Iga, Queen's Square and Preston | October 31, 2011
I work for the gallery, two in fact, Queen’s Square and Preston. Yes, those two rooms across the hall from the all the books are galleries.
You don’t need to know that they’re “galleries”, or understand what it is they do exactly. Leave that to me. Galleries are complicated things at best, and part of my interest is redefining the nature of curatorship and the role of public institutions in a broader context of cultural production. I believe they should be better integrated into our communities and framework for pedagogy. But that’s a lot of jargon, so I’ll tell you something else.
The galleries are for you. They are for the artists who make work and want to share it. They are free, open, opinionated and always ready for debate. Art is an endless language of abstract meaning and puzzles. It is curious, challenging, rewarding, and amazingly gratifying.
If you’ve seen 1,500 Chinese spoons suspended in the shape of a bridge, or 5,000 Lego people trying to escape the torment of dictatorship, then you know what I do. What happens in those rooms is my fault /joy/responsibility.
Can you put a pile of scrap metal that’s been turned into buffalo skulls in the lobby of your public library? Of course! Can you put light boxes with ambiguous phrases around the building as a trigger for conversation? Well, some of you disagree, but I say yes.
Did you see the show in Preston with what looked like Iron Man last winter? Or the one with recycled milk and juice cartons made into five large wall pieces? I wish you did. Preston is about local artists working in the region. These artists are your neighbours.
To be the person in the building responsible for providing exhibitions that challenge you to think broadly and unusually about everything is my job. How cool is that? Btw, it’s also freaking hard at times.
As for me, I’m relatively new in this town. It seems as though there is little to do around here. Correct me if I’m wrong but Cambridge, although charming as an old city, is a bit boring. No? Like a sleeping beauty. So my personal mission is to wake her up a bit. All of the shows you’ll see in the next few years are meant to shake things up. Here, in the buildings, and also in a way that translates out onto our streets. That is, if I’m any good at my job. And pink hair or no pink hair, I’m totally serious about it.
If you’re free this Wednesday evening or Saturday afternoon swing by Preston and Queen’s Square respectively. Artists will be here, new shows will open, and you can personally tell me what you think of the work.
Maybe we can start a discussion. Or a party. Or a cultural revolution. Because “longing just isn’t enough”.
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Photography: Alisha Townsend