In the thick of the city’s art explosion, with York Curiouser

Installing art at the quilt museum. Photograph: Steven Parker
24 Jun 2014 @ 7.52 pm
| News
Installing art at the quilt museum. Photograph: Steven Parker

It’s here! York’s amazing outdoor art exhibition can be seen across the city, as curators Lara Goodband and Hazel Colquhoun explain

York Curiouser is up and running! We’re almost one week in and it’s all going fantastically well. But it’s been an incredibly busy time and we’re just about able to take a breath now…

We began an intensive two weeks of final making and installation of the artworks at the beginning of June.

Our intrepid and fantastic technician, Shaun, had to turn his hand to making projection screens for medieval towers, installing solar panels on historic buildings, spray painting poems through stencils on walls and drilling into Scheduled Ancient Monuments (only the mortar, don’t worry) to hang contemporary banners.

And of course the artists did an awful lot of work too!

The Merchant Adventurer’s Hall enjoys the York Curiouser treatment. Photograph: Chris Jones
Another poem is in place. Photograph: Alan Fleming

In the final four days before opening we installed all the works – including 16 poems, the first 75 ceramic sandwiches, five banners, five panels of threadwork, ten student installations, a video, a life size film projection, a soundwork, 100 handbags and associated plants and labels, and a secret chamber behind a new door with a viewing slot…

Curious? You’ll have to go and see for yourself! Look on the website – especially look at our Flickr group which has loads of installation pics – or pick up a leaflet and map from the Visitor Information Centre, Early Music Centre, Quilt Museum or Fishergate Postern Tower (Wednesday to Sunday).

We even managed to mail order a new dress for Hazel for the opening (in a five-minute lunch break on a bench in King’s Manor), which luckily arrived in time. She doesn’t often wear dresses.

The first week has also seen a flurry of artists’ talks (linked into the Festival of Ideas) some of which we both participated in, and our first set of family workshops, with more to come throughout the project.

We’ve learnt some fascinating stuff ourselves from the talks – Susanne Davies’ work at the Merchant Adventurers includes 10,000 metres of thread, there’s supposed to be a horse buried under Fishergate Postern Tower and, blimey, someone was murdered in the Red Tower in an argument between stone masons and tilers…

Two more weeks to go – but still loads of stuff to do and see. We’re still organising volunteer rotas, overseeing feedback and visitor counting, replacing sandwiches and rubbed off poems (please tweet if you find poems and sandwiches @yorkcuriouser) and there’s Matt Hawthorn’s one-day event on Saturday 28 June on the Foss, which involves, ice, helium, balloons, flying umbrellas and a freezer in Hazel’s back garden.

Final blog next – aftermath…

  • Hazel Colquhoun, an independent public art commissioning curator, and Lara Goodband, an independent visual art curator, blog on YorkMix about the York Curiouser project
  • York Curiouser runs from June 14 – July 7. Artworks will cover a range of media including light, sound, ceramics, poetry and textiles, developed for specific city locations
  • Read more York Curiouser blogs here
  • For more information see the project’s Facebook page, its Instagram images or follow @yorkcuriouser on Twitter