Curatorview [Alfredo Cramerotti]

Regional arts venues: less out in the sticks, more out on a limb

Posted in nEws and rEleases, shortEssays/cortiSaggi [English/Italian] by Curatorview on July 14, 2013

Running an arts space outside the city is challenging but, once you realise the range of your potential audience, rewarding too

Guardian Professional
5 July 2013

by Alfredo Cramerotti
Sliced Eye, Rubiks Cube, Flawless Skin, Cardiac Muscle Cell, Orion Nebula-M42, Snow Crystal, 2012

MOSTYN works to find imaginative solutions that draw in national and international visitors (even journalists) while retaining strong links with their local audience. Pictured work by Nikolaus Schletterer. Photograph: Nikolaus Schletterer/MOSTYN


As anyone who has worked in the sector will tell you, running an arts space outside major cities is a hugely rewarding experience, not least because of the challenges that arise from reaching out to an audience in ways that can’t rely on a ready-made critical mass of potential visitors in the immediate area.

MOSTYN is Wales‘ largest gallery dedicated to contemporary art with an audience of roughly 80,000 per year, but being located in the 18,000-strong Victorian sea town of Llandudno and surrounded by a predominately rural area brings with it issues that an equivalent metropolitan space might not need to consider so carefully.

Another part of the challenge is encouraging journalists to visit. The three hours direct train from central London is less an issue than the bias towards reviews focusing on galleries and events in the bigger cities. Obviously there is a responsibility for media to cover stories of interest to as wide an audience as possible, but responses range from “I don’t know where I’d put it” (the same review pages you would put any show on) to “we’re fully booked up covering a major event”.

It’s not that these exhibitions or events don’t warrant media attention, but major institutions and blockbuster events hardly need the publicity to encourage public interest.

So, how are we tackling these issues? Like many other organisations reliant on quality of programming, audience engagement, media coverage and visits to secure funding, we are working on finding imaginative solutions that draw in national and international visitors (even journalists) while retaining strong links with our local audience.

A key element of this is an ambitious curatorial programme featuring world known artists from Wolfgang Tillmans to Elizabeth Peyton. We’ve also initiated a major international exhibition programme including co-curating this year’s Wales in Venice show at the 55th Venice Biennale with Oriel Davies Gallery and the Arts Council Wales – an incredible platform for all involved.

Upcoming shows will draw on our history by inviting artists to indirectly respond, through their work, to the history of the MOSTYN building which has gone from being a gallery for female artists when it launched in 1901 to a WW1 drill hall and piano storage, before returning to a gallery space in 1979.

Partnership is a vital part of our engagement work, showcased by linking with initiatives such as the Artes Mundi visual arts exhibition and prize, the biggest in the UK at £40,000. We are also part of Plus Tate, a major UK network which includes 20 contemporary art organisations outside London.

Building on the success of last year’s Plus Tate-funded Ninjas initiative for 11 to 13-year-olds, we successfully applied to be one of five national partners to be part of Tate’s Circuit programme, a national youth network for the visual arts. Funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Cylch/Circuit seeks to spark a long-term transformation in the way that young people aged 15 to 25 engage with art and take control of their own learning.

The demographic here is older on average than in cities, and we are developing ways to include those who might not normally visit a contemporary art gallery through exhibitions and events which have a cross-art form approach.

For example, our current show YOU is a conceptually strong group show (Felix Gonzalez Torres, Aurélien Froment, Jeppe Hein, Július Koller, Rivane Neuenschwander) that questions the idea of what art is: the viewer ‘produces’ the artwork through their visit. It’s had an amazing response from families who would never think to visit an art gallery, lured in with an event outside the venue during the Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza when the town was heaving with visitors.

On a marketing level, besides the reviews and articles on specialised art press, particularly helpful are features on magazines, blogs and websites such as ThisIsTomorrow and WeHeart since they are bringing MOSTYN out into the eyeline of the style and culture conscious nationally and internationally.

What have we learned that might be useful for other organisations in a similar situation? Surely, understanding that an organisation such as ours does not have a single, cohesive public but multiple audiences (including our staff, not to forget) who demand attention and have different ways of engaging.

This is not to say that we have to please everyone, but we do have to have a firm strategic direction and a flexible range of delivery via the three main areas of exhibitions, engagement and learning – equally important and each with a dedicated curator and budget.

It’s also crucial to seek and establish a range of platforms and partners that match our values and make the most of our programme in space and time: from local residents, schools and higher education to wider partnerships across the country and abroad.

It’s a long-term strategy, and long-term planning matters for our exhibitions, partnerships and funding agreements alike. Currently we are planning well into 2017 but potentially, a cultural institution like a gallery should look into society 20 or 50 years from now and then work back.


