Painters find a prime site for artistic touch: Recession is forcing artists to find a fresh approach to exhibiting their work. Dalya Alberge reports
Friday 12 February 1993
The artists believe that their studio complex is unique in that it has an area of 2,000 sq ft (185.8 sq metres), within the overall 20,000 sq ft (1,858 sq metre) space, in which to stage exhibitions by outside artists and guest curators.
If all goes according to plan, such shows should be an added incentive for people to visit the Cubitt studio's resident artists. Although London's East End is said to offer Europe's highest concentration of artists' studios, dealers, agents, critics and collectors are notoriously lazy about travelling far from Bond Street.
James Brook, a painter based at the Cubitt studios, said: 'It means that all kinds of art can exist and be shown, rather than having dealers dictating what's fashionable.'
The Cubitt artists have launched a museums-style 'friends' scheme to fund exhibitions and the building's upkeep. In return for an annual pounds 30 subscription, members will be invited to private views and talks, and given a limited edition book featuring work by a number of the studio's artists.
Mr Brook said: 'We have already got 35 people, each paying pounds 30. It won't be long before we can raise pounds 10,000.' There are plans to organise a fund-raising programme and for two exchange shows with similar artist-run studios in the Netherlands and France. Mr Brook said that at a time when resources for the visual arts are diminishing and stories of artists being evicted from their studios at the end of short-term leases are common, 'we have to become more professional, plan ahead for the future and create some sort of permanence'.
The Cubitt artists are all too familiar with the anxieties of being evicted. In 1991, shortly after establishing themselves in a disused factory in King's Cross leased from British Rail, they were informed by the BR Properties Board that they would have to move out. The studios stood on the site of the King's Cross terminal. Eventually, BR offered the latest premises: the Cubitt building is a former British Telecom truck repair centre.
Another artist is showing a creative spark by making the most of the recession-hit empty shop and office spaces. Brian Taylor, a figurative painter, will be based in Charlotte Street, opposite Channel 4's offices for three months, from 22 February. He will be using it as an open studio, working at street level, as what he calls an 'artist in residence' in rent-free space. He said: 'I got the idea from Turner, who had a shop in London, just stocking his stuff and no one else's. It was quite usual until the 1850s, when commercial galleries started up. Anyone can do it, anywhere . . .'
For an artist who works in Wales, off the beaten art world track, it is a shrewd move. The makeshift gallery is next door to Karsten Schubert Gallery, a leading contemporary art gallery that is very much on the beaten track.
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
- 3 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 4 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
- 5 Scientists have discovered a simple way to cook rice that dramatically cuts the calories
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Is this bridge haunted by the ghost of nu rave?
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
Saudi Arabia says it won't rule out building nuclear weapons
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...
£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...