New Art Monument For Margate
Turner Contemporary which had its unofficial opening last night is an ambitious arts centre hoping to elevate Kent’s Margate, a rundown former seaside resort into what Tate did for St Ives in Cornwall and the Guggenheim for Bilbao in Spain. Margate is shut and shuttered. Much of the town centre is turned over to charity shops and Poundland retail outlets. There is high unemployment and in my view the town can only go up.
The gallery was designed by renowned Stirling Prize Winner, David Chipperfield Architects . The building has already been nicknamed “The Shed” by locals. Turner Contemporary will not have a permanent collection but instead be a space for new exhibitions and events. Funnily enough there was one turner painting on view and that was a view of Mt. Vesuvius painted in Italy. Turner painted many of his most cherished seascapes from the port of Margate a geographical location famous for it’s ever changing light. It is thought that reuniting some of his work mixed with contemporary art would be hugely popular with the public.
The preview hosted 500 people from Artists to Patrons with a smattering of curators thrown in for good measure. The party was confined to the finished portion of the gallery and potentially has a lot more space for future exhibitions. The Turner will also hold a celebrity packed gala and official opening on Saturday 16 April. It will be hosted by Margate Artist,Tracey Emin and jazz musician Jules Holland. Lets hope the paint is dry and the dust settles.
“Turner Contemporary’s purpose is to stretch the boundaries of current visual arts practice, to make the exhibitions sufficiently varied and to bridge the gap between the historical and contemporary.” stated,Victoria Pomery, Director, of the new gallery.
The Opening exhibition includes Douglas Gordon’s embossed text The sun is god, on the stair case and spacious rooms showing works by Michael Craig Martin, Daniel Buren, Teresita Fernandez, Conrad Shawcroft, Eileen Harveys, Russell Crotty and James Webb. All exhibitions will work with a rotating roster of Curators, in this innovative program.
But what do the natives think? The gallery cost over £17,000,000 to build and staffing will come at a high price just when council cutbacks are hitting hard. The hype is over and now this new kid on the UK gallery block will have to prove itself as a viable business. Margate’s future is at stake and this very well may be the answer to making the unfashionable fashionable again. Photo: © Juliette Goddard Admission to the gallery is free.