Level 3 of the Baltic is often cluttered with installations and sculpture. At the moment, however, it is an oasis of space in a crowded city. John Cage – Every Day is a Good Day is the exhibition in there until 5th September. It was hung using a computerised version of the I Ching, meaning it is based on organised randomness.
In the large, uncluttered, woodern floored space the framed art looks great from a distance but close up one might well be convinced “modern art is rubbish” to parody the Blur quote. Basically it’s beautiful if you don’t stop to look at it. At the end is a seperate room filled with colour, images, shapes and sound which well may resemble a synathesia overload. However, it does serve as a useful reminder of how the development of rave was dependent upon this wierd psyhcodelic stuff. So I would recommend this exhibition simply to breathe in the space rather than actually admire the art.
Cornelia Parker’s exhibition was still closed due to a leak and so you were instead directed to the level 4 external terrace with its glorious view over the ever changing face of Tyneside.
For art lovers I would recommend level 1’s Cage Mix, Scultpture and Sound by various artists. This develops the work of John Cage and was curated by Alessandro Vincentelli. I was struck by Christian Marclay’s Shuffle which was creating a musical score through contemporary pictures containing musical notes, and is available to play with from Amazon I see (follow the link above). This collection of cards was really beautiful in a late modern way. My favourite artists work here was Graham Gussin’s stuff. In “This is Heaven Don’t you Think?” he had produced an ink tracing of 15 seconds of sound, put into an audio image. It was reminisent of the cover of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures. In his “Threesixty” Gussin had framed a 12″ record. Whilst the description of what it was meant to represent seemed like utter arty bollocks the simple framed vinyl was beautiful.
I was disappointed the film exhibition area seems to have disappeared and in its place you find Baltic Shop 2 making the gallery even more focused on the visitor as a consumer. This area is devoted to selling pieces which can be bought with a loan through the Own Art Scheme.
Another recent innovation seems to be Baltic Bites on You Tube. I leave you with their clips of the Seripop thing they did.