GAFF is a new intimate 1 day event that will take place in the space at the back of French’s Pub on the Main Street, Gorey, Sunday 7 August. It is a free event and aims to represent & bring to Gorey the work of leading local, national & international practitioners within their field. GAFF is the first project set up by the newly formed Gorey Arts Council and run under the Open Gorey initiative. We are a non-profit, community driven initiative. Hope to see you all there🙂
With the economy in freefall, Dublin has quietly become a city of pop-up spaces, with art and design collectives putting on exhibitions, gigs and plays in vacant warehouses and once glitzy retail units. Here are five of the best
You’d be forgiven for thinking Dublin must feel pretty grim right now, what with a bruised Irish government finally accepting an IMF and EU bailout and thousands of graduates emigrating. But here’s the thing: it doesn’t feel that depressing. In fact, it feels quite exciting.
Yes, the city is broke. Yes, properties lie empty. Yes, it’s like the 1980s all over again (the decade that saw Ireland produce Turner prize-nominated artist Willie Doherty, and saw musician Roger Doyle and actress Olwyn Four set up the Operating Theatre collective). But while Dublin is making headlines for its financial instability, local artists, designers and writers are making the most of the situation.
They have taken over closed-down shops, unused garages and vacant warehouses, and turned them into spaces for art exhibitions, performances and gigs. Over the last 18 months, they have formed collectives and not-for-profit organisations, and have kept their spaces running using private funds and diminishing government grants. Dublin has quietly become a city of pop-up spaces, a development almost unthinkable just a few years ago. Here is a guide to five of the best.
If you’re in Dublin, you have to see this place. Even if there is no show on at the time, just go. It’s huge. Aeroplane hangar huge. A collective from the nearby National College of Art & Design set up this combined work and exhibition space, and opened its doors to the public just days ago. In a highly unusual move, they dealt with a property developer directly while searching for a space, and through their negotiations it seems they now mean they only have to pay electricity bills. Nice. Co-founder Greg Howie says this couldn’t have happened even a year ago: “We just wouldn’t have had access to a developer like that. I think property owners are more open to new things now”. But hurry, Basic Space will close in December 2012 when the building is scheduled for demolition. Until then, the space will host experimental shows and purposefully lo-fi art. The first show is set for 9 December.
• 2 Vicar Street, Dublin 8. Open daily when shows are on, 12pm-late (but call to arrange entry). +353 (0) 85 77 99 171, ask for Kari.
Blink and you might miss the entrance to this surprisingly large collaborative space which opened this summer. Situated above a Chinese supermarket in Smithfield, north Dublin, Block T used to be a tiling shop. Its name pays homage to the apartment blocks that sprang up in the area during the economic boom. There are 17 resident artists who curate and take part in an ever-changing list of exhibitions, plays and gigs. They run the space using private funding, holding events to raise money to keep the place shipshape. To give you an idea of the building’s capacity: a recent show put on by local street artist Maser included the full-scale recreation of classic Irish shop fronts. Next on the schedule is a showing of The Work The Work, an edgy all-nude dance performance fresh from the Dublin Fringe Festival.
• 1-6 Haymarket, Smithfield Square, Dublin 7. Open in the afternoon. +353 (0) 87 09 25 849.
Located just around the corner from Block T, The Complex is one of Dublin’s more established pop-ups. In operation since 2009, it occupies a long-vacant retail unit recently acquired by the National Asset Management Agency, Ireland’s “bad bank”. Mainly theatre-focused, The Complex is nonetheless a multidisciplinary space. It’s headed by former West End theatre director Vanessa Fielding. On my visit, red-nosed actors from local theatre company Barabbas were rehearsing for their show City of Clowns. The Complex recently hosted an exhibition from Ireland’s Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and December will see neo-burlesque troupe The Pony Girls take over a newly kitted-out main space.
• Block C, 18-21 Smithfield Square, Dublin 7. Opening times vary with shows. +353 (0) 1 544 6922.
Once a glitzy, Celtic Tiger-era furniture showroom, Exchange Dublin is situated at the trendier end of Dublin’s Temple Bar. This bright space hosts everything from dance collectives to film festivals, from photography workshops to capoeira lessons. Co-founded by local Dylan Haskins, the centre covers much of its costs with an Arts Council grant. Staffed by an army of volunteers, it grew out of an idea Haskins had to occupy a building to highlight the number of vacant retail spaces in the city. Now settled into its semi-permanent home, a wall-mounted weekly diary lets visitors know what’s going on. My late night visit saw collective Inklude meeting to discuss all things illustrated. If you’re in Dublin on a short trip, you’re invited to pop in and propose ideas for future events. Oh, and they make a killer cup of tea.
• Exchange Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 2. Open daily 9am until late. +353 (0) 1 677 92 64.
You’d almost expect someone to shout “get off my land!” as you approach SHE-D (pronounced “shed”). And you might be tempted to turn on your heels instead of knocking on its stark, black metal door. But stick with it: inside this former garage is an elegantly messy, whitewashed studio that doubles as an exhibition space. Brainchild of Italian artist Eli McBett, SHE-D has been on the Dublin art scene for some time, but took over this space in March 2010. McBett is a fastidious archivist, keeping records of everyone who has entered the building and every show and exhibition held there. It’s a private space, but visitors are more than welcome to call in when in the area. And indeed, SHE-D will soon boast its own vegan cafe. On my visit, a Brazilian artist leaving Ireland permanently was set to sculpt a tree from scratch as her way of saying goodbye. Scheduling takes place on a week-by-week basis, and exhibitions come and go quickly. Visitors are advised to call to see what’s on.