Petra Ried From A to B Feb 2013


Crate presents Petra Ried's From A to B Exhibition
Saturday 16th February 2013
6pm - 8pm

La Plate-forme Exchange - Sept 2012


14 - 30 SEPTEMBER 2012
Open Fri - Sun 12-6pm
Crate Studio and Project Space presents Mehdi A and Anna Katharina Scheidegger's exhibition which culminates their joint residency in the project spaces at CRATE as part of a residency exchange programme with La Plate-Forme in Dunkerque, northern France.

Mehdi and Anna both worked in the project spaces for 4 weeks developing new ideas specifically for CRATE and Margate.


This is a residency and exhibition exchange project between CRATE and La Plate-Forme (Dunkerque). Simultaneously, Kent-based Hannah Lees and Neil McNally produced new work at La Plate-Forme with exhibition opening Wed 12 Sept and running until 29 September. This project is kindly funded by Arts Council England, Kent County Council and La Plate-Forme.

Betts Robinson poster


Open: 6 - 12 September, 2013
Opening hours: Fri - Sun, 12 - 6pm​
Part of The Small, Unusual & Specialist Museums Survey

Betts Robinson (born in Romania, lives in Mexico) weaves obscure personal narratives with a Fluxus playfulness. Her practice, which normally takes the form of prints and
posters, has for the Davis Museum taken the form of a series of instructions and directions that were sent via email to CRATE.

Robinson's instructions all relate to the particulars of CRATE that were noticed and noted by Robinson during a visit to the space and to Margate in November 2012. For example, the proximity to Kentucky Fried Chicken and the ubiquitous smell of Colonel Sander's favourite led Robinson to the idea of making the smell of CRATE more homely, more Sunday lunch than late night shame-snack.
Robinson's instruction “make CRATE smell like a roast dinner”. With no direct indication of how to do this, many experiments have been carried out over the last few weeks using perfumed oil diffusers, Bisto, burning Sage stuffing over candles, constructing makeshift candles of our own using chicken skin and long consultations with the butchers of Margate. The resulting work, has, in the end, had to be realised through the most obvious answer. CRATE is still not sure this will work but, using the gallery's micro-oven, we will try to roast a chicken during the days of the exhibition.

Robinson often appeals to the physical senses with her work, her most recent body of work was a series of images with complex scratch & sniff elements. For Robinson's preview at CRATE she sent the instruction “Limoncello. Hard Boiled Sweets” which references how hard some products are to find in Margate town centre and how easy others. To assault our ears, the videos on the Davis Museum ipad reference her parents obsession with the Irish singer Enya and their constant infliction of the music on their children during long car journeys “Enya videos, but only unofficial ones set to landscapes, tourism video's or dolphins”. Other instructions sent were numerous and often, not possible to complete.

Robinson's response to the Davis Mini Museum environment and to CRATE's ongoing Small, Unusual and Specialist Museums Survey project (which you can see growing in the corridors of CRATE) has been to use the slot at the top of the ballot box (the core of the Davis Museum exhibition space) which is sometimes used to invite the audience to vote on the exhibitions – good or bad, yes or no. Here, Robinson sent a specially printed Cactus toilet-paper to CRATE alongside the direction “Put the paper into the Museum, now find the Magical Crystal Garden”. Accompanying this was an address in London which, when CRATE followed Robinson's instructions, turned out to lead them to Pollocks Toy Museum near Warren Street and in the gift shop, on sale for £7.50, the 'Magical Crystal Garden'. The garden, Alpine chemical wonderland, takes up to two days to fully grow, emerging over Robinson's exhibition. 

Bill Burns poster


Open: Friday 23 August - Thursday 1 September, 2013
Opening hours: Friday - Sunday, 12 - 6pm or by appointment 
Part of 

Text by Bill Burns:
Hou Hanru Hear Us and Beatrix Ruf Protect Us deploy a strategy of playing possum, known in animal behaviour as thanatosis. Thanatosis is a form of self-mimicry whereby the animal mimic imitates itself in a dead state.

