutton Hoo combined.

Surely enough important local road and construction projects have been held up to date by the archaeologists to discover enough artefacts to create a decent exhibition to attract circa 1,000 tourists per day and be of genuine benefit to the Town? I would happily pay to visit that; but never to see a pile of military junk full of pills.
This news item grabbed my attention as a Colchester resident that has never visited this local "attraction" . I thought, perhaps I should at least take a look at its website; just to see what I am missing; given that I do enjoy visits to places of artistic appeal; for example to the fine galleries in Paris; Venice; Florence and, of course, London. There; I read that the current primary "sculpture" exhibit is 'two decommissioned USAF aircraft engines stuffed with crushed anti-depressant drugs'. If one stuffed a booze-bus full of crushed depressed football fans it might be far more meaningful and relevant to this town. I hence agree with the earlier suggestion. Make this venue a tribute to Colchester's remarkable heritage; to the Roman's & to Boudicca; a centre something to rival York's Jorvik Centre; plus Sutton Hoo combined. Surely enough important local road and construction projects have been held up to date by the archaeologists to discover enough artefacts to create a decent exhibition to attract circa 1,000 tourists per day and be of genuine benefit to the Town? I would happily pay to visit that; but never to see a pile of military junk full of pills. Noah4x4

7:20pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Hamiltonandy says...

When the VAF was being planned, I remember a councillor telling me "You are going to get the VAF whether you want it or not". I watched the councillors and art elite in the Mercury theatre listen to the American architect. They were ecstatic over the glory that would be theirs and "it would only cost the Colchester taxpayer £1million". As the construction stumbled from disaster to disaster Colchester councillors agreed "not to make political capital" and support the project whatever happened. When the VAF opened I was told "we hope it will be a success" and for two years that has been the only reply I have heard.
.
The financial consequences have been harsh since so much land in the "cultural quarter" has been left derelict and buildings used briefly for "creative businesses". What could have been a prime retail shopping centre adjacent to a transport hub is now shunned by most. An area suited for war time era films and populated by unemployed youths and drunks.
.
Yet not one councillor ever challenged the public to put forward an alternative future. Instead all opponents of this lunatic enterprise were ignored and denounced. No wonder a government department privately told me they regarded the council as a basket case. Two government grants have been withdrawn and infrastructure penalties have included the fabled park and ride.
.
This morally deficient elected dictatorship has no shame but will continue to be humiliated as their abandoned "cultural quarter" becomes a fitting monument to their arrogance and greed.
When the VAF was being planned, I remember a councillor telling me "You are going to get the VAF whether you want it or not". I watched the councillors and art elite in the Mercury theatre listen to the American architect. They were ecstatic over the glory that would be theirs and "it would only cost the Colchester taxpayer £1million". As the construction stumbled from disaster to disaster Colchester councillors agreed "not to make political capital" and support the project whatever happened. When the VAF opened I was told "we hope it will be a success" and for two years that has been the only reply I have heard. . The financial consequences have been harsh since so much land in the "cultural quarter" has been left derelict and buildings used briefly for "creative businesses". What could have been a prime retail shopping centre adjacent to a transport hub is now shunned by most. An area suited for war time era films and populated by unemployed youths and drunks. . Yet not one councillor ever challenged the public to put forward an alternative future. Instead all opponents of this lunatic enterprise were ignored and denounced. No wonder a government department privately told me they regarded the council as a basket case. Two government grants have been withdrawn and infrastructure penalties have included the fabled park and ride. . This morally deficient elected dictatorship has no shame but will continue to be humiliated as their abandoned "cultural quarter" becomes a fitting monument to their arrogance and greed. Hamiltonandy

8:10pm Mon 30 Dec 13

jim_bo says...

If that's true then name and shame Andy. You can't be done for liable if it's true.

As for cultural heritage centre, how bout a petition for change of use?
If that's true then name and shame Andy. You can't be done for liable if it's true. As for cultural heritage centre, how bout a petition for change of use? jim_bo

8:53pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Sidney Harbour-Bridge says...

