Galleries - April 2012

as part of the Wenlock Poetry Fes- tival for April 2013, £10,000 no less, on a biennial basis, for a vi- sual artwork based on or inspired by a particular poem. Details from Twenty Twenty. Looking to the Future Changing people’s perceptions of an artistic institution is a notori- ously slow business, something that often requires a dramatic in- tervention to make a real differ- ence. My instinct is that the fine new development recently open- ed at the Mall Galleries (Map 29), The Threadneedle Space, should just about do the trick. Under the direction of former BM Egyptolo- gist and City man (sic), Lewis Mc- Naught, the place has been undergoing a quiet revolution for some five or so years now – much needed refurbishments to the main gallery space and the lau- nch, some 4 years ago, of the now increasingly well-regarded and enormously valuable Threadnee- dle Prize (total value £45,000) be- ing among the more obvious signs of changing times there. But now, withthis large and glam- orous new space, carved out of a formerly, distinctly untidy, conglo- meration of staircases, cloak- rooms and smallishgallery (and withdaylight coming in from newly opened up windows on to The Mall) the exhibition options for them are surely going to increase in quite dramatic fashion. And, as well as giving the member soci- eties of the Federation of Brit-ish Artists based there the opportunity to mount special displays in it, plans are already afoot to stage a number of exciting special loan exhibitions. Could this be, at last, the venue London has been miss- ing for many years in which to show just some of those excellent regional exhibitions that can rarely – space and money mostly – if ever, find a home in the centre of the capital? Site Specific Withexperienced exhibitors like the Russell, Enid Lawson and Contemporary Fine Art Gallery, Eton among its 40 odd partici- pants, the Chelsea Art Fair (19 to 22 April, Map 21), now in its 17th year, is more than holding its own against the ‘big boys’ of the Fairs’ brigade, Affordable, Art London et al. And, given its wealthy, central location in Chelsea Old Town Hall that’s not entirely surprising, but just as muchto the point may be the Fair’s eminently sensible pric- ing policy which ranges from just £50 for sketches and signed en- gravings to c.£20,000 plus for some of the bigger names – something for everyone in fact. The sense of being a 'local' fair implied by the title Chelsea Art Fair, as opposed to 'London' for example, may also help to en- ANTENNAE 10. GALLERIES APRIL 12 A Man of Talents The great George Melly had it ab- out right when he observed of the late Liverpool-based painter, poet and performance artist Adrian Henri, that “The British are very suspicious of anyone practicing more than one form of expression. ‘Jack of all trades’ they cry . . ." And the truth is that someone of Henri’s prodigious talents has never received anything like the recognition he has deserved, cer- tainly not outside the city he lived and worked in most of his life – he didn’t really ever “do” London ei- ther as a painter or poet and that may have been part of the prob- lem (if problem it was). Anyway things are slowly changing – Liv- erpool’s Walker Art Gallery gave him a big retrospective in 2000 and now the enterprising Twenty- Twenty Gallery in Much Wenlock (Map 7), where Henri in fact once painted atmospheric paintings of English hedges, is putting on a show that spans his hugely prolific career. It is a wonderfully rich and diverse range of work too, one that, above all, should certainly make us take his visual output a good deal more seriously once again. This, after all, was a man who was a John Moores prizewin- ner in the 60s and taught at the city’s excellent art school for many years. And a very nice final touch here is the inauguration of the Adrian Henri Prize for Poetry in Art