Currently running at the Ikon Gallery till 1st June is an exhibition called The Office of Useful Art which aims to explore the idea of usefulness in art. Started by Cuban artist Tania Bruguera, The Asociacion de Arte Util, or the Useful Art Association, is a new, international membership organisation that seeks to implement Useful Art and to promote ways for art to work effectively in ordinary life, rather than a rarefied spectator experience. To be considered useful the art projects must meet the following criteria:
The Office of Useful Art at Ikon is not an exhibition in the traditional sense but will work as a place where visitors can take part in workshops, classes and discussions, a place to read, listen, join in debates or simply to make things that meet the criteria. Visitors to the gallery will also be able to enrol as members of the Association and see examples of case studies from the Museum of Arte Util.
As a Visitor Assistant working at Ikon Gallery I was fortunate enough to take part today in a Lino cutting and printing workshop helping visitors to create printing blocks for the making of Useful Art products such as wallpaper, wrapping paper, tea towels and aprons.
Each day between 12.30 and 1.30 visitors can bring a packed lunch to our lunch club and enjoy free tea from the fabulous 'Souped Up Urn' designed by Jeremy Deller and Alan Kane from a previous Office of Useful Art project in collaboration with Grizedale Arts.
Lunch club using our Office of Useful Art brown paper printed table mats