Friday, 29 June 2007

Getting to the Heart of It

Ok - save the best til last thing on a Friday. Or a case of blogcrastination. Either way, I'm back online to add a few thoughts to what I missed over the past few weeks.

On the 15th June CreateKX organised a walk of King's Cross - Getting to the Heart of KX - led by oral historian extraordinaire, Alan Dein. I was hoping to be able to provide the blog with a podcast of the tour, but technology being ever contrary, photographs will have to suffice.
After meeting at the British Library forecourt, Alan took the group on a
whirlwind tour of the cross, stopping off at KX station, St. Pancras Old Church, the German Gymnasium - which surprisingly was a German Gymnasium in its original carnation, St Pancras Old Church and the Hardy Tree.
There were about 30 people on that tour, so if anyone of you is reading this - I'd be obliged if you could take me on a re-run.
While on the subject of KX's heart, Will Perrin, of King's Cross Environment blog has recently set up an 'I Love King's Cross' facebook account. It's already got quite a few members, and it's proving to be a great source for KX chat and information. Come on - join in like the rest of the world with facebook mania.

Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Great Stuff!

Thank you so much, Lauren for your fantastic posts.

After 2 weeks away from the 'hood, yours was a much more welcome back to King's Cross than my crammed in-tray.

Once I've ploughed through my inbox I promise to post a much more interesting entry. But for now - thanks again Lauren; I hope you'll agree to come back for another KX visit sometime soon!

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Wellcome Collection: The Heart

Wellcome Collection
183 Euston Road
London NW1 2BE

Distance from Kings Cross Station:
approx 1.6 kms or 1 mile.

Distance from Euston Station:
approx 400 metres or 1/4 mile.

Well, after many moons of being veiled behind closed doors, the Wellcome Collection is open, after refurbishment. And according to this resident artist, it is definitely well-worth the wait.

As far as the actual building goes, I didn't get much of a chance to really get indepth with the whole place, but it seemed to be very accessible and just as easy to spend half a lifetime in there as it is to zip in an out for a quick peek. Even the toilets are cool! And believe me, this matters.

Wittgenstein writings on the wall, above the mirrors in the ladies loo. i got busted by someone taking this and did the worst job at acting cool about the whole thing.

There has been heaps about the new exhibition written in the dead tree press, which is great for the Collection, the area and cultural tourism in London. Not so great for comparisons to this teensy post.

This exhibition has planted itself firmly in contemporary curatorial practice in its wholistic approach to the theme. The broadness of the theme could have been the death of it, but the show manages to have a perfect mix of general and specific. The show is a compilation of 2D, 3D, moving and sound works, which I think is vital in creating an all-encompasing experience for audiences. The musical responses to the heart (mostly about broken ones, actually) gave me a little tickle of joy and, combined with the heartbeak soundtrack of a healthy heart vs mitral regurgitation, I was able to really soak up the atmosphere of investigating the heart.

sketchings from the heart. note the poxy sketch of the heart seats you sit on to listen to 1+1=1

There was a great mix of historical and contemporary, anatomical and symbolic, objective and subjective. There was also a nice balance of the icky and the not-so-icky. I had to accept that while I could totally enjoy Jordan Baseman's 1+1=1 sound work about heart and lung transplant recipient, I couldn't do his Under the Blood video of open heart surgery. I was just too squeamish. Although, strangely, I loved the gory (but not quite so realistic) images by Ana Mendieta and Raymond Pettibon (c'mon, who doesn't love Raymond), which centred around using anatomical images of the heart, blood, veins to convey the pain and intensity of love.

Curators Emily Jo Sargent and James Peto have done a fantastic job of bringing art and research together for the purpose of enlightenment and understanding, without being too patronising or too high-falutin'.

Ms CreateKX is back tomorrow after a fantastic holiday, so that's it from me as your resident gal-about-town.
Thanks to the galleries, museums and architectural edifices of Kings Cross for having me. I might pop in every now and again to say hello (if Ms CreateKX lets me) and make sure you continue to go and support your local creative output. It's good for the soul.