Alfredo Cramerotti is the director of MOSTYN contemporary art gallery in Llandudno – follow it on Twitter @MOSTYN_Wales_

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Wales in Venice: “Bedwyr Williams one of the artists of the moment”

Posted in nEws and rEleases by Curatorview on October 22, 2012

a-n Magazine

16 Oct 2012

by Stephen Palmer

The countdown to Wales in Venice/Cymru yn Fenis at next year’s 55th Venice Biennale of Art notched up a gear during a preview for Bedwyr William’s new show Dear Both at Ceri Hand Gallery in London.

The opening was attended by the artist along with Wales in Venice curators Alfredo Cramerotti, Director of MOSTYN, and Amanda Farr, Director of Oriel Davies Gallery, as well as David Alston, Director of Arts at Arts Council of Wales, which is supporting the project.

The artist introduced his presentation for Wales in Venice via a performance titled The Astronomer that took the audience – who were asked to imagine themselves as moles – on a journey from the gallery to the house and garden of an amateur astronomer in Suffolk.

Williams said: “The performance introduces parts of the work, but I’m not giving too much away! [The work for Venice] is going to be quite site specific. In the performance I mentioned astronomy and the telescope – which although not invented there was first premiered in Venice – and terrazzo flooring, which was invented in Venice and through its pattern might be seen to reflect the structure of the universe; it’s also something I noticed at the former convent (Ludoteca Santa Maria Ausiliatrice) where the show will be held. The performance was quite humorous, but probably the work for Venice isn’t going to be that funny.”

Williams, who is based in Caernarfon, North Wales is best known for his comedic and poetic live performances and installations that deal with Welshness, otherness and difference. In the past he has assumed different personas in his work – a one-eyed preacher, a Grimm Reaper and Count Pollen.

Curator Amanda Farr said: “Bedwyr truly epitomizes that very rare being – an artist whose vision and clarity of thought forces us to look at the world differently. I can think of no better artist at this moment and of our particular time to represent Wales at the Venice Biennale.”

Alfredo Cramerotti added: “Bedwyr is one of the artists of the moment – not only of Wales, but of the UK art scene as a whole.”

Farr went on to discuss the importance of Wales in Venice for artists and audiences: “Since first taking part in the Venice Biennale in 2003, to my mind Wales’ presentation has always been a game changer in terms of the effect it’s had upon the contemporary visual arts in the country. I believe that it has been an important catalyst for a vital strengthening and growth in confidence for artists, curators and audiences, and almost a coming of age for Welsh contemporary art.

“The ‘collateral exhibitions’ – of which Wales in Venice is part – present an increasingly distinctive and edgy presence at the Biennale, which frequently trumps the official national pavilions at the Giardini.”

Williams’ exhibition at Ceri Hand Gallery features sculpture, video and sound installations and drawing. While the downstairs gallery space is inhabited by a series of works that feature customised garden furniture – a shell encrusted barbecue, a plastic patio set riddled with drilled holes, and a giant black parasol – upstairs there are works that reflect on what it is to be an artist including Research Fellow, an institutional looking door with attached name plaque, and Artist/Artist, a sound work that questions the public’s perception of the artist.

Dear Both continues at Ceri Hand Gallery Project Space, London until 3 November.

Wales in Venice/Cymru yn Fenis at the 55th Venice Biennale of Art will open in June 2013.

Bedwyr William: Dear Both & Wales In Venice 2013

Posted in nEws and rEleases by Curatorview on October 6, 2012


As recently posted it by Margaret_ London, who have been appointed to run the PR campaign for Wales in Venice / Cymru yn Fenis at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013,  the very excellent Bedwyr Williams will be representing Wales in 2013, curated by MOSTYN and Orield Davies Gallery.

Things kick-off next week with the opening of his exhibition Dear Both, at Ceri Hand Gallery in Covent Garden, coinciding with Frieze London.

Dear Both includes new sculpture, film, drawings and photographs by the artist, and follows his recent show at IKON Gallery in Birmingham. It’s a great opportunity to see his work and join his ever-growing fanbase, before the big Venice show next year. Drawing on his own experiences, Williams uses humour to reveal both his and our own complex neurosis and idiosyncrasies, with this show offering an investigation into individual and cultural mythology and identity.

Cramerotti & Wales in Venice 2013 (newspapers articles) / Cramerotti e il Padiglione del Galles alla Biennale di Venezia 2013 (articoli giornali)

Posted in nEws and rEleases by Curatorview on June 29, 2012

by / di Mariella Rossi


Corriere del Trentino

Friday 22 June / venerdi’ 22 giugno 2012


L’Adige newspaper

Sunday 24 June / domenica 24 giugno 2012


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