19 May 2019


The Coming Community: New Towns, Art and Place

MK Gallery is hosting a symposium which will consider the potential for art in new and expanding communities. It will explore the legacies of art and culture in the first generation of New Towns and consider what might be learned from such examples.

I’ll be chairing a session that looks at post war new towns such as Harlow and Milton Keynes, and the role that public sculpture played in their development. More details here.

Image: Henry Moore’s Harlow Family Group 1954–5 outside St Mary of Latton Church, Harlow. Henry Moore Foundation Archive.

19 March 2019


Audacity and what to do with it

I’ve written a text for the very handsome new Milton Keynes Gallery catalogue about audacity / the original plan for Milton Keynes / Nils Norman + Gareth Jones’ work with 6a architects + graphic designer Mark El-khatib.

Order a copy here.

18 February 2019


Intervene / Shift / Compel: The artist’s role in public life

”What I want to do is intervene in the fabric of society” Stephen Willats

How can artists contribute to a discussion about the way we live in the 21st century? What are the mechanisms that artists, curators and commissioners use to make democratic, active public spaces that address urgent, political and social issues? Can such projects bring about societal change or just a shift in perception?

I’ve organised this afternoon event at Moderna Museet Malmö, 28 Feb 2019. Artists and curators from Sweden, Norway and Britain will present a series of international projects that create a framework for discussion.

More info here.

A synopsis of the seminar can be read here.

Image credit: The Bower of Bliss, Linder, 2018, Southwark station. Commissioned by Art on the Underground. Photo: Thierry Bal, 2018.

12 February 2019

Is This Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Today: Art, Architecture and the Future

I’m chairing a session with Amalia Pica and 6a Architects at a Whitechapel Gallery symposium on 15 February 2019.

The event is part of the public programme for Is This Tomorrow? - the current exhibition at the gallery which takes as its model the landmark Whitechapel exhibition This Is Tomorrow (1956).

More details here

Image: Amalia Pica + 6a Architects, Is This Tomorrow?, Whitechapel Gallery, 2019. Photo: Rafael Ortega

15 January 2019


Curator in Residence, Flat Time House

I’m Curator in Residence at Flat Time House in Peckham, south London, for bits of January and February 2019. I’ll be developing my Archive of Destruction project.

I’ll be rifling through the Flat Time House archive, looking into the work of John Latham (particularly his Skoob Towers project - see pic), as well as reading material commissioned and gathered by FTH (specifically the NOIT journal and Ivor Davies documents). I’ll also be working on funding applications for a three year programme with organisations in London, Great Yarmouth and Amsterdam.

Photo: one of John Latham’s Skoob Tower Ceremonies (1964-68). Image courtesy of FTH.

28 November 2018


House Taken Over book launch

BalinHouseProjects would love you to come to the launch of our book ‘House Taken Over’, the culmination of a year-long project about:

artists making work beyond the institution
the artist as host in a domestic setting
systems of control
bypassing the market economy
collective play

The book is edited by Jes Fernie and includes contributions from writers Holly Corfield Carr and Lorena Muñoz-Alonso, artists Harold Offeh and Martin Cordiano, and theatre director Ada Mukhina. It is beautifully designed by Sarah Boris.

Thursday 10 January, 2019
6 - 9pm
Welcome speech at 7pm

Matt’s Gallery
92 Webster Road
London SE16 4DF

RSVP to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

03 September 2018


Rathbone Square commissions

We now have photos of Alison Wilding and Robert Orchardson’s commissions for Rathbone Square, London. It’s fantastic to see the drinking fountain being used throughout the hot summer months and the movement of people through the gates at Newman Street and Rathbone Street.

More information on both commissions, plus photos here.

Photo: Robert Orchardson, ‘Infinite Geometry’, 2018. Rathbone Square gates. © Thierry Bal

16 July 2018

And We Are Everywhere

We’ve made a film about Nathan Coley’s new commission for Råängen, ‘And We Are Everywhere’, 2018.

Nathan, the Bishop of Lund, Jake Ford (from White Arkitekter) and myself talk about the work, the context and the broader Råängen programme.

16 July 2018


Cut Your Nose Like Your Hair

I’ve written a piece called CUT YOUR NOSE LIKE YOUR HAIR for Helen Stratford and Idit Nathan on radical art practices, privatisation, social isolation, the Enclosures Acts, Pokemon Go, Dada and absurdity.  Published in Art & the Public Sphere, Volume 7, Number 1, 2018

Read the full text here

Image: ‘Excursions & Visites Dada’, Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre, Paris, France, 1921

18 June 2018


The Thingness of the Thing

I had such a good time writing this text for Richard Grayson’s embroidery project with Matt’s Gallery - now brought together in this gorgeous book.

Amateur craftspeople and local residents each embroidered a letter of Guy Debord’s declaration: BOREDOM IS ALWAYS COUNTER-REVOLUTIONARY. It’s a beautiful project that encompasses collective endeavour, craftsmanship, commitment, tedium, dream-like states and the search for meaning in contemporary life.

Read the text here

More information on Richard Grayson’s ‘By Our Own Hand’ project here


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Jes Fernie

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