Friday, 22 June 2007

a few things to check out

Will, from over at Kings Cross Environment, has directed me to a community art project happening on Caledonian Rd:

'While controversy rages about some young people destroying the Bemerton Estate London N1, other young people have taken up the challenge, in a very tough climate, of reversing the negative connotation of the label “Hoodies.” Young people at the CYP ArtFlat have been working on sculpture which demonstrates their activities and interests.

The aim of the work is to challenge the Hoodie stereotype and to show that it is possible for a young person to wear a hood and still aspire to succeed, find their voice, and want to be taken seriously.'

Through the ArtFlat Window
First Exhibition by the CYP ArtFlat at Cally334

Opens Wed 27 June,
6.30- 8pm

and continues thru 27July 2007, Mon- Fri 10am-5pm
see for more details.

and then, of course there is the big re-opening of the Wellcome Collection:

"Something new will happen in Wellcome Collection every week from 21 June. Events vary from intimate discussions about issues such as organ donation, to provocative debates about religion and medicine and live shows from leading British performance artists.

Most events are free and take place in our dedicated events space, the Forum, on the first floor. Look out for occasional large-scale thematic events that make the most of the whole building."

more info at"

I'm hoping to check out both of these later this week, but I encourage you guys to get along too!

Gagosian Gallery: Jeff Koons

Gagosian Gallery
24 Brittania St
London, WC1X 9JD

Distance from Kings Cross Station:
approx 800 metres or 1/2 mile.

Right around the corner from the Thameslink end of Kings Cross station, on Brittania St lives the Gagosian. A name well known in the international art world, hailing from across the Atlantic in New York and bringing London some great works. At the moment, Jeff Koons, king of post-modern is exhibiting works in a series called Hulk Elvis.

The other day I spoke about the mash-up of Kings Cross architecture. Well this exhibition reflects that mash-up well. There are about 20 huge paintings which are a compilation of modern imagery. Amongst the whole show the paintings featured, in some way or another a mix of:

blow-up kids toys,
reversed screen prints of Andy Warhol's Elvis,
tracings of Popeye (which tie-in nicely to the sculpture show in their other London Gallery),
loads of dot screens (the modern alphabet, really)
outlines japanese drawings
a frequency curve
trees/traditional landscape
a drawing that may or may not have been a picture of girls' bits (i'm not sure how appropriate the v*word is here)
and loads of colour.

If the works could be any more garish, they would be. In fact, aspects of it reminded me of images of graffiti, the overworking of image upon image that happens when one artists throws a piece over the next and it all becomes one image.

I ordinarily am not that into Koons' work - I can kind of take it or leave it, but I did really enjoy checking out the show, putting it all in context with other artworks and to be inspired by seeing such bold statements on such an enormous scale.
And whether you're 'into it' or not, if you're a creative type and especially if you live in the area, do go and check out the work, it's fantastic.

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Architecture in 'the Cross'

*I spent 13 years living and working in Sydney. We've got a Kings Cross there too and believe me, it's not nearly as cool as the one that's in London. We call our 'the Cross'.. in that funny way that Australian's shorten and define everything.

I apologise for the lapse last week. It has been a very busy week, going to Swan Lake at Royal Albert Hall and Interesting 2007 at Conway Hall. Neither really within the bounds of Kings Cross (but if you're into creative stuff, you should check them out anyway).

So, today, when visiting one of the galleries in the area (which I'll post about tomorrow), I decided to check out the architecture in the area. Architecture is the large-scale way in which we, as humans, identify our area to everyone else. We have a close, yet distance relationship with architecture and the more we engage with it, the more intimate we are with our area. Oddly, the more graffiti there is, the more creative craving there is and subsequently, a fantastic resource for dynamic creation.