Here I am asking for deliverance and intercession. The expressions "priez pour nous", "protect us", "delivrez-nous", "hear us" come from a prayer form known as a litany. Litanies are call and response prayers. The names on these signs and the other signs in this series such as Hou Hanru Hear Us or Hans Ulrich Obrist Priez Pour Nous are those of internationally recognized critics, curators and directors. I don't consider my stories, drawings or art world celebrity signs to be so much laments about lack of fairness or injustice as they are cyphers of a bigger picture -- of the world we long for.

My intent is to question what constitutes art and how it functions. My project casts a critical eye on the catalogue of art history as well as past and present hagiography. Beatrix Ruf Protect Us asks us to take a critical look at the our situations and our institutions. It asks a question that cannot be answered: "What do we long for?". This brief is mostly about the idea of the project. The exhibition includes a series of watercolours, a large chalk board, a large sign on a trestle, a pile of carved logs, a machine for testing art world celebrity work gloves, a series of scale model museums with signs on top of them and some sheep shearing and milking. A related book with stories and essays by Bill Burns, Jennifer Allen, Dan Adler and Dannys Montes de Oca Moreda will be published by YYZ Books, Toronto. It is a project about longing.

Sacha Waldren interviews Bill Burns:

Sacha Waldron: Bill, why do you think its important that Hou Hanru Hears Us?
Bill Burns: Well I’m not so sure if I want Hou Hanru to hear us so much as to say that I want him to hear us.  
Part of it for me is a voice, the artist as unreliable narrator if you will. The project uses names from published
lists such as Art News’ Power 100. So here Hou stands in for fame, market fetishisation and power. Its not personal - I happen to like him – but it could be someone I don’t know or don’t like. Also its about a kind of celebrity – a very specialised celebrity - most people don’t know who Hou Hanru or Massimiliano Gioni are but they are powerful people whether they like it or not.  
SW: This work is part of a series, can you say a little bit about the other works/models?
BB: Yes I’m working on a series. The phrases on the signs come from a prayer known as a litany. They often take the form of entreaties. The scale model in this show, Hou Hanru Hears Us, is a model of the Gallery of Modern Art  (GOMA) in Brisbane Australia, I’m working on one for the Poumpidou Centre (Iwona Blazwich Priez Pour Nous) and one of Guggenheim New York (Adam Weinberg Protect Us). There’s also the SF MoMA, and Guggenheim Bilbao in production. The models are detailed and flimsy at 1:500 scale.
SW: You combine the models of the institutions with the, almost institutions in themselves, names of these curatorial or directorial power houses...are the litanies, prayers or entreaties also to these major institutions? I also wonder what you are entreating them to do? I suppose what I’m trying to get at is what questions are the most important, do you think, to be asking of these people/institutions?
BB:  Its a mug’s game isn’t it. Yes these are entreaties. On one hand I’m asking these institutions to help me rise in the ranks; this is how artists make a living. On the other I’m commenting on the lack of space to question the relationships of power and how it turns; its not so much against the rules to ask, many artists and curators do, but making the apparatus visible is nearly impossible. These people, and these institutions are subject to power as much as I am.
SW: Can you talk about scale a little bit in relation to this work and your work in general?
BB: Scale in this project has a number of entries for me. First there is the scale of systems such as the artist’s relationship to curators, collectors and other power brokers. And then there is the scale of celebrity and self-aggrandisement. These can be funny or tragic. I work in scale models for a number of other reasons. The ability to see everything from above, the panoptics appeal to me and the delicacy of using the wrong materials at the right time.
SW: For the installation at the Davis Lisboa Museum at CRATE, Hou Hanru Hear Us sits on a specially cut rock, can you say a little about this?
BB: I wanted to play with scale a little bit with the model building and the big rock.  Also certain tropes such as Saint Peter who built the Church or Muhammad who went the Mountain come to mind.
SW: The idea of religion and the fact that art institutions, galleries, museums often seem to be the 'churches' of this religion called art seems to be a key factor. How do you think smaller galleries and art spaces fit in relation to these ideas?
BB: That’s an interesting question. I like small spaces as they can make my work bigger – and of course this appeals to the ego of the unreliable narrator/artist in me. But your question goes deeper I think. It does seem that art museums and whatnot bear more than a passing resemblance to the institutions of the Abrahamic religions. I think it’s worth reflecting on.
SW: You would, I suppose, assume that the art world would more than any other industry would have a more plural outlook in terms of hierarchy, power structures and who we 'worship'. But then art world/art industry it means the same and it is a business so of course it operates on those terms.
BB: It is curious in some ways but then again advance industrialism owes a lot to Abrahamic discourse and of course the art world is an important part of that too. But to quote John Baldessari: “the most important thing about a work of art is usually the most obvious”. And the connection between art and money and power is hard to ignore. For me the job is to try to make these relations visible but also to have fun doing it.
SW: You donated Hou Hanru Hear Us to the Davis Lisboa mini museum, how did your involvement with the Davis Museum begin?
BB: I met Davis at the Arnolfini, in Bristol, a couple of years ago. We were both part of an exhibition called the Museum Show curated by Nav Haq. Davis’ project stuck with me.
SW: Whats next, what are you working on now?
BB: I’ve just finished editing a new book – its a memoir about my life in the art world. Its called Hans Ulrich Obrist Hear Us. Its a story of ups and downs and my quest to be part of international art biennials and the like. It will be published by YYZ Books in Toronto this fall.
SW: Thanks Bill!

