Galleries - May 2011

arkable. Needless to say, the cele- bratory show of3 landscape-ori- ented artists, two painters, one printmaker, Henrietta Corbett, Francis Tinsley and Danielle Cree- naune, is well up to the usual high standards – thoughtful, engaged and eloquent. ARTISTS UNITED The health and sheer tenacity of English exhibiting societies never ceases to amaze and here is another example, the United Soc- iety of Artists which is cele- brating its 90th birthday this month at the Menier Gallery. Founded in 1921 to give out-of town artists an opportunity to exhibit in Central London, perhaps its greatest virtue (of many) lies in the breadth and openness of its stylistic preferences and general lack of cliquey-ness – there’s no limit on membership numbers. This gives their annual open show a welcome freshness and vitality – well worth a visit. SCHIELES For all the fame (or notoriety) of his name, Egon Schiele’s extra- ordinary work is virtually invisible in the UK’s public galleries, while his last major exhibition here was in 1989. Which makes the 19 May opening of a show of 45 of his previously unseen works at Richard Nagy such a remarkable occasion. They represent the last large tranche of museum-quality watercolours and drawings still in say competition is healthy . . . Then, also into its second year, there is the Animal Art Fair 2011 (5 to 8 May) which, sensibly, re- mains at its handsome Fulham Palace venue despite the hugely increased demand for partici- pation and over £500,000 of sales in 2010. An interesting new varia- tion on the fair concept this too, focusing on subject matter rather than locality, medium or historical context. And finally, creeping into very early June, there is what is now billed as the “UK’s largest artists’ fair” – Untitled (3 to 5 June) at Chelsea Town Hall. Run by the eponymous on-line gallery and hired art-space organisers, the 170 artists taking part this year (no galleries, no agents) may well make it just that. With direct selling and no commission fees charged, you can see why it is so attractive to artists and buyers. One way to tackle a retail downturn? TON UP One of my favourite galleries in East Anglia – North House, Man- ningtree – an atmospheric 18th C. house stylishly and super-sen- sitively modified for showing pur- poses, with fantastic estuarine views across the River Stour and, above all, consistently interesting and individualistic work on offer, is currently celebrating the 100th show of its twelve year history. Some achievement by any stand- ards; the fact that Penny Hughes- Stanton has done the whole thing single-handed is even more rem- ANTENNAE 8. GALLERIES MAY 11 PUBLIC PRESSURE The pressure of well-organised public opinion (via the internet ab- ove all) really can make govern- ments, both local and national, do policy U-turns. First the national forests, now King’s Lynn Arts Cen- tre. Readers will remember my drawing attention to King’s Lynn’s Council’s decision to turn the Cen- tre’s gallery spaces over to com- mercial use and pop the visual arts into a ‘broom-cupboard’ (sic). The outcry that resulted has had an excellent outcome however, in that a Trust has been set up which is leasing the spaces from the Council and, with the help of the Arts Council and Norfolk County Council, plus a grant of £25,000 from Improvement East, they will, it is hoped, be self-supporting. This all swung into action on 1st April – fast going – though why it had to be done this fraught way round mystifies me – claims for ‘The Big Society’ ethos and all . . . SPRING FAIRS Everywhere you look there seems to be an art fair this month. Apart from the 11th presentation of the Bristol Affordable Art Fair at Tem- ple Meads Station from 13 to 15 May (see special feature on p24), there is now, on the same week- end, the Reading Contemporary Art Fair (14/15 May). Only in its second year, it is – more than 60 stands – already even bigger than the Affordable, just an hour or so down the road, or line! Well, they