Today, as I wandered around just a small area near Kings Cross/St Pancras Station, there was such a hodge podge of architectural styles, with more development happening all over the place. I think this signifies the real mash-up of the area, which is really exciting, although I can imagine difficult to really get a handle on. [In fact the show I went to is a perfect match for the area, given that]

I saw the highly utilitarian design (but oh, so beautifully coloured) of the estate, the amazing grandeur of the developing St Pancras (and the station) and everything in between.

In fact, when I was at the Building Centre on Store St last week, I noticed that Kings Cross is targeted for a whole bunch of revitalisation, shopping areas and development. This will be interesting to keep an eye on, especially as some of the city's great design firms are getting on board.

I think the key will actually be to take into account this mashup of current styles and either try to bring something consistent to them, or to take advantage of the diversity and range of identity and keep going on that trajectory.

And don't forget - The Wellcome Trust opens this week.. I'll be checking it, so don't forget to do the same!!

Thursday, 14 June 2007

Doing it for the kids

William Hogarth, Moses before Pharaoh's Daughter from 1746
Courtesy of the Foundling Museum.

Foundling Museum
40 Brunswick Sq
London, WC1N 1AZ

Distance from Kings Cross Station:
approx 800 metres or 1/2 mile.

In trying to source out some cool places "within 2kms radius of Kings Cross Station" (which is the definition of Kings Cross I've been given), I discovered the Foundling Museum and it's amazing! It comes with an array of very impressive credentials:

*Britain's first public art gallery to exhibit British artists,
*Its first governor was none other than William Hogarth
*Britain's first model for 'philanthropic charity' i.e runs on private funds.
*Houses a stack of Hogarths and other amazing historical works, including portraits of Thomas Coram and Hendel.

A 'hospital' that looked after, housed, raised and educated the city's abandoned children, Foundling Hospital was started in the early 18th Century and while parts of it are 1930s replica, the Museum is a shrine to a century of children's charity, which only moved out of London last century.

The highlight of the visit for me was the Court Room and Hogarth's Moses before Pharaoh's Daughter from 1746. A grand painting slightly in the vein of the History Painting, but reflecting the nature of the Hospital's charity. The painting holds court (literally) in the centre of the western wall and is breathtaking. In fact, the rococco design of the whole room is amazing. Who needs to go to the Wallace Collection, when you've got the Foundling Museum on your doorstep!

On Brunswick Square, not far from either UCL or Euston Station, it's at once a chance to absorb some culture steeped in altruism and humanist care, and a chance to connect with the idea of childhood innocence. Hogarth set out to improve the image of 'the child' to that of innocence and naivete, which had previously been as a carrier of their parents sins and reputations.

And, if you've got children, it's a great place to find some activities for the kids. Especially with the summer holidays coming up, the Foundling are focusing on kids' creative space, with a whole months' work of free art activities and concerts, continuing the tradition that the great British Master set up of nuturing children's minds in order to produce 'outstanding citizens'.

** Tea update: While I didn't get a chance to have a cuppa there, there is a cafe attached to the museum, so if you're a bit thirsty, hungry or tired, there's something there for you.

Monday, 11 June 2007

resident artist, reporting for duty.

Hi blog kings cross readers! I'm very pleased to be able to do a bit of guest posting here while Ms CreateKX is away, sunning herself and enjoying a well-earned rest.

I will be here, holding the fort for a short while, and, as previously mentioned, taking you on a trip as part of my mission to go to a gallery per day. Now, I'm not going to subject you to the whole thing, but while I'm resident artist, I'm going to make sure I visit at least 2, if not 3 cool gallery/museum places in Kings Cross each week over the next fortnight to include with my other gallery jaunts.

I'm hoping to uncover a few gems that you've got hidden in there, to make sure I get to the main attractions and I'll post them here and on my other blog.

And if you guys feel like helping out and suggesting some good places to get a cup of tea while I'm on my travels around the area, that would be much appreciated. Unfortunately, my trust gallery guide doesn't include them.

See you soon!


Thursday, 7 June 2007

A holiday and a mission

I'm outta here. almost. 2 weeks of sunshine and beaches and relaxation. And I'll come back spiritually cleansed, relaxed, bronzed and glowing. Or just red and hungover. While I'm away Blogkx will be culturally enriched by its own resident artist.

