now then, margate isn’t always so bleak. the sun shines and hey, what’s that over to the left of the blackboard there? on the seafront. is that….is that an outlet store? is it lidl?
no indeed, it’s the turner contemporary – shiny new art barn and apparent resuscitator of margate’s faded seaside glamour. while it’s not as great a building as has sometimes been made out, it’s not as bad as it would be easy to pretend either. although it does have some of the look and feel of a set from a dystopian 70’s sci-fi movie. something along the lines of logan’s run or brave new world involving aggressive cultural reprogramming and perhaps a cull of the old, weak or socially undesirable.
to call it an excuse for an expensive bookshop and cafe (which take up most of the ground floor) would clearly be uncharitable of me. there’s a nice neon piece by michael craig-martin which recreates a commission that used to be at the public library and an impressive curtain of daniel buren stripes on the enormous window that affords a sea view, which is nice. Thing is, that view was already there in abundance. apart from that the art seemed a little thin on the ground, upstairs a pale projection of the seashore seemed even more puzzling. subtle certainly but also slightly pointless. still, they’re pretty good rooms with nice light and what goes in them can make a tremendous amount of difference. I can’t quite shake my unease over the whole idea of art as an engine of regeneration, or of the whole exercise as a metropolitan land grab. and that’s why they call me jolly.
ants. you’re just little ants.