Do they get a share of the fines being generated by the no right turn into Queens St from the High St? I personally know one person who got caught trying to find Firstsite where he had arranged a company Christmas function who won't be going back.
Do they get a share of the fines being generated by the no right turn into Queens St from the High St? I personally know one person who got caught trying to find Firstsite where he had arranged a company Christmas function who won't be going back. Sidney Harbour-Bridge

9:40pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Boris says...

Mr Rowe proposes "Better training for gallery assistants so they can explain how the contemporary art on display can be interpreted". But all those fragrant assistants, standing around, seem reasonably educated. Are they not graduates in art appreciation or similar? If not, why not? There are plenty of unemployed art graduates, willing to work for the minimum wage, especially if the job is in their chosen field, so why the devil does Firstsite not employ them?
And if these young people are art graduates, how much training do they need? They should already be able to explain anything in the VAF to anyone.
Mr Rowe proposes "Better training for gallery assistants so they can explain how the contemporary art on display can be interpreted". But all those fragrant assistants, standing around, seem reasonably educated. Are they not graduates in art appreciation or similar? If not, why not? There are plenty of unemployed art graduates, willing to work for the minimum wage, especially if the job is in their chosen field, so why the devil does Firstsite not employ them? And if these young people are art graduates, how much training do they need? They should already be able to explain anything in the VAF to anyone. Boris

9:49pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Boris says...

Say It As It Is OK? wrote:
There is a much longer report in last Fridays Essex County Standard wher Mr Rowe has been very condescending in his comments saying the majority of people don't understand modern art and they need educating, hence the plan to train VAF assistants. Comments like this do him no good at all.

Mr Rowe also says it will be 2015/16 before we can see changes! By then he will most probably have resigned, just as his predecessor did.
In the printed report in the ECS, the impertinent Mr Rowe complains about the skateboarders using the space outside the VAF entrance. First, they are none of his business, for that space belongs to CBC, not Firstsite. Secondly, the skateboarders at least liven the place up, which is more than can be said for any of the exhibitions in the VAF to date. It is exceedingly disappointing to see the head of this mediocre art gallery siding with the killjoys.
[quote][p][bold]Say It As It Is OK?[/bold] wrote: There is a much longer report in last Fridays Essex County Standard wher Mr Rowe has been very condescending in his comments saying the majority of people don't understand modern art and they need educating, hence the plan to train VAF assistants. Comments like this do him no good at all. Mr Rowe also says it will be 2015/16 before we can see changes! By then he will most probably have resigned, just as his predecessor did.[/p][/quote]In the printed report in the ECS, the impertinent Mr Rowe complains about the skateboarders using the space outside the VAF entrance. First, they are none of his business, for that space belongs to CBC, not Firstsite. Secondly, the skateboarders at least liven the place up, which is more than can be said for any of the exhibitions in the VAF to date. It is exceedingly disappointing to see the head of this mediocre art gallery siding with the killjoys. Boris

10:06pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Boris says...

Catchedicam wrote:
59 people per hour eight hours per day, every day of the year. These are pure fantasy figures. Exactly the same as the figures that Kath Wood invented to justify this ridiculous folly in the first place.
Too right. A highly respected person reported how he counted every person entering during the course of one hour. I think there were 11, every one of whom was a staff member returning to work, or a delivery person, or a person heading straight for the toilets. OK, that is only one hour, but it fits with my own observations. You are certainly correct that the invented figures started under Kath Wood, and of course her successor(s) must invent figures to suggest graceful degradation from those initial fantasy totals.
[quote][p][bold]Catchedicam[/bold] wrote: 59 people per hour eight hours per day, every day of the year. These are pure fantasy figures. Exactly the same as the figures that Kath Wood invented to justify this ridiculous folly in the first place.[/p][/quote]Too right. A highly respected person reported how he counted every person entering during the course of one hour. I think there were 11, every one of whom was a staff member returning to work, or a delivery person, or a person heading straight for the toilets. OK, that is only one hour, but it fits with my own observations. You are certainly correct that the invented figures started under Kath Wood, and of course her successor(s) must invent figures to suggest graceful degradation from those initial fantasy totals. Boris

10:14pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Boris says...

jim_bo wrote:
If that's true then name and shame Andy. You can't be done for liable if it's true.

