Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

In My View

Article excerpt

Byline: By Kelvin Bourgoyne

I returned to the Baltic in Gateshead over the Easter break and felt such anger and disappointment that I feel I have to vent my frustration here.

Although a Lancastrian, I had previously lived for several years in Durham and fell in love with Newcastle, its people and its football team as soon as we were introduced.

My walks along the Quayside were particularly happy, surrounded by all the history and architectural wonders.

Family commitments forced me to leave the area and return home, but continued friendships meant frequent visits back.

When I heard of the multi-million- pound development of the Baltic Flour Mill as an art gallery, I was impatient and excited to see the transition and enter a building I had gazed upon many times, with much affection.

As a professional artist, I was excited to see the design and commitment of the management team.

At first I was impressed. Last year's Anthony Gormley exhibition was so inspirational and the facilities and ambience an absolute delight - I was thrilled that my beloved Tyneside now possessed a facility that was equal to anything I had seen before.

I returned to Newcastle last weekend primarily to visit another of the city's gems, The Biscuit Factory, where I am exhibiting.

With a few hours to spare the opportunity to cross the new footbridge and explore the Baltic again was too good to miss.

The masses of people leaving and entering confirmed the amazing drawing power of this beautiful monument.

Then, on entering and seeing the recent installation of works by Nancy Spero and Kiki Smith, which had run since December, the dream, hope and expectation gradually extinguished.

The people responsible for the selection and presentation of exhibits have failed in a fundamental way, losing all sense of identity and connection with the masses and pandering to a minority who have illusions of art, its purpose and its place in the life of ordinary men and women.

I weep and despair when I see such waste and I am bitter that these new institutions, time and again, so obviously, do not give the public what they want. …

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