Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Peckham Raises the Roof

Hot on the heels of Deptford's Creative Juices, Peckham gets the treatment in Sunday's Observer Review section (5 July 2009):

'Peckham raises the roof. Move over Hackney! London's next creative hotspot, signalled by this bold rooftop sculpture park, could be south of the river, reports Hermione Hoby:

It's a hot Tuesday night, and 1,000 twentysomethings have elected to spend it in a multi-storey municipal car park in Peckham. It's a crowd impressive enough to match the big, bold artworks they're here to see. A sculpture park on the roof of the 10-storey building in Rye Lane forms the highlight of the third Bold Tendencies exhibition from the Hannah Barry Gallery, which has joined forces with four local artists' groups for a formidable show.

Coming so soon after the success of Barry's Peckham Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, if anything can substantiate claims of an influential youthful art "scene" in Peckham, this is it... the south London suburb is more likely to be associated, at best, with fictitious wheeler-dealers Rodney and Del Boy, and worst, Harriet Harman in a stab-proof vest. Soon, though, it may become synonymous with art. Cheap rent and large empty buildings are a classic recipe for attracting young artists, and Peckham's creative boom has also been helped by a stream of graduates from nearby Camberwell and Goldsmiths art colleges'.

Full article here .

Good luck to the artists of Peckham, but personally I am a bit weary of the endless series of articles about Deptford/New Cross/Peckham being the new Shoreditch/Hoxton/Hackney. Sometimes it feels like only the antics of 'twentysomething' artists are deemed worthy of mention, the real issues facing the majority of people living round here - including poverty and housing for many - just aren't crazy sexy cool enough to mention until murders and tower block fires make them newsworthy. Rant over.


Museum of Techno said...

This is in no way a criticism of Transpontine (which is awesome, one of my favourite blogs), but just an observation on artsy development in Hackney.

A friend of mine did a research project about the artsification of Hackney. She went round the estates, knocking on doors and trying to get long-established locals to give their views on how things were developing. The clear message was that regeneration through arts felt, to the established population, like the white middle class invading, dissolving their high streets and replacing them with cafes locals couldn't afford, before taking their living space too. Literally like an invasion. I like to think about population movements like bacterial lawns and moulds digesting each other in a petri dish - I don't think it's as simple as a process of adding artsy prettiness to the lives of the locals.


You can't open a paper these days without some part of South London being proclaimed 'the latest arts hotspot'. Here you can find another load of pony re: The Elephant. Music seems thin on the ground when all they can come up with is Corsica and The Coronet and then bizarrely enough the 56a Infoshop anarchist bookshop (where 4 of the details included are wrong!!).

IMR said...

The arts thing is celebrated because it's so closely tied in with housing and property.

Lots of middle-class people need somewhere to live but fear hostility or physical attacks from the 'locals' in down-at-heel areas where property prices are less expensive.

The presence of art galleries, shops selling whimsical knick-knacks and so on provides a sense of reassurance.