Last week’s sequence ended with Peter Liversidge whose work in recent years has sometimes tended towards the political - often collaboratively so. Works such as ‘Notes on Protesting’ enacted with schoolchildren in London and Stockholm, or the sign and placard painting workshops that he has run across the country, exist somewhere between performance art and community activism. His approach with these projects is usually rooted in the small scale, the local, the personal - the things which perhaps we can do something about - rather than in the politics of a wider stage.
This provides us with the link to today’s work by the master of the slightly wonky text painting – the artist known as Bob & Roberta Smith. For more than twenty years Bob has engaged in collaborative projects to open people’s eyes to the absurdities and injustices of everyday life. His painted statements are often humorous, sometimes satirical and occasionally sincere - mixing moments of Utopian optimism with something more doubtful, but they always come back to an honest belief in the potential of art as an agent of change, and the vital importance of art in education.
Unlike Peter, Bob has embraced a more overtly political position, a direction of travel which culminated in his founding the Art Party and standing against former education secretary Michael Gove in the 2015 general Election under the slogan ‘All Schools Should be Art Schools’.
In 2009 he was the third artist to contribute to our public art project Billboard for Edinburgh with his campaigning ‘The Climate Needs U - Bring Back the Edinburgh Tram’, a prophesy which finally came true five years later.