Keeping up with what’s going on in the arts in my area sometimes feels like a fulltime occupation. Add to that checking what’s on across the North (Manchester, Liverpool, Bradford, Sheffield and Newcastle are all hotspots of creativity) and keeping a weather eye on London, and it starts to feel like an impossible task. Even if I spot interesting sounding stuff, there’s the challenge of diarising it and sorting out the logistics to cover for my temporary absence if I plan to disappear for more than eight hours. It would be much easier to work in a vacuum without regard to the outside world, but that would be a shame and I’m sure my work would suffer as a consequence. I feel fortunate to have an occupation which necessitates as much reading as I can manage and plenty of outings to enjoy interesting and thought-provoking stuff, but I wish it didn’t call for so much vigilance. Just how does everybody else manage this?
My task may be a little easier from now on, at least as far as my immediate area is concerned. I was recently asked to contribute a review to a website/blog set up about six months ago with the aim of prompting and initiating critical debate and discussion of contemporary visual arts within Leeds. Millpond provides thoughtful, comprehensive and interesting reviews of a wide range of exhibitions around and about, together with interviews and essays on contemporary art. It fills a gap in the online world of arts in the city, and I look forward to contributing to it.
What I particularly appreciate is having the reviews on the local shows. With so much going on, it’s good to have some third party opinions and real, detailed information because it all helps with the daily challenge of spotting and prioritising the shows most likely to be of interest.
I still have to scan the listings though. And just in case you are interested in my first contribution, it’s a review about artist Sheila Gaffney’s current show ‘Others’, on until the end of March. Catch the review here.