Banksy, and becoming a curator by accident

Adam Hart, who runs Hackney Community Developments , is the Vortex’s landlord. He talked to me at the Barbican press bash last night about a new career turn. Thanks to Banksy, and to the work of art above, Hart has become an art curator. It happened by accident. Literally overnight. And it’s Groundhog Day, because this is the second time.
Hart is a popular figure with broad sections of the community in Hackney, and a big achiever of community projects. He had freedom of choice when he made the decision to offer David Mossman and Oliver Weindling the space to set up a jazz club four years ago. My post about the departure of Will Gresford. shows what an inspired decision that was.

But the new highly public role which he talked to me about last night- as art curator- happened to him without his being able to do much to prevent it. Hart now suddenly has the responsibility and the dilemmas of people like Sir Nicholas Serota of Tate, or Sandy Nairne of the National Portrait Gallery. These gentlemen come from curating dynasties – it does help your career in Britain. When Serota and Nairne chose curating art as their vocation, they could plan with the benefit of parental help, and then spend their years in the foothills.

No such luxury for Hart. The first time this happened Banksy did two murals which Hackney Council decided to remove without consultation in advance of the official opening of Gillett Square in Nov 06. According to The Times in Feb 07, it was the Jetwash what done it.

But then, a few weeks ago, a new Banksy (above) arrived.

The same problems as before, and a new one too: vandalism. The work gets defaced. But then restored, elves-and-the-shoemaker style.

Out of the wood? Definitely not. A Hackney Council official quoted in the Evening Standard , wishes to assert his divine right to “keep streets clean” (comments from residents as to the accuracy of the verb “keep” are welcome!) .

A good job that Hart’s role as landlord to the Vortex, one of the most successful jazz clubs in Europe , causes him more joy and fewer headaches.

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  1. The Banksy has now been removed. It was defaced by a Banksy hater, who left horrible yellow blobs all over it. There is still a planning application to create a graffiti wall.I notice that 2 Banksys (Banksies? Banksis?) have also gone from near Chalk Farm Station.

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