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Little Legacy #3 Art appreciation

It’s the last day of 1994, I am 17.  

I am sitting on a white floor laughing.  A sea of faces look back at me.  Some are smiling, some quizzical, some sad, shocked, disinterested, some star gazing, some thoughtful, some scared.  I feel alone, together, afraid, fearless, excited, nervous.  I could take on the world.  I feel like something is going to happen.  

I’m not drunk.  There are no illegal substances involved.  

No.  For the first time in my life I am awestruck by the power of art. I am looking at Antony Gormley’s Field for the British Isles in Tate Liverpool.

Field for the British Isles
by Matt Gorecki
One of my parent’s larger little legacies is a cultural one, taking me to art galleries and talking to me about art.

I will also never forget my parents taking me to an exhibition dedicated to minimalism at Tate Liverpool.  I complained a lot at Mark Rothko’s big blocks of colour,  ‘But I could paint that Dad’ and about Carl Andre’s controversial Equivalent VIII‘But it’s just a pile of bricks Mum.’  But whatever I made of art then, it set my mind wandering. 

By the age of 17 I had long fallen out of love with school art lessons.  I can trace this back, to the collage I laboriously made for homework in third year.  My art teacher didn’t seem to get it, she much preferred the technically brilliant, but boring, sketch of a tree by my classmate.  I’m not claiming I was ever brilliant at art, I just wasn’t inspired by endless pencil sketches, cross hatching, dotting and still, stagnant life.  I wanted glue, paint, clay and collages.  So I dropped art in favour of drama.

In sixth form, after seeing the Field for the British Isles exhibition, I suggested to my friend, who had stuck with Art, and was looking for a topic for her A level coursework, that she did Antony Gormley.  The art teacher told her Gormley wasn’t famous enough.  A few weeks later of course, Gormley won the Turner Prize.  

I am frustrated I didn’t pursue art beyond just appreciating it, especially when I look at art in schools nowadays and it is a very different picture.  Still, I appreciate looking at it.This little legacy continues, last weekend My Dad and I took Miss L to Nottingham Contemporary.  Here’s how we got on.


little legacy A small thing handed down by a predecessor

Little legacy is a remembrance project , a positive and creative space, to celebrate small things handed down by predecessors.  I am going to post one every Thursday. If you want to join me at any point, either as a project or a one off, there’s more information here and a space to link up below. 



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