She describes herself as an 'australian installation artist wannabe who swears alot'.

This should be interesting.

Lauren has her own blog... actually two. Her latest one 'Gallery per Day' follows her mission to, erm, visit a gallery per day. She's agreed to take BlogKX along for the, slightly exhausting, ride for a couple of weeks.

Lauren - thanks and have fun.

see you in a couple of weeks...

Adventures on the Euston Road

I had a conversation not that long ago with someone who expressed a fondness for the Euston Road: They saw it as London's jugular - a fundamental component of the city, feeding people around its bulk. The poetic language doesn't do anything for me when I'm stuck in the central reservation every lunch hour, trying to get from one side to the other. I can't be the only pedestrian who suffers from road rage.

To calm myself down I pop into St Pancras Church - the big church
with the pillars of Grecian-urn looking ladies which sits on the Euston Road. I'm not a religious girl, much to the unhappiness of my
Catholic mother, but even the most rigorous athiest would find peace in St. Pancras Crypt. The Crypt is a very popular exhibition space, with a steady stream of artists exhibiting here. There is currently a beautifully curated exhibition by sculpter Emily Young, which beats the hell out of the Euston road's central reservation.

Tuesday, 5 June 2007

Cockpit arts open studios

My oft-abused bank balance was relieved to see that I restrained myself and did not return from my cockpit visit with any goodies: Because at the last minute I wisely left my checkbook at home. I did however bring my camera with me.

The work on display was beautiful and inspiring, and peering into different studio doorways through the maze of corridors satisfied even my rampant curiosity (nosiness). I visited the studios with a friend of mine called Becca who is in her final weeks as an MA student down the road at Central St. Martins: As a creative who is about to
leave the safety of academia, this visit offered her an uplifting insight into the avenues of support for artists setting out on their own.

I took a few shots of the work - and artists! - on display.

Tying in quite nicely with this visit and the decisions facing contemporary artists, CreateKX and Cockpit Arts have an
event next week which explores the current arts climate for
artists and craft-makers:

Making the Move: Art or Craft Market
@ the British Library Business and IP Centre
5-8pm, 12th June 2007
Tickets £5 in advance
for more info and to book, register for the event on the CreateKX website
Becca was most put out that instead of coming to her MA show I would be sunning myself on the Spanish coast, but this shouldn't stop you going along to check the talent: It's a fantastic opportunity to see tomorrow's leading designers, performers and artists before they all get rich and sell out! The degree show - BA and MA - will be exhibited at the Central Saint Martin's, Holborn site from 16-21 June '07.

Images of artworks courtesy of:

Friday, 1 June 2007

Goodbye and Hello

I do hate goodbyes. So instead I’ll say goodluck and goodhunting to missbloggerkx, who I can still faintly hear singing that birdy-song. Besides, I have a feeling she’s not going too far…
So as I hot foot it into the hot-seat I realise it is Friday. And, for the first time since the weather heard it was Bank Holiday season, the sun is shining. So I thought I’d follow bloggerkx’s advice and check out the wonders of Chalton Street market, a Friday institution in King's Cross.
Although I was sorely tempted by the bumper packs of jammy-dodgers and wagon wheels, my favourite stall featured trees of underwear.
My weekend will feature artworks of a rather more deliberate nature, as the Summer 07 Cockpit Arts Open Studios takes place. Cockpit is the largest creative hub for designer makers in the UK, with studios just down the road in Holborn, as well as another site in Deptford. A visit to their open studios is a great way to land yourself a unique piece of fine art or craft, or just explore the artistic talent which is flourishing in London today. I hoodwink myself into believing the latter, then emerge sheepishly a few pounds lighter but, ahem, artistically enriched.

Cockpit Open Studios: Friday 1 to Sunday 3 June, 1 – 7 pm

Entry £5, valid for all four days.
Cockpit Yard, Northington Street, London, WC1N 2NP
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