Art Night comes to East Sussex

Art Night comes to East Sussex in partnership with Towner Eastbourne.

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 10:26 am
Updated Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 10:28 am
Guerrilla Girls
Guerrilla Girls

For the first time, the festival is moving out of London taking place in more than ten locations.

For East Sussex, it will manifest itself as a major outdoor commission which will be seen in Lewes.

Spokeswoman Nicola Jeffs said: “Transforming iconic and unexpected public spaces within London since 2016, Art Night 2021, curated by Helen Nisbet, will stretch 1,000-plus miles across Scotland, England and Wales, from North to South and East to West as well as even further digitally and physically for international audiences.

“For the first time Art Night will also take place for a month, allowing audiences the opportunity to access commissions, performances and interventions in rural locales, towns and cities as well as from home.

“Guerrilla Girls’ biggest UK public commission to date, The Male Graze will be part of Art Night 2021. The commission includes a website, online gig and national series of billboards –including Lewes, in partnership with Towner Eastbourne.

“The billboard will be displayed on A209, Lewes (opposite Elephant and Castle pub, adjacent to New Road)

“The Guerrilla Girls (est 1985) work in LA and New York. The group employs culture jamming in the form of posters, books, billboards, and public appearances to expose discrimination and corruption. Recent projects include Kochi Biennial, India (2019); Beyond the Streets – New York and LA (2018); Museu de Arte Sao Paolo (2018); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2017) and Tate Modern, London (2016).

“The work will also manifest as a series of billboards across the UK with other boards on display in London, Birmingham, Warwick, Dundee, Swansea, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, and in Lewes. The billboards will be on display from June 18 to July 18.

Joe Hill, director, Towner Eastbourne said, “Bringing artwork to our communities and taking it outside of the gallery is a really important part of what Towner Eastbourne does. We are thrilled to be working with Art Night to realise this important and timely commission.”

Further amplifying Art Night’s reach for long term London fans of the festival and those further afield, a series of performances and works will be broadcast during the festival dates.

Across London during the festival collaborative art publishing practice OOMK (One of My Kind) will create an artwork which will be distributed across the city. The work consists of the design and distribution of STUART Papers a highly visual newspaper that reflects thematically on selected texts and archived ephemera from the Stuart Hall Library at INIVA and connects to contemporary collectives though responsive content. The project will be active across multiple locations in London, including on the Northbank.

At Platfform 2, a new project space at Abergavenny train station in Wales, there will be a screening programme of works by Alberta Whittle in partnership with Peak. A parallel screening programme will also take place concurrently at KLA ART produced by 32° East in Uganda on 15 July and at CCA Derry~Londonderry, from 6-17 July.

The series of commissions that unfold across the month online at will include a marathon broadcast of all online film works created in a broadcast partnership with Somerset House across the evening of July 15. The London commissions are anchored on the Northbank of the capital but will be available to a global audience. All other broadcasts will be available for 48 hours after the broadcast date on Art Night’s website, launching every Tuesday and Friday during the festival period at 8pm BST.

Nicola added: “Rather than a theme, the 2021 festival is titled Nothing Compares 2 U after the song written by Prince and famously performed by Sinead O’ Connor. This lyric acts as a frame for the programme, not asking artists to respond or fit within it, but instead to use it as a reference point or way of setting the tone. In this case, the reference refers most specifically to a performance by O’ Connor on The Late Late Show in 2019 – visibly older than in her iconic 1990 music video, wearing a hijab and carrying the scars of a career tarnished with controversy and conjecture, at the end of the performance O’ Connor looks directly into the camera at and gives a little wave. This quiet moment of self determination and defiance is the essence of the 2021 programme.”

Helen Nisbet, artistic director of Art Night 2021, said: “We find ourselves hobbling, a year after COVID-19; political and economic uncertainty and potential devastation for the arts. This programme was developed during ongoing Brexit ‘negotiations’ in a Conservative-led Britain, with far right politics rising across the globe. The Art Night 2021 programme was and is still about our personal victories and survival tactics - small acts of defiance and moments of self determination - both personal and collective. It is about how we continue and what gets us through, when so many of the dominant economic, institutional, political and cultural structures are against us or are trying to break us.

“We are indebted to our artists for the time and the care they’ve put into making work under such uncertain and challenging circumstances. The constant change has been tough, but it has also offered a beautiful opportunity to adapt the format of the festival - to work across the whole country, to invite camaraderie through partnerships and to expand the duration of the festival. We’ve had to do some quick learning and shifting on considering what it means to curate and produce work to be viewed online but I’m excited about the scope of the commissions to be seen by anyone in the world with internet access.”

Philippine Nguyen and Ksenia Zemtsova, Co-founders of Art Night, said: “In 2015, we had the ambition to create London's first free night-time contemporary art festival in unexpected places. We were only just starting, working from home and learning as we went along. We knew we wanted contemporary art to be accessible to a wider audience, regardless of background. Fast forward 5 years, 4 editions, 260,000 live audiences and 50 major artist commissions, we're back working from home but our ambition to widen audiences for contemporary continues to expand. In 2021, we're absolutely delighted to present new work by exceptional artists to audiences across the country, in cities, towns and even villages.”