First Curators at King’s Cross to Develop an Ambitious Arts Programme

Posted: Tuesday 19th April 2011
  • First curatorial team appointed to drive forward a 3 year arts programme at King’s Cross
  • King’s Cross will be used as a platform for temporary installations, exhibitions and events by international artists, inspired by the emerging cityscape
  • Artists will build on the strong tradition of arts in King’s Cross and involve those in the wider community.

King’s Cross is destined to become a world class destination for contemporary art with the first curatorial team appointed to devise an ambitious arts programme.

Michael Pinsky and Stéphanie Delcroix have been selected and given a budget to commission internationally renowned artists to create artworks, installations, exhibitions and performances that will attract people from all over London, the UK and abroad. Their RELAY programme, which will last for three years, will play on the area’s fantastic transport links and the constantly evolving development scheme.

There is considerable scope for art at King’s Cross with 40% of the 67 acre site set aside as public space including Granary Square, one of the largest public squares in London, which will also open to the public in September.

Michael and Stéphanie are already working with a number of selected artists to deliver their arts programme which will be announced in more detail later in the year. The nature of the site means that the existing heritage buildings and development phases is inspiring a range of innovative and creative approaches.

Art at King’s Cross is not new. The area already has a rich tradition of artistic activity and is a hub for art lovers with Kings Place on the doorstep and 4,500 staff and students from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, part of the University of Arts London, move into the Granary Complex in September. At King’s Cross there have already been installations such as Catherine Yass’ Highwire, an Artangel project at The German Gymnasium, and William Forsythe’s Scattered Crowd, presented by Sadler’s Wells in the Midland Goods Shed. There has also been an artist’s residency scheme supported by Arts Council England.

King’s Cross Central now plans to develop a more comprehensive approach to arts by funding a different curatorial team every three years.

Unlike other developments the approach is not being driven by the developers alone. An Advisory Panel has been established to oversee the arts programme, ensuring a high quality of art at King’s Cross and a consistent approach. The panel is currently made up of representatives from the developers, the master planners of the site, the British Council, Hauser and Wirth, Tate, Camden Arts Centre, Artangel and the University of the Arts London.

Anna Strongman from King’s Cross said:

“Our aim is to make King’s Cross a destination for arts. We therefore have high aspirations for the quality of art in our public spaces which is why we are appointing a curator every three years to develop a fresh, ambitious programme.

“Michael and Stéphanie were chosen from a number of high-profile applications for their creative vision and experience drawing the best out of artists. Having lived in King’s Cross for years it was clear from their response that they are as passionate about the area as we are and we are looking forward to working with them.

“The local area already has a rich tradition of artistic creativity which we want to build on and of course with Central Saint Martins moving to King’s Cross this September there will be even more exciting opportunities to explore.

“The University of Arts’ arrival and the opening of Granary Square mean that King’s Cross will no longer be an out-of-bounds building site but a new part of central London to explore and enjoy. We want to make sure our public spaces are welcoming for all visitors.”

Stéphanie Delcroix from RELAY said:

“We are very excited to be working at King’s Cross. RELAY will draw on the unique qualities of King’s Cross as an international transport hub and emerging cityscape. The commissions for the public spaces will also coincide with the 2012 Games which will add to the plans King’s Cross already have to celebrate this big occasion.”

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