As for cultural heritage centre, how bout a petition for change of use?
Well over 18,000 people signed the petition to save the bus station by not building the VAF on top of it. That was ignored. Some councillors sneered that 18,000 wasn't very many. So if you want to start a petition for change of use, you will have to do a lot better than that. Good luck to you.
[quote][p][bold]jim_bo[/bold] wrote: If that's true then name and shame Andy. You can't be done for liable if it's true. As for cultural heritage centre, how bout a petition for change of use?[/p][/quote]Well over 18,000 people signed the petition to save the bus station by not building the VAF on top of it. That was ignored. Some councillors sneered that 18,000 wasn't very many. So if you want to start a petition for change of use, you will have to do a lot better than that. Good luck to you. Boris

10:46pm Mon 30 Dec 13

jut1972 says...

Mr Rowe proposes "Better training for gallery assistants so they can explain how the contemporary art on display can be interpreted".

This is a good move. I personally heard Kath Wood patronise someone who suggested this or information boards to explain the art, meaning, materials, techniques etc. She stormed off in a huff.

All of the proposed changes sound good (apart from social media manager, good god, they have staff standing around you don't need to be a genius...) however, they will take years to come to fruition

A populist move would be to establish a history of Colchester exhibition whilst the castle is being repaired, the material is there, hopefully the will is too..
Mr Rowe proposes "Better training for gallery assistants so they can explain how the contemporary art on display can be interpreted". This is a good move. I personally heard Kath Wood patronise someone who suggested this or information boards to explain the art, meaning, materials, techniques etc. She stormed off in a huff. All of the proposed changes sound good (apart from social media manager, good god, they have staff standing around you don't need to be a genius...) however, they will take years to come to fruition A populist move would be to establish a history of Colchester exhibition whilst the castle is being repaired, the material is there, hopefully the will is too.. jut1972

11:56pm Mon 30 Dec 13

Hamiltonandy says...

I remember the hard work a few people did to petition to keep the bus station and get councillors elected on a keep the bus station open ticket. As far as I remember Colchester Council came out with a previously secret agreement with Essex County Council that could not be changed or made public. It was never discussed at council meetings I went to so councillors were confident apathy would win out.
.
Unfortunately Firstsite have a forty year lease and are committed both by their "charitable objects" and the council lease to do exclusively "visual and media arts". The Art Council require free entrance so there is no means of recovering the costs of general exhibitions from the public. The only solution is for Firstsite to give up the lease in favour of a commercial exhibition management company with a free hand both for the VAF and surrounding land. No charity could afford the expensive maintenance of this structurally deficient building that is currently charged to Colchester Council under the Firstsite lease terms.
.
I remember the hard work a few people did to petition to keep the bus station and get councillors elected on a keep the bus station open ticket. As far as I remember Colchester Council came out with a previously secret agreement with Essex County Council that could not be changed or made public. It was never discussed at council meetings I went to so councillors were confident apathy would win out. . Unfortunately Firstsite have a forty year lease and are committed both by their "charitable objects" and the council lease to do exclusively "visual and media arts". The Art Council require free entrance so there is no means of recovering the costs of general exhibitions from the public. The only solution is for Firstsite to give up the lease in favour of a commercial exhibition management company with a free hand both for the VAF and surrounding land. No charity could afford the expensive maintenance of this structurally deficient building that is currently charged to Colchester Council under the Firstsite lease terms. . Hamiltonandy

12:44am Tue 31 Dec 13

nathanflatman says...

The gallery staff aren't the issue.
The gallery staff aren't the issue. nathanflatman

9:50am Tue 31 Dec 13

No! I am Spartacus says...

So the people that visit the VAF need staff to explain the exhibits?

Having been a couple of times (as well as to many other galleries and museums), either a label with short overview is satisfactory, or the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense. Of course, that is opinion, as is all 'Art', but when you start telling people what they 'should' feel about exhibits, you become a patronising self righteous fool.

