Art is becoming a luxury good for the elite: but if it does so, it will die. R.J. MALONE takes the view that we need more ventures like the House of Fairy Tales, aimed at redressing the balance
Art is expensive these days. And that’s a problem if you’re young, or not one of the global hyper-wealthy, or both. Cue a tide of initiatives by philanthropists, collectors, and sometimes artists themselves, aimed at getting art to a wider audience.
But what about participating, rather than just appreciating? Few do it better than the London-based House of Fairy Tales, which has the active backing of blue-chip names like Gavin Turk, one of the enfants terribles of the Britart movement, Sir Peter Blake, and Jarvis Cocker, lead singer of 1990s cult arthouse band Pulp, among many others.
Based in a part of East London that was once ‘gritty’ and is now ‘edgy’, House of Fairy Tales, run by Turk and his wife Deborah Curtis, uses the money it raises by selling fabulous artworks to fund activities from circuses to workshops.
Turk tells LUX, “Working with the House of Fairy Tales gets me collaborating with ‘young unknowns’ from an array of different backgrounds in many diverse ways; I’m able to share my experiences and at the same time learn a lot about myself. I’ve travelled all over the country from Shakespeare’s Theatre in Stratford to Newlyn Art Gallery in Cornwall via numerous festivals including Glastonbury and Edinburgh. In the future, I’m looking forward to seeing the Art Circus in Canning Town and working on influencing various public housing and social developments.”
Cornelia Parker, one of Europe’s leading sculptors and another key figure in House of Fairy Tales, tells us, “Since I have had my daughter, I realise how important it is to invest in the future of her generation’s creativity. Cultural capital, after all, is our biggest export.”
While Cocker, of ‘Let’s All Meet Up in the Year 2000’ fame, says simply, “The House Of Fairy Tales is the most magical place. I wish I had been able to go there when I was a lad.”
Perhaps the last word should go to Matthew Slotover, co-founder and director of the Frieze Art Fair, who has done more than anyone to raise the profile of contemporary art while simultaneously maintaining its credibility. Taking a break after the latest Frieze, Matthew tells us, “The House of Fairy Tales is an extraordinary project. It engages young people in the arts with a level of imagination that could only have come from artists. It is truly exceptional and I fully endorse their work.”