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Art Editorial

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1997. The Spice Girls were at their height and Cool Britannia PM Tony Blair was surfing a wave of optimism. The country was finally going somewhere. What went wrong asks artist Jock Mooney.

Anything seemed possible back in ’97. The UK even won Eurovision. But as the new century rolled round things began to turn sour, which culminated in the financial crash. Optimism was out and austerity was in, along with a rise in the far-right and Brexit. Jack Mooney was only 15 years old in 1997 and for this exhibition he has dipped back to those more carefree times to re-examine them through the prism of what subsequently happened. And in an attempt to reclaim some of that earlier, more positive spirit, he will be juxtaposing his youthful icons with the current political climate. Geri Halliwell will be much to the fore including a sculptural tableau partly inspired by Mexican Day of the Dead displays: floral and menacing at the same time. There will also be a video work ‘You Can’t Polish a Turd’ in which Mooney has collaborated with a Halliwell themed drag queen. She performs a song of Mooney’s that name checks everything from Tori Spelling to the Leaning Tower of Pisa to Spaghetti Westerns. The song is part of the 11-track soundtrack that Mooney has recorded to accompany the show. Pay it a visit and spice up your life.

From Spiceworld to Brexit, 14 November-14 December, Vane, First Floor, Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle. Wed-Sat, 12-5pm, free. vane.org.uk