In February I made my first trip to Hull, aka, City of Culture 2017.
It was a fabulously beautiful, albeit windy day and I got a great impression. The friend I went with had read that on arrival visitors are greeted by volunteers kitted out in a City of Culture uniform and we were not disappointed. At a booth in the main rail station one of a number of volunteers provided us with a map and leaflets and off we went…
It wasn’t long before we came to ‘Blade’ – I am going to do a sole blog post for the photos! ‘Blade’ is a fantastic piece of public art. It is 75 metres long and according to the Hull City of Culture website “it is the world’s largest, handmade fibreglass component – cast as a single element”. Wow. The other people there were really enjoying it. Lots of photos being taken, people lining up underneath it according to their height…only there until 18 March. The artist is Nayan Kulkarni.
Another highlight was ‘Hullywood Icons’ – photographs by Quentin Budworth of working class people in Hull recreating classic film scenes. It was hung very simply on temporary boards in a shopping centre and some were hung in a photography gallery nearby. Like ‘Blade’ it was attracting a lot of visitors and is a great example of engaging lots of people in an artistic project.
‘COUM Transmissions’ was the most thought provoking thing we attended. Also ending soon (22 March) it introduced me to some of the more controversial, surreal, funny, silly and offensive history of this art collective who were active in Hull, London and further afield in the 60s and 70s. Beginning with video interviews with some of the key participants it led onto an age restricted room with a vast archive collection of posters, letters, photographs and articles related to their work. It led to a good pub discussion about what the internet and social media has done for the potential of such collectives and potential future archives.
We ended the day with a browse around Ferens Art Gallery. It is a great building but the visit was a quick one. It felt like there was a lot packed in…some of it worked and some of it less so. But I will definitely be back, I am especially keen to see the Turner Prize there from September 2017.
As an aside I would also recommend Dope Burgers for a good burger with top top sweet potato fries on the side.
So…would I recommend Hull City of Culture? Absolutely. I was always planning to go but now I am an hour away I will make it a key part of my cultural life in 2017.