On the second floor of a pub in Birmingham, something very different is being attempted with an art exhibition.
A group of seasoned curators are bringing internationally renowned artists to Birmingham in three formats: white frames (Clarke Gallery), digital editions (Lamb White) and postcards (Charlie Levine.) All the work is for sale at affordable prices, strictly limited to a maximum sale price of £650.
In the case of Clarke Gallery, sales are not only possible but integral to allowing the exhibition to move forwards. When one work sells, the curator replaces it with another work, and so on throughout the exhibition. With most of the work gathered originally for an exhibition at mac Birmingham, this exhibition at the Old Joint Stock marks the beginning of a larger project in the city of Birmingham, ‘FRAME’, wherein white frames will be placed all over the city – in restaurants, offices, shopping centres, hairdressers – on a similar cycling system of renowned artists displaying their work under an ethos of visibility, accessibility and affordability.
In 2011 artist and curator Caitlin Griffiths founded Lamb White Ltd, an online business dedicated to the developing fresh approaches to distributing and selling the very best in newly-commissioned contemporary art. 4:3 is Lamb White’s inaugural commissioning programme. Five artists have been commissioned to make new work especially for the small screen an the limited digital editions will be available for download from 12th September 2012. Sign up to mailing list for more information. The original works on paper are for sale at the launch exhibition Joint Stock.
The Postcard is a contemporary project inspired by the 1893 The Postcard ‘the smallest journal in the world.’ Since May 2012, Charlie Levine has commissioned 10 new editions of The Postcard, each of which highlights the work of an exciting young artist, local to the Birmingham art scene. In keeping with the Clarke Griffiths Levine remit of promotion, selling and distribution, the postcard provides an ideal format (low budget, easily transportable) for Levine to highlight artists’ practices. The Postcard may be purchased individually, or as a set from Joint Stock.
This is an art exhibition offering a new approach to buying and selling art in Birmingham, helping artists better connect with the daily lives of the public and with their potential customers. Clarke Griffiths Levine will also be offering artist surgeries to help artists find the skills and contacts they need to further their development.
The curators, Clarke Griffiths Levine, are not short of skills and contacts. Elly Clarke is the founding director of Clarke Gallery in Berlin and has curated exhibitions in Germany, the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. Caitlin Griffiths was the youngest Artistic Director of Hereford Photography Festival and has worked with artists including Bill Viola, Vanessa Winship and Wang Qingsong. Finally, Charlie Levine, founder of TROVE, has been selected as one of Saachi’s top 100 international curators and named as the Guardian’s One to Watch.
Given this pedigree, it may seem odd that they have chosen to debut in the exhibition space of a pub theatre. The choice of venue is no coincidence. This first joint exhibition by Clarke Griffiths Levine takes place in The Old Joint Stock, a Grade II listed Victorian building turned grand pub and studio theatre in the very heart of the city, which for many years in the 19th century (as the mounted front page of the 1863 Times Of London in the pub attests) housed the Midlands’ Stock Exchange.
Now one of the most popular pubs in the business district, The Old Joint Stock highlights its banking history on the walls downstairs, and in the many retained features (including an island bar made from the original bank-tellers’ desk and an opulent back room which was, of course, the bank manager’s office), while Clarke Griffiths Levine are extending this idea of financial exchange upstairs.
In the current economic climate, with less disposable cash around and ever-more-severe cuts to arts funding, artists – as everyone – need to think of new ways to exist in the world, find innovative ways to produce, present, promote, commission, display and sell art, both online and off. Test-driving Clarke Griffiths Levine’s mission to bring Art to Buyers and Collectors, ‘Joint Stock’ showcases exciting international and upcoming art talent in Birmingham – which is all for sale.
13th September – 9th November 2012
The Old Joint Stock (Theatre Level – Second Floor)
Launch 12th September 6pm – 11pm
Old Joint Stock Theatre: