FWD: Audacious experiments in

Lile Elam ((no email))
Tue, 19 May 1998 15:38:54 -0700 (PDT)


Hi folks,

Someone forwarded this story to me today and I thought you
might enjoy it.



> Students make an exhibition of themselves
> By Nigel Reynolds, Arts Correspondent
> THIRTEEN art students given a grant and sponsorship of 1,600 to put on
> an exhibition spent the money on a week's holiday on the Costa del Sol
> and returned home claiming that the trip was conceptual art.
> Two sponsors, including the Leeds University students' union, which
> gave a grant of 1,126, said yesterday that they had been misled by the
> students. They claimed that the stunt gave art a bad name and demanded
> their money back.
> But the 13 students, the entire third year on Leeds University's Fine
> Art course, said their holiday - when they swam, sunbathed and visited
> nightclubs - was designed "to challenge people's perception of art"
> and to make people discuss whether there was any limit to what could be
> described as art.
> One of the students, Matt Dunning, 22, said: "It was essential for us
> to go to the Costa del Sol because that courted controversy." A fellow
> participant, Emma Robertson, said: "This is leisure as art. It is art
> and it was an exhibition. People have very set ideas about what art is
> and we are interested in the media reaction because we want people to
> discuss what art is."
> About 60 lecturers, local artists and fellow students invited to the
> first-night party for the exhibition - enigmatically titled Going Places -
> were surprised when they entered a gallery empty except for a large bowl
> of sangria, the sound of flamenco music and a drama student dressed as
> an air hostess with a megaphone.
> As they stood around, uncertain what would happen next, they were ushered
> on to a double-decker bus, driven to Leeds-Bradford airport and left in
> a bar overlooking the arrivals area. A short time later, they saw the
> entire troupe of laughing, sun-tanned, third-year students - who had used
> the money to buy 185 flight-and-accommodation packages - march through
> Customs armed with souvenirs from the Costa del Sol. The two groups met,
> the stunt was explained and they all adjourned to the bar again, running
> up a bill of 180. They spent a couple of hours discussing the meaning
> of art before they were bussed back to Leeds city centre.
> The students' union, which said it had been led to believe that the art
> students were mounting a more traditional exhibition and that the grant
> of 1,126 was for framing, materials and hiring a gallery, suffered a
> serious humour failure yesterday. Ruth Wilkin, the union's communications
> officer, said: "We have asked for the money back. When we gave the money
> there was no mention of any holidays. We have very limited resources
> and we are trying to raise 20,000 for a minibus with access for the
> disabled. It is fairly outrageous and pretty upsetting to see some of
> our students taking money for a holiday when it should have been spent
> on a much worthier cause."
> Myles Dutton, who runs the Dixon Bate art shop in Leeds, was one of
> several commercial sponsors who gave more than 400 for what they thought
> was a conventional exhibition. He said: "I gave 50. It's not a lot but
> I feel I have been duped and I want my money back."
> A university spokesman declined to condemn the students and said: "It
> should be noted that on little more than 1,000 they managed to spend a
> week in Spain, hire a space for the exhibition, hire the double-decker
> bus and keep a tab behind the bar at the airport. They got a lot out of
> it."