Weekly round-up: 1 June 2011

March 1966 - the theft of Nelson's head (image from the Evening Press)

Last night on the telly Whose Art is It Anyway? hosted by Joe Duffy explored public art in Ireland (catch it on RTE player). I found it disappointing and very narrow in its coverage of the range of work produced across the country, though people keep telling me I should be grateful they had any programme on the subject at all. Balderdash — we should (and I do!) expect more from our national broadcaster.

Still on the public art tip — on the back of last night’s programme I was sent a link to artist Sean Lynch’s online piece on a few of Dublin’s dismantled public monuments (written to accompany his public artwork Me Jewel & Darlin’) — some fantastic images there (including the one above)!

Although I missed the Queen in Cork, a visit to the new Triskel Arts Centre more than compensated — a beautiful exhibition by Vivienne Roche was there consisting of drawings, photographs, projections and some delicate glass pieces — we also ogled the new Christchurch performance space (fab!!) and envied folks attending the Cork Midsummer Festival (11-26 June) who will be able to see Laurie Anderson and Brad Meldhau there (in addition to the other great acts on the programme). We wrapped up the weekend with a wet and windy visit to the Glucksman Gallery at UCC , and finally a trip to Lismore Castle Arts in Waterford. LCA is such a stunning day out — wonderful art space, amazing gardens and public sculptures (missed the David Nash piece last time I was there, and the temp installation by Richard Wright was groovy). They’ve now taken over a small disused church in the village centre (St Carthage Hall) where we viewed a hypnotic and lyrical video piece by Martin Healy — one of the best days out we’ve had in a while (and even my toddler loved it)!

The Irish Pavilion at the 54th annual Venice Biennale featuring artist Corban Walker is opening to the public on 4 June. Looks like a stunning installation — I’m looking forward to hearing back from the lucky ducks headed over this summer.

The juggernaut that is Imagine Ireland rolls onward, with the new programme launched in the wake of Obama’s visit to Ireland (that’s me! By the Thomas Davis Statue! Did you see me waving Barack??) Plaudits for the management, scope and delivery of this initiative have been loud & plentiful — it is probably the most significant cultural initiative of the last year, and a major achievement for the lean machine that is Culture Ireland.

The programme for the 2011 PhotoIreland festival (now in its second iteration) has been announced. Aside from the great list of exhibitions & talks, I’m hankering after the workshops teaching collodion photography & other 19th c techniques (I have a weakness for 19th c. photography, especially stereoscopy!)

The unresolved saga of opera in Ireland continues with the news that the ‘Irish National Opera Company’ has been wrapped up; it was meant to be filling the shoes of dearly departed Opera Ireland, and pushing forward the production of operas nationwide. Although the remit for opera has now been returned to the Arts Council, it’s unclear who (if anyone) will be picking up the gauntlet.

Following on from two recent conferences on museums & new technology attended by lots of Irish folk (MuseumNext and Rethinking Technology in Museums) — a backlash against social media ‘gurus’ here and here?

The recent session in TBG&S on the subject of visual arts audience development was very interesting (especially the presentation from Pete Gomori, the Tate’s marketing manager ) — what also intrigued was the proportion of the day devoted to discussions of social media. A few days later Una Carmody from Arts Audiences summarised some of the latest data about Irish social media usage – lots of interesting tidbits there (84% of Irish internet users utilize social media, for example).

The RHA’s annual show is on — always one of my favourite arts outings of the year!

Tickets for the Dublin Contemporary have also gone on sale.

Next week is Theatre Forum’s annual conference! More than 250 people already signed up to attend — including me! Meanwhile the conference blog has been posting interesting links (on the recent report from Edinburgh on its festivals’ economic impact, which uses metrics beyond the hackneyed multiplier — Anne Bonnar’s blog has additional commentary).

‘The Art Books of Henri Matisse’ has opened at the Chester Beatty Library — I’ve written a piece on the exhibition for forthcoming Irish Arts Review as well — a great chance to see some brilliant, rarely-exhibited works in Ireland.

IMMA’s left its difficult teenage years behind… a full day of events took place on May 27th for their 20th birthday, but the celebrations continue with their exhibition Twenty, and the Forbidden Fruit festival this weekend (not sponsored by IMMA, but taking place on their grounds).

Finally… on 12 June the Dublin City Gallery – The Hugh Lane will be hosting a public conversation with feminist art icon Judy Chicago — bound to be packed, so get there early!