Last week saw the launch of All Points North, an initiative profiling the strength of contemporary art events happening in the north of England during autumn and winter 2011. To quote a rather nice phrase from the All Points North press release: “This Autumn, the stars align in the contemporary art world of the North of England.” In the space of a few months the North is hosting a series of significant exhibitions and festivals, including the Northern Art Prize, that present the whole spectrum of contemporary art practice and profile artists at all stages of their careers. All Points North provides a chance to shout about them, with the website allpointsnorth.info providing a central hub for audiences to find out more.
All Points North was launched with the opening of Bloomberg New Contemporaries in Sheffield, an annual open submission exhibition for emerging artists (final year students and those within one year of graduation can apply). Sacha Craddock, the Director of New Contemporaries, gave an excellent introduction to the exhibition and its import particularly at a time when tuition fees are rising and arts funding is being cut. Such a democratic, early career platform is an important spur to emerging artists.
At the other end of the spectrum – for artists who most definitely have ‘made it’ – sits the Turner Prize to be shown at BALTIC, Gateshead from 21 October to 8 January. It will be the first time this prestigious award has ever taken place beyond Tate.
Other events and festivals forming part of All Points North are already underway and profile diverse, experimental and international art practice. Abandon Normal Devices, a festival of new cinema and digital culture, runs at locations across the North West until 02 October (with some of its associated exhibitions running to the end of November) plus online projects. The International Print Biennale includes work by our very own NAP nominee James Hugonin. Exhibitions are hosted across the Hatton Gallery, Laing Art Gallery and Northern Print, Newcastle until 19 November.
Asia Triennial Manchester 2011 starts on 1 October and runs to 27 November, providing a full programme of contemporary arts and crafts by artists from Asia, the UK and the Asian diaspora. It features exhibitions, commissions and interventions exploring the theme of Time and Generation, at venues across Manchester, including Cornerhouse, Castlefield Gallery and the Chinese Arts Centre.
All of the exhibitions and festivals included in All Points North are partnership projects between different venues and organisations. The Northern Art Prize too involves working in partnership with Leeds Art Gallery. To see such collaboration, to develop high profile arts events and support artistic practice in its various stages and forms is hugely exciting. All Points North provides a further umbrella partnership for the organisations involved to support and promote one another. From an audience point of view this is perhaps irrelevant or behind the scenes. However audiences reap the benefit of such collaboration in terms of the breadth and strength of projects on show. With so much to see, there is no excuse, take a look at the website allpointsnorth.info then go and explore some great art in the north!