In and Out of Town, Kirkleatham Museum

- Meeting Point, Museum

Project Info


Artists

  • Simon Grennan
  • Christopher Sperandio

Art Forms

  • Installation and Sculpture

Partners

  • Kirkleatham Museum
  • Arts&Heritage
  • Arts Council England’s Museum Resilience Fund

Project Outline

The project is part of the Meeting Point programme.

Kirkleatham Museum in Redcar worked with artists Grennan and Sperandio and local Redcar businesses to create a series of new sculptures for the museum. The works combined items from the museum’s collection, including a taxidermy sea turtle and a 19th century civil war helmet, with modern objects made by local companies.

Joanne Hodgson from Kirkleatham Museum, explained:

“They’ve carefully linked objects from the museum collection with modern items manufactured in Redcar today, giving a fresh look at both our past and present day Redcar.”

Artist Simon Grennan said:

“As well as surprising and entertaining people with these sculptures, we wanted people to take a different look at the town. We’ve worked with seven local businesses, from engineering firms to design companies, and they’ve helped us to present the museum’s collection in a new way, through these sculptural works.”

Joanne Hodgson added:

“There are more than 25,000 artefacts in the museum’s collection so this is a fantastic way of displaying some of the items which people may not have seen for a long time. The artists have taken our collection and really added something to it by working with people who live and work here in Redcar.”

Objectives

  • To reimagine and present the Kirkleatham collection in a new and creative way
  • To connect Kirkleatham Museum to its locality, including Kirkleatham, Recar, Yearby, Wilton and New Marske

Process

Arts&Heritage supported the nine participating museums throughout the process, sharing knowledge of presenting contemporary art projects and commissions in non-traditional art spaces.

A networking event between the participating museums and 40 artists from across the UK took place at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and visits to artists’ studios were arranged. Museum teams also met with peers at other properties to learn how they successfully delivered contemporary art projects at their museums and heritage sites.

All museums developed their own Artist’s Brief. Following the networking event artists were invited to send in an expression of interest to museums that interested therm.

Three artists were shortlisted by each museum to draw up a more detailed proposal and were paid £500 each.

Impact & Budget

  • £8,000 to include all materials, travel and installation costs
  • £500 paid to each of 3 artists shortlisted

The Artist

Grennan & Sperandio reposition the stories of people’s lives in the public domain, to present an accessible but critical brand of audience-centred artwork. Well-known as early pioneers of ‘relational aesthetics’, in comic book form and more recently through television and community action projects, for the past twenty-five years Grennan & Sperandio have transformed and presented the stories of friends’, relatives’ and strangers’ lives into oddly familiar objects and events. Frequently art-directed by participants, the artists often use entertainment to decipher what motivates others and in the process cross a variety of social boundaries.

Since 1995, they have developed comic book, animation and community projects in conjunction with museums in the US and Europe, with broadcast and web companies and with Fantagraphics Books, the “best comic company in the world” according to Dan Graham. The pair make temporary works for print, broadcast and the web, and permanent works in collaboration with fabricators and craftspeople.

Current projects include: a third outing of the ground-breaking mobile artists’ residency and publishing programme Cargo Space, travelling internationally for the first time – to Mexico in autumn 2016; a special edition of a range of printed domestic fabrics designed with past employees of Standfast and Barracks, Lancaster and a major intervention of over 500 dray horses in the city of Leuven, Belgium, in collaboration with the ‘Men of 1973’.

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