Tag: Lovella

VA director fights back against art washing claims as he refuses to

Visitors look at the V&A installation titled Robin Hood Gardens: A ruin in reverse  The director of the V&A has defended the museum’s decision to exhibit part of a demolished council estate at the Venice Biennale, after critics said it was “art-washing” the destruction of social housing.Tristram Hunt hit back at the “keyboard warriors and ‘art-wash’ agitators” who have complained about the display.The V&A acquired a fragment of Robin Hood Gardens, a notorious housing estate in Poplar, east London, shortly before the bulldozers moved in last year.It is the showpiece of Robin Hood Gardens: A Ruin In Reverse, which opened in Venice yesterday and which promises visitors the opportunity to stroll along its concrete walkway.Critics of the project include Stephen Pritchard, a historian, who wrote: “The V&A’s purchase of a part of Robin Hood Gardens is the fetishisation of working-class ways of living. It’s also an act of poverty tourism.”It is an act literally of accumulation by dispossession.” Some of Pritchard’s comments were retweeted by Emma Dent Coad, the Labour MP for Chelsea. But English Heritage turned down the application, saying it failed “as a place for human beings to live”.Residents complained that the estate had been left to rot, with leaking ceilings, patchy electricity and no security.The V&A acquired the three-storey fragment last year, as the flats were being demolished. Measuring 29ft high, 18ft wide and 26ft deep, it comprises the exterior and interior of a maisonette. At the time, the V&A described Robin Hood Gardens as “a nationally important and internationally recognised work of Brutalist architecture” It was beloved by architects, who led a campaign to list it and prevent its demolition. Lord Rogers claimed he would “absolutely” live there, although he remained in his £12 million Chelsea townhouse. Hunt responded with a combative piece in The Art Newspaper.He noted that the V&A has been active in east London since the opening of its Bethnal Green museum in 1872, and “we will still be there long after the keyboard warriors and ‘art-wash’ agitators have moved on to their next bout of indignation”. Hunt said: “Leaving aside the new social housing planned for the site or the constructive role that cultural institutions can have in promoting much-needed urban regeneration, behind this critique is the increasingly popular conviction that not only can museums not be neutral sites, but that they also have a duty to be vehicles for social justice. Rather than chronicling challenging and interpreting, we should be organising demonstrations and signing petitions.”I am not so sure. I see the role of the museum not as a political force, but as a civic exchange: curating shared space for unsafe ideas.”Hunt said the V&A’s role “is to think beyond fashion and to preserve that which has significant design merit, and with which future generations will seek to engage.”Robin Hood Gardens was designed by Alison and Peter Smithson as utopian housing linked by “streets in the sky”, and opened in 1972.  Tristram Hunt hit back at the “keyboard warriors and ‘art-wash’ agitators” who have complained about the displayCredit:Clara Molden for The Telegraph 3/3 Finally, @TristramHuntVA accuses anti-gentrification activists “keyboard warriors” & “‘art-wash’ agitators”! This is a now cliched response by institutions faced with critique. This is another element of how artwashing works. It belittles valid democratic opposition… pic.twitter.com/uXbCvDi2qh— Stephen Pritchard (@etiennelefleur) 28 May 2018 Hunt dismissed accusations of “so-called ‘social cleansing’ taking place in east London”.The estate will be replaced by a £300 million development of 1,500 homes. The developers say 679 will be ‘affordable housing’. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Tristram Hunt hit back at the "keyboard warriors and 'art-wash' agitators" who have complained about the display Visitors look at the V&A installation titled Robin Hood Gardens: A ruin in reverse Credit:Simone Padovani/Awakening/Getty Images  read more