Since the opening of the Turner Contemporary there have been two main questions buzzing around the Isle blogs. Was it worth it? – and – what is art?. I think I will leave the first question for you to answer yourselves, otherwise I may be accused of damaging the tourist intake potential.
So – What is art? I have been involved in architecture all my working life and the general consensus about architecture or “art in the built environment”, is a building becomes architecture when it contains qualities which lift it above the mundane. Therefore a Barrett house “may” not qualify but the TC building definitely would.
Many people have described the TC building as a large shed and it does have some “shed-like” qualities, but equally it has some architectural qualities. The six mono-pitched roofs facing out to sea are best viewed from the air (see Thanet Life) otherwise, on the ground, only three sections can be seen at a time. The glass cladding is an interesting finish but as yet I have not seen a convincing photograph of its reflective qualities, mimicking the Turner skies, as promised. It seems to have a blank grey appearance imitating a good Margate fog. I just hope the graffiti artists do not want to make a contribution to the Turner collection.
Architecture, similarly to art, does not have to please, you can love it or hate it but I suppose the main thing is, it should stimulate a reaction. The Turner Contemporary, either the building or its contents are certainly causing positive and negative reactions, so they are therefore stimulating and both should be considered art.