Having exhibited in Plymouth Arts Centre almost a year ago it made sense that Bob & Roberta Smith’s Art Party would take place here as well. Uniquely the arts centre was the only venue for this year’s event in the Southwest. It started with a joyous afternoon of badge making, drawings of politicians and a barbecue, followed by a screening in the cinema of the Art Party movie, which attracted a good and enthusiastic audience. The wonderful docufiction gave a humorous account of last year’s art party at Scarborough and was able to draw people in with the surreal story of Gove’s transformation into an ardent art lover who finally seems to disappear in the North Sea. Surely Bob & Roberta Smith could not have predicted the film’s self-fulfilling prophecy. Gove, as we know, indeed ‘disappeared’. Only to make place however for secretary of education Nicky Morgan who seems to do her best to follow closely in his footsteps. Art Party 2015 should therefore really be in the making.
It inspired Vickie Fear, programme assistant at Plymouth Arts Centre, to organise a so-called ‘after after’ party in the PAC Home space, the centre’s network for artists, curators and writers who live in Plymouth and the wider region. Complete with soapbox, local artists were inspired to read out Bob and Roberta Smith’s recent letter to Nicky Morgan, which was happily done by amongst others Vickie Fear and Steven Paige. The evening was concluded with a good conversation about the current state of art education and created enough gusto to carry on art partying and writing letters. Art Makes Children Powerful as one of the badges made earlier that afternoon read. It makes them critical and therefore potentially ‘dangerous’ to some people, but that is exactly what is needed. Given today’s world maybe even more now than ever.
Curator, writer and arts consultant at BUREAU DOOVE.