Farewell A Foundation, we barely knew ye…. Well, I – still a fairly recent import to this city – did anyway.
With the news that A Foundation is now no more, I was initially reticent about joining in with the general wailing and gnashing of teeth, but like the proposed sell-off of the collection of Southampton Art Gallery, I find myself feeling both somewhat quizzical and absolutely disgusted.
Yes, not every experience I had within A Foundation’s industrial walls was gilded. I can count some of the most queasily gauche, self aware and un-self-conscious example of contemporary art that I’ve seen in recent years as elements in exhibitions at A Foundation.
But still, it’s a great shame that it’s been wound up with a whimper, noticed only by premiere Liverpool blog Seven Streets. Whatever the consistency of the work on display, Seven Streets are so right to recognise it’s programme as possibly the most dynamic, challenging and exciting in the city.
Beyond the clearly discernible tragedy for contemporary art in Liverpool, I’ve got two burning questions:
One. What the hell is the point of the Baltic Triangle now? Apart from CUC it has very little to tempt me, and it’ll take something very special to tempt me into the oppressive confines of the Novas Centre. Now, unless I'm buying a shed or getting my non-existent car painted, why would I go to the Baltic Triangle?
Two. What does this spell out for the Biennial? After Biennial Artistic Director Lewis Biggs’ volatile blog about funding cuts back in November – which made the organisations seem to be visibly floundering even before the axe has fallen – the closure of A Foundation can only seem like a body blow. The loss of such a space (in addition to whatever funding disaster it will have to pass through in the following months) will surely have a huge impact on what the Biennial can offer in 2012.
But right now I can only mutter and sigh and ponder what this means for quality visual art in Liverpool. I have no more information than Seven Streets, and I am very aware of the brutality of cuts that are painfully imminent and will be on going for the foreseeable future. Overshadowed by the nose drive the Liverpool Boat Show just took, this won't be the last asset to disappear from Liverpool's cultural ecosystem.
Anyway, bye bye A Foundation, I hope your legacy is more than a swathe of Big Society art students who couldn’t curate their arse from their elbow. Where else in Liverpool would I have been able to re-encounter Jacob Dahlgren’s Colour Reading Context?