Art lovers would normally expect to travel to London or a handful of other major UK cities to see works by acclaimed contemporary artists such as Tracey Emin, Banksy, and Damien Hirst. However, the BBC reports that there is a rare opportunity to see their works in the ‘steel town’ of Corby this winter.
The Rooftops Arts Centre in the town is staging the Steel Nerve show as part of a collaboration with Brandler Galleries who are based in Essex. The focus of the exhibition is urban street art, an artform sometimes considered criminal but that also can command millions of pounds at the most prestigious auction houses in the world.
The gallery director, Dinah Kazakoff, said: “We are very proud to be presenting an exhibition of this calibre in Corby as we strive to improve the cultural profile of the town and make the arts accessible to all in the community.”
John Brandler, of Brandler Galleries, said: “I am thrilled to be working with this wonderful art project in Corby, away from the usual suspects of London, Bristol and Edinburgh. The collection shows the rise and transformation from what was thought as criminal art into high art.”
Other artists featured in the exhibition include Blek le Rat, a French graffiti artist who has been described as the ‘Father of stencil graffiti.’ He began painting his trademark rat stencils around Paris in 1981, explaining that rats are “the only free animals in the city.” He was first influenced by the graffiti he saw on a trip to New York City in the early 1970s.
In 1991, Blek was arrested when stencilling a replica of Caravaggio’s Madonna and Child onto a wall. This led him to work with pre-stencilled posters to reduce the chances of being caught and penalised for criminal damage. Like Bansky, much of Blek’s work is motivated by social consciousness such as drawing attention to the growing homeless population.
Mick, a visitor to the exhibition in Corby, told the BBC: “If I want to see a Banksy or a Tracey Emin, I would have to travel all the way down to London, it would cost me £100 plus on the train. For this to come to Corby is amazing.”
Banksy is an artist who is familiar to most people in the UK, yet his true identity remains a closely guarded secret. He is most well known for his stencilling street art that can be subversive or humorous, and often draws attention to social or political issues.
His work is often sold by removing the entire wall it was painted on, and photographs and reproductions are carefully restricted. It is known that Banksy sometimes sells his work privately and donates the money to worthy causes.
Although his anonymity began for the practical reason of avoiding arrest and prosecution for graffiti, it also adds to his mystique and counterintuitively keeps his profile high, generating public interest and the curiosity of the art world.
Do you have a piece of street art that would look great on your wall? Pay a visit to our framing shop in north London.