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Reading International launches 'The Critic as Artist' this week

Reading International art event

Reading International is launching ‘The Critic as Artist’ – an exhibition about the Irish writer and dramatist Oscar Wilde – with a day of reading, performances and events on 7 October.

Wilde is famously linked with the town, having been imprisoned at Reading Gaol between 1895 and 1897 for ‘acts of gross indecency’. Yet his previous connections with Reading, predating his imprisonment, tell a more nuanced story.

Co-curated by contemporary art critic Michael Bracewell and curator Andrew Hunt, ‘The Critic as Artist’ is named after Wilde’s celebrated Aestheticism essay of 1891, in which he outlined the importance of beauty and the many-layered relationships between life, morality and art. The exhibition aims to combine substantial homage with renewed interpretation of Wildean aesthetic theory.

The exhibition at Reading Museum will feature works from or selected by artists including Miles Aldridge, Donna Huddleston, Linder, Katrina Palmer, Malcolm McLaren and Marc Camille Chaimowicz, whose installation occupies the whole of the Museum’s Victorian Art Gallery.

There will also be two public workshops to create floral installations in honour of Wilde, including one by young LGBT+ individuals and allies.

There will be an In Conversation event led by VC Sir David Bell and David Bracewell to explore the exhibition and the legacy of art and pop culture in Reading and a panel of leading experts on Wilde and aesthetics led, Dr Katherine Harloe on 26th October.

The full schedule of events for 7 October is:

  • reading in Reading – David Conroy, Ghislaine Leung, Cally Spooner and Jesper Thomsen (1.00 pm, Reading Library)
  • The Critic as Artist – Exhibition launch, including readings and performances by Travis Jeppeson, Bertie Marshall and Cally Spooner (2.00-4.00 pm, Reading Museum)
  • How a Black Void Replaces the White Cube by Abel Auer (4.00-6.00 pm, Rising Sun Arts Centre)
  • Ante Phylloxera – Performance by Rochelle Goldberg, Veit Laurent Kurz, Stefan Tcherepnin and friends (6.00-8.00pm, South Street Arts Centre)

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