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Regional arts cuts and two shows at the Design Museum

[THIS WEEK] A regional cuts-roundup, plus 6a take on Wim Crouwel and David Kohn the Brit Design Awards

John Ruskin, Study of St George and the Dragon, after Carpaccio (1879). Courtesy Guild of St George, Museums Sheffield.

John Ruskin, Study of St George and the Dragon, after Carpaccio (1879). Courtesy Guild of St George, Museums Sheffield.

Last month, and after a £200,000 spruce up, Museums Sheffield reopened its extensive Ruskin Collection. Hosted in Pringle Richards Sharratt’s city-centre Millennium Gallery, the eccentric Victorian critic’s archive was reopened just a week before the Arts Council England funding to the collection’s parent organisation, Museums Sheffield, was cut completely.

Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, “Children in the backlane of Kendal Street,” 1971.

Amber’s Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen, “Children in the backlane of Kendal Street,” 1971.

Compared to some large institutions in London, like the ICA, which was cut by 36.8 per cent from last year – several regional galleries fared well, including Middlesbrough’s Institute of Modern Art (up 143 per cent) though several other AJ favourites – Cambridge’s Kettle’s Yard, Chichester’s Pallant House, the Bexhill-on-Sea De La Warr Pavilion all received cuts of over 10 per cent.


Other excellent organisations that fell victim to complete cuts include the Kielder Partnership, the body that oversees the park’s Art and Architecture Programme (AJ 27.08.09), the publishing group Mute (AJ 27.01.11) and Newcastle’s Side Gallery (AJ 09.09.10), home to the Amber collective.

The Serpentine’s apparently generous hike of 19 per cent will stick in the craw of taxpayers resentful of a government dominated by metropolitan toffs, especially when its most well-known event, its annual summer pavilion, is known as an exuberant backdrop for celeb champagne quaffing.

Another winner was the South London Gallery, its 107 per cent hike nodding to Peckham’s reputation as a hotbed for new artists. 6a Architects, who refitted the gallery, also designed the newly-opened Wim Crouwel show at the Design Museum.

6a Architects exhibition design for the WIm Crouwel show at the Design Museum

6a Architects exhibition design for the WIm Crouwel show at the Design Museum

This is one of two current exhibitions at the museum, notable for design as much as content. 6a Architects opened up the first-floor gallery with a circuit of nattily-legged tables.

David Kohn Architects design for Brit Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum

David Kohn Architects design for Brit Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum

The shows couldn’t be more different, with Crouwel’s retrospective showing one experimental designer rooted in a pure Modernism, while Brit Designs, in the nature of its diverse entry categories, is a more chaotic affair.A mixed, but very interesting, bag.

Detail of brass connectors from David Kohn Architects design for Brit Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum

Detail of brass connectors from David Kohn Architects design for Brit Designs of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum

Wim Crouwel: A Graphic Odyssey, until 3 July; Brit Insurance Designs of the Year, until 7 August, both at the Design Museum, London

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