Posts Tagged ‘galleries’

London — By Andrea Kirkby on February 7, 2010 at 9:09 am
Filed under: Art, featuredarticle, galleries, hoxton, shoreditch

Farewell to the Foundry

The Foundry, in Hackney, has been one of London’s funkiest art spots for years. Banksy has decorated the walls, Pete Doherty has run poetry events there, Gavin Turk exhibited – and it was the centre of an interesting little artistic community. Now it’s going.

It’s probably not those names that reflect the real importance of the Foundry, though. It put on numerous exhibitions by unknown artists – apparently you just had to turn up with your work to get a space – and even the gents’ toilets featured real art drawn on the walls. For BritArt and the big galleries to flourish, we need grass roots places like the Foundry that create genuine excitement and let artists get started.

Unfortunately Big Money is now running much of London and talent doesn’t always get a look-in. The Foundry is going to be replaced by an ‘art’otel’ in Shoreditch, which from the artist’s impression looks like a cut-off cylinder covered in grey-green tiles. Not, I think, an architectural masterpiece. It’s part of a European chain – and we’re promised it will be decorated by ‘real artists’. (So, not like the ones who exhibited at the Foundry, then?)

The Foundry could be very pretentious indeed. Not everything that went on there was good, that’s for sure. But that’s the trouble with art; you have to encourage all kinds of creative effort – the half-hearted and lame as well as the good.

Quite a few people are now saying that the end of the Foundry is going to be the end for the Shoreditch and Hoxton art scene. The area has got expensive, with lots of glitzy new bars forcing the artists out (and apparently, up the road to Clapton Pond).

Apparently the Banksy work will be saved from the demolition. But that’s rather besides the point, I think. If the life and soul of the party has gone, there’s not much point saving a single piece of brick wall.

The good news – not much I know – is that the Foundry will be open till April, so if you want to get down there in the next couple of months, you can. And the owners are apparently looking for a new site – let’s hope they find one.


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