As mentioned before, the 147k figure appears contrived. I would guess it includes staff, delivery men and people that have booked the venue for functions. Unfortunately, as detailed in the link below, we will continue to pay for this waste for some time.... all whilst ECC penny pinch by turning off lights,
( http://www.gazette-n
ews.co.uk/news/93999
08.Taxpayers_will_ke
ep_funding_art_galle
ry/ )
So the people that visit the VAF need staff to explain the exhibits? Having been a couple of times (as well as to many other galleries and museums), either a label with short overview is satisfactory, or the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense. Of course, that is opinion, as is all 'Art', but when you start telling people what they 'should' feel about exhibits, you become a patronising self righteous fool. As mentioned before, the 147k figure appears contrived. I would guess it includes staff, delivery men and people that have booked the venue for functions. Unfortunately, as detailed in the link below, we will continue to pay for this waste for some time.... all whilst ECC penny pinch by turning off lights, ( http://www.gazette-n ews.co.uk/news/93999 08.Taxpayers_will_ke ep_funding_art_galle ry/ ) No! I am Spartacus

2:55pm Tue 31 Dec 13

William George says...

Being related to lots of artwork myself and found that past and present art to be interesting.

If the subjects Noah you have described are like that at the VAF, then they would be termed by the artists as non presentable subjects.
That is where your points of views in your comment could not be made any more clearer than that.

A good artist of the distant future would only possibly have mild doubts( if any) about that.
Being related to lots of artwork myself and found that past and present art to be interesting. If the subjects Noah you have described are like that at the VAF, then they would be termed by the artists as non presentable subjects. That is where your points of views in your comment could not be made any more clearer than that. A good artist of the distant future would only possibly have mild doubts( if any) about that. William George

4:15pm Tue 31 Dec 13

jut1972 says...

No! I am Spartacus wrote:
So the people that visit the VAF need staff to explain the exhibits?

Having been a couple of times (as well as to many other galleries and museums), either a label with short overview is satisfactory, or the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense. Of course, that is opinion, as is all 'Art', but when you start telling people what they 'should' feel about exhibits, you become a patronising self righteous fool.

As mentioned before, the 147k figure appears contrived. I would guess it includes staff, delivery men and people that have booked the venue for functions. Unfortunately, as detailed in the link below, we will continue to pay for this waste for some time.... all whilst ECC penny pinch by turning off lights,
( http://www.gazette-n

ews.co.uk/news/93999

08.Taxpayers_will_ke

ep_funding_art_galle

ry/ )
Self indulgent nonsense? But of an over reaction there...
Having a deeper understanding of a piece of art is a good thing regardless of the type of art. E.g. The hidden messages and codes in historical portrait painting.
[quote][p][bold]No! I am Spartacus[/bold] wrote: So the people that visit the VAF need staff to explain the exhibits? Having been a couple of times (as well as to many other galleries and museums), either a label with short overview is satisfactory, or the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense. Of course, that is opinion, as is all 'Art', but when you start telling people what they 'should' feel about exhibits, you become a patronising self righteous fool. As mentioned before, the 147k figure appears contrived. I would guess it includes staff, delivery men and people that have booked the venue for functions. Unfortunately, as detailed in the link below, we will continue to pay for this waste for some time.... all whilst ECC penny pinch by turning off lights, ( http://www.gazette-n ews.co.uk/news/93999 08.Taxpayers_will_ke ep_funding_art_galle ry/ )[/p][/quote]Self indulgent nonsense? But of an over reaction there... Having a deeper understanding of a piece of art is a good thing regardless of the type of art. E.g. The hidden messages and codes in historical portrait painting. jut1972

4:38pm Tue 31 Dec 13

No! I am Spartacus says...

jut1972 wrote:
No! I am Spartacus wrote:
So the people that visit the VAF need staff to explain the exhibits?

Having been a couple of times (as well as to many other galleries and museums), either a label with short overview is satisfactory, or the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense. Of course, that is opinion, as is all 'Art', but when you start telling people what they 'should' feel about exhibits, you become a patronising self righteous fool.

As mentioned before, the 147k figure appears contrived. I would guess it includes staff, delivery men and people that have booked the venue for functions. Unfortunately, as detailed in the link below, we will continue to pay for this waste for some time.... all whilst ECC penny pinch by turning off lights,
( http://www.gazette-n


ews.co.uk/news/93999


08.Taxpayers_will_ke


ep_funding_art_galle


ry/ )
Self indulgent nonsense? But of an over reaction there...
Having a deeper understanding of a piece of art is a good thing regardless of the type of art. E.g. The hidden messages and codes in historical portrait painting.
Over-reaction? It was my opinion, yours may differ, but in insisting yours is the correct one just seems patronising.

