Cat no. 11331

Public Outcry At The Spending Of A Reported 4000 Pounds By The Tate Gallery On A Pile Of Firebricks - Several People Are Trying Their Hand At Building Sculptures Of House Bricks

Running time6:13 Colour Sound 1976 Stevenage, Hertfordshire

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Anglia TV news report; following the news that The Tate Gallery has spent £4000 on a firebrick exhibit, local builders produce their own brick artwork. Also interviews with those arguing the case for and against the acquisition by Tate.

Genre:

ArtsNewsTelevision

Following the news that the Tate Gallery have spent £4000 on a firebrick exhibit causing public outcry, Chris Young visits a builders yard where workmen are creating their own works of art using bricks. Their creations include a tall stack, a template for a well, and a ‘noughts and crosses’ game. Reporter Chris Young asks the labourers how their efforts might suit an art gallery. Is it worth thousands of pounds? The men joke with the reporter. Chris Young interviews British Labour MP Gwilym Roberts. Roberts gives his opinion about the purchase of the firebrick exhibit by the Tate Gallery. He says it is a misuse of spending public money and he claims art works of this type debases artistic values in general. The MP is concerned that such artworks require the minimum of skill, and compares to “the emperor’s new clothes” story. Chris Young interviews Mr Welsh. He responds to the allegation by MP Mr Roberts that building labourers can create as good a work of art as can Carl Andre’s “Equivalent VIII” also known as “The Bricks”. Mr Welsh argues the artist is aware of what he does and suggests the labourers aren’t aware, and there lies the difference. He further argues that Carl Andre is a highly articulate and intelligent sculptor and is good at what he does. How do you distinguish between a charlatan and a true artist? The Tate Gallery buyers are intelligent enough and perceptive enough to know the difference. The final sequence is of speeded up footage of the builder labourers creating art work from firebricks.

Background Information:

Carl Andre’s “Equivalent VIII” often referred to as “The Bricks”, was constructed in 1966. It is a minimalist sculpture of 120 firebricks in a rectangular arrangement. The artwork, which was acquired by the Tate, drew much criticism from the press and public when it was first exhibited in 1976 at the Tate Gallery (from 2000 known as Tate Britain). The exhibit is now housed at Tate Modern.

Featured People:

Gwilym Roberts (b. 7 August 1928), British Labour Party politician

Anglia Television

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