The Public

I hadn't been to The Public  for a while and then suddenly I went twice in one week. If you have not been lucky enough to go The Public is an interactive gallery in West Bromwich. Entry is free so no excuses not to pop in and have a look.

Initially the big pink building seemed out of place when it arrived in West Bromwich but now there is a redevelopment going on I think it would have been a bit more appreciated. Lets face it West Bromwich needs more creative places to inspire the community.  Sadly since starting this post I have heard that The Public will be closing down and taken over by Sandwell college. despite the brilliant staff and loyal audience working hard on a petition. I know it will be sadly missed by many including me. So i will just tell you a little about the kind of things you will be missing out on.

I had heard that there was some Tracey Emin work up so I figured I would go check it out. I am still undecided how I feel about Mz Emin. I have seen some of her work before and really liked it. I love her embroidered flags but I have also seen some not so great stuff. The piece they are currently displaying is a short video. I wasn't blown away but it was pretty much what I expected from Emin and for free it is worth having a watch. What did improve for me was that on the top floor you can grab some headphones and a stool and watch an interview where she talks about her past and her work. I love hearing the history behind artists work so for me this was a highlight to the visit.

There are lots of interactive things for children to use around the gallery such as circus mirrors and video playback tools. There are a few games that you can stand on and a crazy alien type clown comes up and you have to keep him flying around the gallery by standing on the pads. Although this was fun a lot of the machines didn't wok so it almost seems as though they may have been a bit of a waste of money. I do love that just by walking past certain points of the gallery it can produce sounds or activity. I may not have children but as an adult i still get a thrill stepping on musical panels or making things fly.

For you fashionistas out there there is some work in the gallery at the moment by Vivan Sundaram. I was fascinated by these off the wall outfits made of unusual materials. I wont be rushing off to wear them but on an artistic level they are made by a talented artist. I almost expected Bjork to roll out of one of them  The outfits are on display as well as a chance to watch the cat walk show on a small screen. Each outfit was amde from rubbish items as this is an artist from India who is very politically and socially aware. In India so many people lives in slums and garbage can be reused and recycled in the world. I really look forward to learning more about this guys great work.

There was also a big folk archive. This was a lot of fun to look around lots of colours and people enjoying themselves. Big banners and costumes the only thing that could have improved this was playing some sounds or music to make it almost feel as though you were there in the moment. As part of this display they had a creepy Micheal Jackson complete with bubbles.

 Although he is a bit creepy it is an example of the individualist and  creativity festivals bring out in people which I personally think is awesome. Something that made me smile was the painted eggs took me back to school when it was Easter. I am still pretty bitter about not winning with my Mr t egg when some other girl had stuck hers in one of them swirly egg machines my brother did come second with his ultimate warrior though so sticking it to the man there ;)

I really liked the banners.

The black queen is a huge queens head covered in plastic toys. Take from that what you will but for me it was just nice to look at I have to admit I wasn't wearing my glasses and just thought they were flowers so I clearly missed the message there.

Death of the joke shop?

There are lots of other cool bits to check out around the gallery and including a wall full of random pictures which I loved. I have to say I am really sad to see it go. Both times I went that week there were lots of people. You only have to look at the petition or comment books to see how much people love it there. Packed full of entertainment from plays to music to burlesque shows. I am not sure when they will closing but I am hoping they at least let the shows that are planned run so I can squeeze in as many visits as I can. My heart goes out to all the lovely staff and I hope they go on to bigger and better things. Your loss West Bromwich!


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