City Club Presentation available online

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A packed audience of almost a hundred people enjoyed Gareth Jones and Nils Norman’s City Club presentation here on 10 December, and now we’re pleased to be able to share it with you via this LINK.

Gareth and Nils have spent recent months brainstorming options for developing a sequence of public spaces between Milton Keynes Theatre, MK Gallery, Campbell Park and Midsummer Boulevard – including ideas for  landscaping, enhanced signage and a new ‘playscape’ – that would create a dynamic, welcoming environment to be enjoyed, used and animated by visitors and residents alike.

In their presentation, Gareth and Nils referenced the Milton Keynes Development Corporation’s unrealised plans for a national leisure complex in the 1970s and how it had inspired their thinking, research and ideas.   Imagery alternated between a mix of Milton Keynes Development Corporation archival materials, cultural images typifying decades from the 1960s to the present, and Gareth and Nils’ sketches and models.  The audience enjoyed slides ranging from a photo of an MK playground designed by Archigram (sadly demolished), to the cover of a David Bowie album, a Biba design for a baked bean can, and the extraordinary exterior of the Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

Gareth and Nils shared different ways that MK has responded to the last six decades, touched on the influence of modernism and post-modernism on the public realm, and how they’ve developed their own “what if…” series of sketches, models and drawings for a series of spaces that everyone can enjoy.

The artists referred to their respect for the Central Milton Keynes grid plan, and the original city infrastructure, including key elements of paving, porte cocheres, distinctive benches, and globed street lamps. They flagged that many of these features are missing in the Theatre District and said they’d love to reintroduce some of them, suitably developed for the 21st century.  Through their City Club proposal they wish to offer people an exciting  “index of possibilities” or conceptual framework to reanimate and bring back to life the original utopian vision for Milton Keynes.

The evening finished with an enthusiastic Q&A session, including participation from some of our arts and heritage community and local councillors.  Gareth and Nils confirmed that, should funding become available, the City Club would enter an extensive period of consultation with groups and individuals, and start to address some of the scheme’s specifics and practicalities.

For a flavour of the presentation, we share this short slide show, which includes views of the talk and of the research sketches and models that the artists displayed for the audience in the next room. And finally, there is a happy picture of the Deputy Mayor of Milton Keynes, Cllr Stephen Coventry and the Deputy Mayoress Leanne Lacy, who’d just been saying how much that they’d enjoyed the talk and how they looked forward to keeping up with the City Club’s progress.

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Gareth Jones and Nils Norman have received support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

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Event Reminder: City Club Presentation – Gareth Jones and Nils Norman

We’re looking forward to welcoming Gareth Jones and Nils Norman back this Thursday 10th December at 7pm when they will be presenting the findings of their Arts Council funded research into the Utopian vision behind Milton Keynes and its relationship to contemporary art.

To find out more and book your free ticket click HERE.

There will also be an opportunity to view the latest plans for the MK Gallery expansion. We hope you can join us!

 

 

Gallery commissions Richard Deacon sculpture for Milton Keynes

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The dust (or rain) has barely settled on MK’s latest public artworks, including David Batchelor’s beautiful colour clock Chromocochere near the gallery on Midsummer Boulevard, but we’re already preparing our next offsite art commission – a new sculpture from the celebrated UK artist Richard Deacon.

Richard is researching the possibility of making a piece for one of MK’s roundabouts. The idea stems from an unrealised MK Development Corporation proposal in the 1970s to install a sculpture on every roundabout in Milton Keynes, providing landmarks across the city.

As we’re only at early project development stages we can’t confirm when the Deacon commission will be ready, but one possibility is early 2017 to coincide with the launch of MK:50 (the city’s 50th anniversary year celebrations). Richard was in MK recently researching possible roundabouts with us; you can just see him at the edge of this picture we took was we measured and documented one possible location.

Richard Deacon (b.1949) is a former Turner Prize winner (1987) with a career spanning more than forty years. Tate Britain presented a solo survey show of his work in 2014. A sculptor who describes himself as a fabricator, Richard teaches, and writing also forms a part of his practice.  Richard is known for his innovative use of a broad range of materials, from contorted steel and sinuous bent wood to polycarbonates, leather, cloth and highly glazed ceramics. Working on both domestic and large scales, Richard combines organic forms with elements of engineering, and has vast experience of large-scale public projects, including permanent commissions in New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Europe and the USA. Let’s not be stupid (below) was Richard’s first commission for a large-scale, outdoor, permanent work in the UK. It can be seen on Warwick University campus.

Naturally we’re thrilled to be working with Richard, and we’ll keep you posted on the progress of this exciting public art commission for Milton Keynes.

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Richard Deacon, Let’s Not be Stupid (1991).  Photo: © Copyright Robin Stott.