Having a deep understanding of art is all well and good, and can be very rewarding, but let me take one example from the VAF now:

'The sculpture consists of two engines from a decommissioned military surveillance aeroplane. The Boeing EC-135c aircraft was part of a fleet that gathered intelligence as part of an ongoing US initiative codenamed 'Operation Looking Glass', begun in 1961. Contained within the engines is a measure of crushed anti-depressant drugs.

The work explores Hiorns' interest in the advanced technology involved in creating a powerful, aggressive symbol of war, alongside the small, yet no less powerful and aggressive pharmaceutical. Making reference to the creation and alleviation of anxiety on both a national and personal level, it addresses the connection between global security and individual well-being.'

- so, 2 decommissioned engines packed with crushed drugs... with a whole side salad of waffle trying to justify what it means in some mind addled dimension of reality. (other opinions may exist, of course)

Naturally, you may be right, Jut1972, the exhibits may be better than I believe.... but the footfall doesn't back that notion up.
[quote][p][bold]jut1972[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]No! I am Spartacus[/bold] wrote: So the people that visit the VAF need staff to explain the exhibits? Having been a couple of times (as well as to many other galleries and museums), either a label with short overview is satisfactory, or the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense. Of course, that is opinion, as is all 'Art', but when you start telling people what they 'should' feel about exhibits, you become a patronising self righteous fool. As mentioned before, the 147k figure appears contrived. I would guess it includes staff, delivery men and people that have booked the venue for functions. Unfortunately, as detailed in the link below, we will continue to pay for this waste for some time.... all whilst ECC penny pinch by turning off lights, ( http://www.gazette-n ews.co.uk/news/93999 08.Taxpayers_will_ke ep_funding_art_galle ry/ )[/p][/quote]Self indulgent nonsense? But of an over reaction there... Having a deeper understanding of a piece of art is a good thing regardless of the type of art. E.g. The hidden messages and codes in historical portrait painting.[/p][/quote]Over-reaction? It was my opinion, yours may differ, but in insisting yours is the correct one just seems patronising. Having a deep understanding of art is all well and good, and can be very rewarding, but let me take one example from the VAF now: 'The sculpture consists of two engines from a decommissioned military surveillance aeroplane. The Boeing EC-135c aircraft was part of a fleet that gathered intelligence as part of an ongoing US initiative codenamed 'Operation Looking Glass', begun in 1961. Contained within the engines is a measure of crushed anti-depressant drugs. The work explores Hiorns' interest in the advanced technology involved in creating a powerful, aggressive symbol of war, alongside the small, yet no less powerful and aggressive pharmaceutical. Making reference to the creation and alleviation of anxiety on both a national and personal level, it addresses the connection between global security and individual well-being.' - so, 2 decommissioned engines packed with crushed drugs... with a whole side salad of waffle trying to justify what it means in some mind addled dimension of reality. (other opinions may exist, of course) Naturally, you may be right, Jut1972, the exhibits may be better than I believe.... but the footfall doesn't back that notion up. No! I am Spartacus

5:21pm Tue 31 Dec 13

jut1972 says...

Your right, the footfall doesn't support any grand statements on the worth of the art but to say the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense if it can't be explained with a label and short over view is a bit much.

One of the best things I saw there was a bike where every piece had been hand cast and painted, it must have taken years. But there was no guide, no notes on how it was done, nothing. I only appreciated the work that had gone into it when a fellow visitor showed me the detail and explained the process. I daresay most visitors left none the wiser which is a shame, they missed out.
Your right, the footfall doesn't support any grand statements on the worth of the art but to say the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense if it can't be explained with a label and short over view is a bit much. One of the best things I saw there was a bike where every piece had been hand cast and painted, it must have taken years. But there was no guide, no notes on how it was done, nothing. I only appreciated the work that had gone into it when a fellow visitor showed me the detail and explained the process. I daresay most visitors left none the wiser which is a shame, they missed out. jut1972

6:24pm Tue 31 Dec 13

Catchedicam says...

jut1972 wrote:
No! I am Spartacus wrote:
So the people that visit the VAF need staff to explain the exhibits?

