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The Crack Magazine

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It’s going to be Baltic this summer

There’s loads of good stuff going on at Baltic over the summer months – and beyond – including the ever-popular Art Car Boot Fair in July (pictured) and some extraordinary exhibitions.

Art Car Boot Fair & Summer Sizzler

Who doesn’t love a car boot fair? Me, actually. All that muck and tat; all that “does this run on batteries?” But I always – ALWAYS – make a point of attending Baltic’s Art Car Boot Fair as it’s on a whole different level of “Ooh!” If you’ve ever attended one then I expect you’ll be back for more again this summer, but if you haven’t then you should know that it all takes place in Baltic’s car park and brings together over 50 artists and makers from across the north and beyond. On offer is everything from homeware to jewellery, ceramics to prints (with nary a knackered old radio in sight). What’s more, the fair is part of Baltic’s Summer Sizzler, which is a weekend packed with activities such as games, Swap & Shares, art workshops, artist talks, and tours. There will be a weekend-long BBQ, and an ice-cream stall, and, of course, four floors worth of art to contemplate.

Art Car Boot Fair, Sunday 14 July, 11am-5pm, free. The Baltic Summer Sizzler Weekend runs from Saturday 13-Sunday 14 July.

Baltic Open Submission 2024

I’ve already seen this show and it has a real air of “Roll-up! Roll-up! Something for everyone!” about it. Presented in association with Fenwick, it showcases 107 artworks comprising of painting, sculpture, photography, video and more, and all done by artists, makers, self-taught creatives and hobbyists based in the north-east. They were selected from 1400+ submissions and range from the sublime to the bonkers. And I love how the work is presented alongside more established artists such as Crack fave Phyllis Christopher (Tyneside based photographer), Holly Hendry (London-based sculptor and installation artist), and Jim Moir (aka Vic Reeves – you’ll know this fella, right? His submission is a newly completed unseen work). Every time I pop in I always settle on a “new favourite piece”. What will yours be?

Exhibition runs until 1 September 2024.

Joanne Coates: Middle of Somewhere

Joanne Coates is a working class visual artist who isn’t afraid to get mud on her boots and feel the wind against her face. Her work – through the power of photography, installations, film and audio – explores rurality, hidden histories, and inequalities relating to low income. ‘Middle of Somewhere’ is a multidimensional collaborative exploration of rural places, people, and the challenges they face. A new body of work, it asks questions about the struggles, stereotypes and future of these communities, with particular focus on young women grappling with uncertain futures.

Exhibition runs until 16 March 2025

Franki Raffles: Photography, Activism, Campaign Works

This one is a biggie, a real coup for Baltic, as it represents the first ever major retrospective exhibition of the work of Franki Raffles (1955-1994) a feminist social documentary photographer. The exhibition in particular will explore her astonishing creative output over the last ten years of her life when she was most active. It brings together around three hundred photographs alongside archive material contextualising her work. It explores how she focused attention on women’s lives and work while also exploring inequality, gender violence, disability, activism and sisterhood. In her words she wanted to use photography as “a tool for change”. The selection of works will reveal connections between her work at home in Scotland with concerns relating to overseas territories in the Soviet Union, China, Zimbabwe, the Caribbean and Israel.

Exhibition runs until 17 November 2024.

Hannah Perry: Manual Labour

British artist Hannah Perry is known for her psychologically charged installations that investigate the intersection of industry, class and gender. Her materials, from sheet metal to car lacquer, body wrap and hydraulics, are associated with manual occupations in manufacturing and industry, and tell stories about shifting cultural and social values, shaped by the economic forces of capitalism and their effects on mental and emotional health. ‘Manual Labour’ is a major new commission that considers motherhood, labour and class. A large-scale installation, developed for Baltic’s level 4 gallery, it comprises film, sculpture, printmaking and sound. Mediated through the artist’s own experience, it looks at the process and transformation of matrescence (i.e. the process of becoming a mother) along with its creative and destructive power.

Exhibition runs until 19 January 2025.

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead. Baltic is open Wednesday-Sunday, 10am-6pm.

More information on all the above from: 

baltic.art

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