Ruthie Collins gives you the lowdown on arty happenings around Cambridge in October
October isn’t just all about Halloween. In past years, it’s also become one of the busiest months on Cambridge’s cultural calendar – with a clutch of festivals filling the city with cutting-edge ideas and exciting work (more on these later). But what I’m shout-out-loud excited about this month, is Cambridge-based New Hall Art Collection helping to give Guerrilla Girls, the world’s most famous feminist art collective, their own solo show here in the UK.
Guerrilla Girls: Is it even worse in Europe? (the name a nod to their 1986 poster, It’s even worse in Europe) opens at Whitechapel Gallery in London on 1 October, pushing discussion of inequality in the art world back onto the zeitgeist.
Founded in 1985, the Guerrilla Girls are a group of anonymous feminist activists, each one taking on the name of a dead woman artist. Their uncompromising activism on gender issues in the art world punches weight, embracing posters, humour, fake fur and gorilla masks.
It’s fabulous to see New Hall, Europe’s largest collection of women’s art, taking such a proactive role in supporting the show – a timely reminder of the collection’s own significance in documenting and researching the legacy of female artists in the art world. As part of the show, Guerrilla Girls have audited Europe’s museums for gender equality, plus representation of artists from Africa, Asia, South Asia and South America.
Are things really worse for women in the art world, in Europe? Go and find out. There’s an unmissable chance to see the Guerrilla Girls in person talking with feminist curator Xabier Arakistain here in Cambridge, on 10 October – check www.murrayedwards.cam.ac.uk for details.
I’m also really excited about artist Gudrun Filipska’s upcoming show, opening on 21 October, revealing experimental new works, as part of her Residency In Motherhood (as mentored by conceptual artist Lenka Klayton), at Cambridge Art Salon’s 1 Thrifts Walk venue.
“Go enjoy a special Tree of Wisdom installation from artist Sarah Steenhorst“
Gudrun’s work is fascinating – she’s previously cut her teeth as an artist exploring the heritage of post-industrial spaces, such as mines, so it will be a treat to see the work developed under the residency. The Residency In Motherhood concept was launched this year by artist Lenka Klayton as an international, open-source framework for artists who are mothers. Lenka developed her own three-year residency in her home in 2013, and found herself inundated with emails from other artist/mothers around the world. There are now over 100 artists taking residencies in over 24 countries – visit www.artistresidencyinmotherhood.com. for more information.
Gudrun’s show is part of the nationwide BBC Get Creative Family Arts Festival, also in Cambridge this month. You can choose from family-friendly events at a range of arts venues including the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge Junction and Wysing Arts Centre. Check www.familyartsfestival.com for details.
I’ve been busy helping to organise an interactive art event to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Care Network, a charity that supports the elderly all over the county. Go enjoy a special Tree of Wisdom installation from artist Sarah Steenhorst, plus a large-scale interactive ‘oyster’ installation from artist Sa’adiah Khan celebrating pearls of wisdom passed down by older generations, at their AGM on 12 October, 2.30pm-5.30pm, at Huntingdon’s Town Hall.
Art Language Location (ALL) returns this year from 13 to 29 October, with an exciting range of contemporary work – the very best in experimental art in the UK, supported by Anglia Ruskin University and partnered with Cambridge’s Festival of Ideas. Highlights include a symposium of performances on 15 October, with guest speaker, writer and curator, Cambridge-raised Tom Morton. Also watch out for the wonderful Phillip Cornett whom I’ve described in this column as ‘one to watch’, teaming up with Paul Kindersley at Aid & Abet’s ELAN space in Mill Park. Lotusland Estates explores the benefit that art spaces can bring to a city – a hot topic in Cambridge, as space continues to be a challenge for many artists. Plus look out for a live-streamed performance from the Female Laptop Orchestra, a research project that brings together a diverse range of female engineers, composers, sound artists and techies to explore this niche area – check femalelaptoporchestra.wordpress.com. Director of the festival Robert Good says, “this is our most ambitious festival yet, thanks to the hard work of everyone involved.”
Cambridge Art Fair also returns this year from 29 September to 2 October, which is a fabulous place to source a contemporary piece for a personal or commercial setting. It’s rarely easier to see art from so many fantastic galleries all around the country, many based in the Eastern region, in one spot; I go every year and discover new artists each time. Collectors just starting out can make use of the Own It art scheme, which means you can buy work in installments – for full details check www.cambridgeartfair.com. Have a fantastic month, all!