Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art addresses the housing crisis and ideas of home

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art addresses the housing crisis and ideas of home

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski, Alternative Equinox, 2014. Video, colour, sound, 16:51 minutes. Courtesy of the artists.

October 20, 2017
Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art addresses the housing crisis and ideas of home
October 21, 2017–February 18, 2018
Autumn season opening day: October 21, 12–4pm
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Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, part of Teesside University, is moving forward with a vision of itself as a “useful museum,” or “museum 3.0,” under the directorship of Alistair Hudson and with programming by Miguel Amado and Elinor Morgan. It is an institution with a social function that contributes to change through the repurposing of art as a tool. It focuses on civic engagement, treating the gallery as a public resource based on use value. Its users and constituent groups shape its meaning, and with them it fosters citizenship through education and community development.

A Room of Our Own
This exhibition addresses the home as a political site. It is informed by current debates around the Arts and Crafts movement’s politicized reaction to industrialization in the nineteenth century, the classic Ideal Home magazine and its associated fair, and the government report “Fixing Our Broken Housing Market.” It considers ways people can take control over lived spaces through cooperative production.

The display emulates a showroom of furnishings and processes made by British artists, presenting products and projects that encapsulate small-scale, ground-up manufacturing. This imagined townhouse features wallpaper, furniture, ceramics, and lighting. Contributors include Artist Tea Towel Company, Jonathan Baldock, Pablo Bronstein, Matt Calderwood, CommonRoom, Coco Crampton, Fairland Collective, Martino Gamper, Kate Hawkins, Nadia Hebson, Emily Hesse, Jasleen Kaur, New Boosbeck Industries, Katie Schwab, and Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan.

Granby Workshop: Products and Processes, Assemble
This exhibition features architectural ceramics and related trials, prototypes, and molds from the Granby Workshop. The Granby Workshop was established by Assemble, a collective known for their experimental and collective practice led by social need, and residents of Granby (also known as Toxteth) in Liverpool. The pieces are functional, made with craft techniques and locally sourced materials. The Granby Rock Mantelpiece, produced with Will Shannon, for example, uses rubble from demolished houses in the area. These works were acquired for the Middlesbrough Collection through a grant from the Contemporary Art Society.

The Housing Question
This exhibition examines issues related to housing in the context of capitalism. It addresses publicly oriented housing initiatives and the drive toward the privatization of housing provision under neoliberalism. It borrows its title from the 1872 essay of the same name by Friedrich Engels, in which he argues that housing crises are intrinsic to capitalist society, and that only a communist alternative to the latter solves the former. It outlines progressive architectural concepts, initiatives and projects from the 1900s to the present day, and explores the politics and economics of housing.

The exhibition brings together texts, installations, videos, photographs, documents, and publications. The eclectic mix of featured content puts forward an intellectual framework and offers a set of tools to approach matters of housing and capital. Contributors include Miguel Amado with Olivia Heron, Architects for Social Housing, Asylum Colour Coding Research Unit, case studies from the Arte Útil Archive (Dorchester Project, Granby Four Streets Regeneration, Home Improvement Service, Project Row Houses, The Green Bans), Paulo Catrica, Friedrich Engels, Claire Fontaine, Albane Duvillier, Katie Fisher, Freee, Núria Güell, Adelita Husni-Bey and collaborators in the formulation of the Convention on the Use of Space, Stuart Hodkinson, Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski, and Stephen Willats.

Untitled (City Plan)
This exhibition features works from the Middlesbrough Collection and archival materials from Teesside Archives that explore the ways artists represent, reflect on, or imagine the built environment. A group of works focuses on Middlesbrough, and includes contributions by L. S. Lowry and Stephen Willats. Other works explore urban planning and spatial experience, with highlights including Guillermo Kuitca and Ishmael Randall Weeks.



Community Day
The free weekly Community Day consists of activities and events complemented by a communal lunch. It brings together people of all ages, ethnicities, genders, classes, and nationalities to share food, make, learn, and discuss current urgencies.

Middlesbrough Collection
The Middlesbrough Collection’s first permanent presentation features a range of works in multiple media—including drawing, ceramics, sculpture, video, painting, and jewelry—by British and international artists from the 19th century to today. The exhibition’s content and displays are shaped through a continuous dialogue between staff and publics.

Office of Useful Art
The Office of Useful Art is a free workplace for meetings, workshops, and displays that promote Arte Útil—“useful art,” or art as a tool—as well as the repository of the Arte Útil archive, a growing registry of historical and contemporary case studies.

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October 20, 2017

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