Stokes Croft is a vast open air gallery with an exhibition that changes constantly. When the sun is shining the graffiti artists are out in force and it’s sometimes hard to work out what is emerging and what is being painted over. The photograph below is of the same hoarding a few months ago. In the time between taking these photos several other works have been and gone.
As I’ve said before, one of the things I admire most about the artists who work along this stretch is the time, passion and effort they put into their creations knowing that it will all be replaced by another’s work a few weeks later.
On Tuesday I wandered down Stokes Croft with my friend Penny, on our way to the Arnolfini, and the contrast between the two could not be greater. The art along Stokes Croft is eccentric, beautiful, baffling, entertaining, sometimes hilarious, occasionally hideous, but rarely dull.
Sadly that can’t be said of the Arnolfini, though I have to admit that the current show raised a rare laugh for its preposterous title: Cosima Von Bonin’s Bone Idle For Arnolfini’s Sloth Section, Loop 2 of The Lazy Susan Series, A Rotating Exhibition 2010-2011.
I’m afraid I can’t show you anything much of the show because just after I snapped this, I was asked not to take any more photographs.
I asked why that was and they couldn’t really explain, though they thought it was at the request of the artist. Anyway, camera back in my bag, we wandered, in desultory fashion, around a series of oversized stuffed toys, past some rather dull wall hangings, and in amongst an odd arrangement of cages. What did it all mean? We consulted our exhibition guides. Apparently we were trapped in a complex web of references to high art, popular culture, craft and notions of domesticity all of which were meant to be challenging bourgeois constructions of femininity. Good god, when did the cutting edge of contemporary art become so blunt and tedious?
Oh, and there was a video piece too. Isn’t there always?