It was a great pleasure to join friends and colleagues both old and new at Beaconsfield’s 20th anniversary party last night. If you don’t already know them, Beaconsfield has been curating visual art, producing new sound, performance and interdisciplinary art projects for 20 years, providing
a critical space for creative enquiry. Founded to occupy a niche between the institution, the commercial and the ‘alternative’ the charity maintains a unique venue which has provided a laboratory and presentation space for contemporary art and artists since 1995. Set up in the former Lambeth Ragged School by artists with a track record for organising grass-roots events, Beaconsfield commissions, and is commissioned, nationally and internationally and has a long history of innovative collaboration with other organisations and individuals, on and off-site. The annual programme typically includes a range of exhibitions, residencies, talks and events as well as interventions in public space.
There was much to celebrate. Past projects include groundbreaking works by artists including London Fieldworks, Tomoko Takahashi, Hayley Newman, Pan Sonic, Iain Hinchliffe, Chris Marker, Franko B, Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey, Shane Cullen, Monica Ross, Rod Dickinson and Tom McCarthy, Bob and Roberta Smith, and many, many more. This incredible roll call of artists is testament to the curatorial vision and leadership of Beaconsfield founders David Crawforth and Naomi Siderfin.
But last night’s event also marked a turning point in Beaconsfield’s history, since after two decades as a fixed-term client of Arts Council England Beaconsfield is now going it alone. The party also marked the launch of a new #SupportBeaconsfield campaign, with a ‘Friends, Best Friends and Patrons’ scheme, and a new edition of four specially commissioned prints by artist Thomas Yeomans that were launched and available to buy on the night.
Along with David Ball (Soft Cell) & Dave Chambers, Shiva Feshareki & Jack Jelfs, Russell Haswell, Lucky PDF, Boo Saville and Simon Tyszko I was part of the entertainment, and gave a couple of readings. Marianne Magnin of The Cornelius Foundation kindly sent through some wonderful photos, including this one of my second set of the night, in Beaconsfield’s courtyard, where I read from 1999 police satire CHARLIEUNCLENORFOLKTANGO.
Here is more about the campaign:
#SupportBeaconsfield is a fundraising campaign raising awareness of Beaconsfield’s groundbreaking role on the London art scene and the chance for lovers of contemporary art to sign up to #SupportBeaconsfield as a Friend, Best Friend or Patron at a discounted rate (available for a limited time only).