Apollo Magazine

Artangel Open 2014

The Artangel Open has been behind some iconic works of British contemporary art, and is looking to commission the next set

‘We are genuinely open to anything: anyhow, any why, anywhere’, is how Artangel’s co-director Michael Morris explains the Artangel Open call.

The Open is a £1million commissioning initiative that actively solicits the ‘boldest and most ambitious site-specific ideas’ from artists in the UK. By keeping the submissions policy as wide open as possible, the judges hope to catch some wild and unusual ideas that might otherwise have gone astray.

It’s worked in the past. Artangel Open picked Jeremy Deller’s The Battle of Orgreave and Michael Landy’s Break Down as the first two commissions in 1999: iconic works by artists who owe their current fame in part to the projects. All of the commissions to date are listed below.

The deadline for entries to the latest Open is 28 February. Not long; but apparently Deller’s original proposal was scribbled on half a page of A4, so there might still be time to enter after all…

The Battle of Orgreave (2001), Jeremy Deller

Battle of Orgreave (2001), Jeremy Deller. Production photograph by Martin Jenkinson

Deller’s Battle of Orgreave is a historical re-enactment of a clash between miners and police during the 1984 strikes. Orchestrated by Howard Giles, it was a spectacular event that asked pertinent questions about how modern history is written and remembered.

Break Down (2001), Michael Landy

Break Down (2001), Michael Landy. Photo by Hugo Glendinning

For this landmark work, Landy made an inventory of everything he owned, before destroying it publicly at the closed C&A department store on Oxford Street – the ultimate vanitas piece.

Did you kiss the foot that kicked you? (2007), Ruth Ewan

Did You Kiss the Foot That Kicked You (2007), Ruth Ewan. Photo by Gautier Deblonde

For a week in 2007 over 100 buskers incorporated Ewan’s Ballad of Accounting into their usual repertoire of songs; a subtle intervention into the daily commute.

Seizure (2008), Roger Hiorns

Seizure (2008), Roger Hiorns. Photo by Marcus Leith

Hiorns pumped 90,000 litres of copper sulphate solution into a condemned council flat near Elephant & Castle and left it for a month to create Seizure. The flat’s resulting crystalline interior, both beautiful and sinister, drew large numbers of visitors and has since been reconstructed at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Life Class: Today’s Nude (2009), Alan Kane

Life Class: Today’s Nude (2009), Alan Kane Photograph by Chris Osburn

In July 2009 a series of life drawing classes were aired on Channel 4, taught by John Berger, Judy Purbeck, Maggi Hambling, Gary Hume and Humphrey Ocean. By beaming the lessons into people’s homes, Kane hoped to open up art education to people who wouldn’t otherwise have sought it out.

The Arbor (2010), Clio Barnard

The Arbor (2010), Clio Barnard

Barnard’s film revisited the Buttershaw Estate in Bradford, where playwright Andrea Dunbar had died tragically in 1990, aged 29. The artist’s interviews with Dunbar’s daughter Lorraine, other family members and residents formed the basis of a screenplay that revealed the history and character of the estate, and how it had changed over 30 years.

Katrina Palmer and Ben Rivers

Ben Rivers and Katrina Palmer

Palmer and Rivers were awarded their Open commissions last year, and their projects have yet to be realised. Palmer, the author of The Dark Object, will ‘excavate’ a site in England through words and installation; Rivers will create a film that treads the margins – of society, and of fact and fiction.

The Artangel Open deadline is 28 February 2014.

Related Articles:

Ghost House: Rachel Whiteread (Digby Warde-Aldam)

The Fourth Plinth Commissions

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