People in Leeds are invited to challenge art gallery conventions and any fears of contemporary art from Wednesday 24 - Saturday 27 April
The Art Doctors are a Leeds-based artist duo, dedicated to breaking down the barriers to participation in contemporary art, and who are set to host an exhibition and launch of their Toolkit for Gallery Visits at Leeds Kirkgate Market this April.
The exhibition Who’s Afraid of Contemporary Art? will introduce the people of Leeds, as well as visitors to the city, to a toolkit of ideas and top tips for making your gallery visit more fun, and maybe just a little less scary… The Art Doctors will also be prescribing artworks and activities to enhance your gallery experience, from making art spectacles and capes to creating your own gallery playlist.
Originally started by Alison McIntyre and Liz Stirling as a commission for the British Art Show 8, the Art Doctors engage in playful, informal consultations and dress in paint splattered lab coats. They talk to individuals about their ideas, interests and experiences with a view to prescribing contemporary art. This can involve offering prompt cards, asking questions or providing a cushion or a blanket in case the art ‘patient’ becomes overwhelmed.
The project is funded by Leeds Inspired and supported by East Street Arts, Leeds Art Gallery and Leeds Beckett University. The exhibition is culmination of a year of engagement which has taken place with diverse groups in Leeds, encouraging participation with contemporary art organisations and exhibitions in the city.
Alison McIntyre, Art Doctors founder, said: “We see art as the spark for bigger conversations and are excited by the prospect of creating a exhibition that will engage visitors with some ideas around contemporary art, hopefully making those ideas a little less intimidating and a little more playful. The exhibition and our Toolkit for Gallery Visits have been produced in collaboration with the groups we’ve worked with over the past year. We hope this accessible approach will encourage visitors to our exhibition to make their own visits to contemporary art exhibitions in the city, maybe armed with a little more confidence and a sense of fun. And that they might leave feeling a little different about contemporary art, and maybe even about life.”
Hannah Vallis, programme manager at East Street Arts, said: “We feel the Art Doctors’ work is incredibly valuable. It is understandable that people can feel intimidated by art if it’s not something they’re used to engaging with. People can fear judgement if they feel they don’t understand something and the gallery setting can be a daunting one. It’s fantastic to have some friendly, approachable artists providing encouragement and a guiding hand.”
For more information about the exhibition and the Art Doctors, go to: www.artdoctors.org.uk