Having been a couple of times (as well as to many other galleries and museums), either a label with short overview is satisfactory, or the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense. Of course, that is opinion, as is all 'Art', but when you start telling people what they 'should' feel about exhibits, you become a patronising self righteous fool.

As mentioned before, the 147k figure appears contrived. I would guess it includes staff, delivery men and people that have booked the venue for functions. Unfortunately, as detailed in the link below, we will continue to pay for this waste for some time.... all whilst ECC penny pinch by turning off lights,
( http://www.gazette-n


ews.co.uk/news/93999


08.Taxpayers_will_ke


ep_funding_art_galle


ry/ )
Self indulgent nonsense? But of an over reaction there...
Having a deeper understanding of a piece of art is a good thing regardless of the type of art. E.g. The hidden messages and codes in historical portrait painting.
If art needs to be understood, as in 'explained', then it is indeed self indulgence. it should simply be enjoyed (or not) by the viewer.
[quote][p][bold]jut1972[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]No! I am Spartacus[/bold] wrote: So the people that visit the VAF need staff to explain the exhibits? Having been a couple of times (as well as to many other galleries and museums), either a label with short overview is satisfactory, or the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense. Of course, that is opinion, as is all 'Art', but when you start telling people what they 'should' feel about exhibits, you become a patronising self righteous fool. As mentioned before, the 147k figure appears contrived. I would guess it includes staff, delivery men and people that have booked the venue for functions. Unfortunately, as detailed in the link below, we will continue to pay for this waste for some time.... all whilst ECC penny pinch by turning off lights, ( http://www.gazette-n ews.co.uk/news/93999 08.Taxpayers_will_ke ep_funding_art_galle ry/ )[/p][/quote]Self indulgent nonsense? But of an over reaction there... Having a deeper understanding of a piece of art is a good thing regardless of the type of art. E.g. The hidden messages and codes in historical portrait painting.[/p][/quote]If art needs to be understood, as in 'explained', then it is indeed self indulgence. it should simply be enjoyed (or not) by the viewer. Catchedicam

6:27pm Tue 31 Dec 13

Catchedicam says...

jut1972 wrote:
Your right, the footfall doesn't support any grand statements on the worth of the art but to say the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense if it can't be explained with a label and short over view is a bit much.

One of the best things I saw there was a bike where every piece had been hand cast and painted, it must have taken years. But there was no guide, no notes on how it was done, nothing. I only appreciated the work that had gone into it when a fellow visitor showed me the detail and explained the process. I daresay most visitors left none the wiser which is a shame, they missed out.
Yes I too saw that old silver bike abandoned against a wall, i'm glad I missed out... also the old car door linked to a centurion helmet. and the old boxes in the doorway. More of a scrapyard scene than 'art'. Presumptuous claptrap that epitomises the VAF.
[quote][p][bold]jut1972[/bold] wrote: Your right, the footfall doesn't support any grand statements on the worth of the art but to say the exhibit is self indulgent nonsense if it can't be explained with a label and short over view is a bit much. One of the best things I saw there was a bike where every piece had been hand cast and painted, it must have taken years. But there was no guide, no notes on how it was done, nothing. I only appreciated the work that had gone into it when a fellow visitor showed me the detail and explained the process. I daresay most visitors left none the wiser which is a shame, they missed out.[/p][/quote]Yes I too saw that old silver bike abandoned against a wall, i'm glad I missed out... also the old car door linked to a centurion helmet. and the old boxes in the doorway. More of a scrapyard scene than 'art'. Presumptuous claptrap that epitomises the VAF. Catchedicam

12:37pm Wed 1 Jan 14

Doubting_Thomas says...

You think maybe the 147,000 figure also includes website visits too? 500 visits per week does seem a little inflated considering the place is mostly empty, though when I checked Alexa it shows the website only gets a handful of website visitors, so maybe their adding visitors from a similar related source.
You think maybe the 147,000 figure also includes website visits too? 500 visits per week does seem a little inflated considering the place is mostly empty, though when I checked Alexa it shows the website only gets a handful of website visitors, so maybe their adding visitors from a similar related source. Doubting_Thomas

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