Small, Unusual & Specialist Museums Survey

23 August  - 11 October, 2013

A collaboration between CRATE and the Davis Lisboa Mini Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona. The Small, Unusual and Specialist Museums Survey engages with small, unusual and specialist museums across Europe, with CRATE/Davis Museum hosting miniature solo exhibitions over Aug/Sep/Oct:


CRATE is currently playing host to the Davis Lisboa Mini Museum of Contemporary Art, Barcelona which is running a weekly exhibition programme. The first in the series is Canadian artist Bill Burns who is exhibiting his work Hou Hanru Hear Us. You can see Hou Hanru Hear Us at CRATE until Sunday 1 September.

On our opening night (August 23rd) the mini museums director, Davis Lisboa, gave a performance conference at CRATE. A video of this will be up soon.

This week we launched our new research project, The Small, Unusual and Specialist Museums Survey, which is attempting to catalogue and connect with as many small, unusual and specialist museums in Europe as we can. CRATE is sending out a survey via email and post asking the staff of these museums what they think about their institutions, their collections, what they think might happen to their museums in the future and how they feel their museums contribute to the cultural life of their area. This project is ongoing and perhaps impossible but our research starts now and you can see the project as it unfolds on the walls of CRATE throughout August/September.

Don Celender Surveryed Part 2


Open: 21 June - 11 August 2013

Surveyed Part 2 was the second part of the first European solo exhibition of the American conceptual artist Don Celender (1931 – 2005).

Celender was a master of asking questions, his work takes the form of mass mailed out questions and surveys to specific groups of people or professions (chefs, prison guards, museum directors, daytime TV actors, for example) asking them what they think about life, work, art and often, ultimately, death. The responses were then collected together and displayed as, what Celender called, 'Conceptual Documentation'.

Although several of Celender's survey works were bound into books and circulated worldwide, the majority remain unpublished and have never been seen outside of the artists New York gallery, O.K. Harris. Surveyed Part 2 was a rare opportunity to see a selection of these unpublished projects including Critics Choice, Ignored and Neglected Artists Survey Part 2, Aesthetic Experiences, Art Dealers Selection of Artists Survey, Art Movements and Portraiture Study. The exhibition was a collaboration between CRATE. and Arnolfini, Bristol.

Read Cara Courage's review of the show for A-N

Aine Belton, Anachronism: Drawing Time


James Collins, Aine Belton, Kate Beaugie, Clare Beattie, Sam Sultana, Cassandra Beckley and Yvonne Luk
Co-curated by CRATE & UCA curatorial interns Claire Scott and Hannah Weatherhead

8th March - 11th March 2012
Opened: 8th March 5-9pm with live performances.

Curious/Dubious is an exhibition exploring ideas of temporality, tangibility, illusion and false representations. The opening night was Thursday 8th March 5-9pm - coinciding with the National Federation of Artist Studio Providers AGM which was held in Margate.

Image credit: Aine Belton, Anachronism: Drawing Time

Lisa Milroy Party of One

EXPLORATORIUM: Lisa Milroy - Party Of One

Open: 8 - 16 June, 2013
Opening hours: Saturday - Monday, & Wednesday - Sunday, 12-6pm
Painting performances: Saturday 8 June, on the hour, 1-5pm. 
Sunday 9 June: Visitors are invited to try on Milroy's paintings until 5pm 

Party of One was an experimental painting consisting of a group of painted hand-sewn dresses hung on wooden stands, clustered in front of a painted backdrop.

The dresses are perfunctorily made, painted with the same pattern as the backdrop: however the fabric of each dress is different, reading as slightly different images. Next to the grouping are the same type of dresses but with buttons on the shoulder - a dress, a painting, that can be worn. When a performer dons this dress, she is invited to step inside the painting and wander in and out of the arrangement. The composition of dresses grows animated. The performer completes her circuit and leaves the painted zone, which returns to stillness.

Party of One at CRATE was the first exhibition of Lisa Milroy’s new performance paintings and continues to explore the possibilities of ‘still life’ painting, the formation of self, identity, work, the relation between contemplation and action and the participatory nature of painting.

Introducing THE SURVEY, Curated by Sacha Waldron

CRATE's new exhibition and project space programme launched in June 2013 with , curated by Sacha Waldron.

The survey thematic is explored through four main strands:

Survey as a format for looking at the work of artists - the survey show and its relationship to the solo show, charting an artists practice; 
Survey as a form a mapping - surveying locations or tendencies.
Survey as an investigation into administrative formats, evaluation and information gathering
The Survey in terms of the conceptual mass mail-out communication processes of 1970’s conceptual artists and how we relate this to contemporary practice.

Alongside The Survey, a parallel programme entitled Exploratorium invites both emerging and established artists to use CRATE as a laboratory and space for experimentation. Exploratorium launched with Lisa Milroy's Party of One, a painting installation and exhibition that invites the public to perform Milroy's paintings. 

Sacha Waldron is the current holder of CRATE's Curatorial Bursary, supported by the Arts Council South East and a Kent County Council Grant for the Arts.

Crate presents Redthreadtrail Unravels April 2012

Private View Friday 12th April, 6.30pm – 9.00pm
Saturday 13th April, 10.00am – 5.00pm

RED THREAD TRAIL is a collaborative exchange of practices using the Greek Myth of slaying the Minotaur in the Labyrinth as a metaphor for the realisation process of this group exhibition.

Red Thread Trail is brought to you by Nadja Andersson, Rachael Murray and Jennifer Wright. This exhibition is a result of three different journeys.

‘The red thread’ is the blog&;
The blog is an important part of the process. It is the route to Crate (our Minotaur) and back.

Rachael Murray’s paintings have a focus on the natural and urban landscape. Her works displayed engage the theme of location and dislocation, showing the contrast between two different Cities.

Nadja Andersson has focused on approaching the theme of mystical inner landscapes through painting and performance.

Jennifer Wright’s practice explores the use of narrative through a variety of media. At present she is concerned with Christian dialogue and symbols relating to current debate.

The story of the Minotaur is rich and complex, and it touches on psychology, philosophy, fantasy, passion and the power struggles of the gods and the sexes.

To understand the layers, and complex set of references of this story you have to follow the life of Queen Pasiphae of Crete, and her relationship with her all-powerful husband King Minos. The Minotaur was born of Pasiphae and a handsome Prince Bull.&;The Minotaur was kept locked away in a cave only reached by navigating a complex labyrinth. It was the custom to satisfy the needs of the hungry and savage bull/man by offering him a sacrifice of seven maidens and seven young men. The king of Athens decided that instead of sending weak men and women as was done before, he would send his own son Theseus. His difficult job was to slay the Minotaur. However, once in the labyrinth it was almost impossible to find the way out again. Princess Ariadne devised a cunning plan to save her love from a certain death. This involved a simple length of thread which Theseus could unravel as he navigated the labyrinth. By following the thread after he had slain the Minotaur he could find his way back into his world.

Supported by UCA.