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Wednesday, 16 July 2008

A new mall?

The constant bane of the Bangkok art world has always been that there's no sizable modern art gallery in the city, and now they've got one the collective moan must surely switch to the tasteless appearance of a venue many thought they'd never see – that is until the true function of the place becomes apparent.

Massive in terms of size and location (five stories plus on the corner of Phayathai Road and Rama 1) the Bangkok Art and Contemporary Culture Centre, as it is named, has borrowed its form and features from the ugly Siam Discovery Center across the way so as to fit in with the showiness of the surrounding malls. Both boast, literally, shiny hi-tech metallic columns and a nasty faux alabaster trim. 

What's more frightening though than the building's tasteless outer appearance is the proposed plans for the place. According to one art world insider, retail spaces will be let out on each floor, which means tat like this will be rife – in spite of Governor Apirak's claim that "The centre will aim to offer a cultural alternative for urban individuals, especially the youth, who often spend their leisure time at shopping malls in this area."


Charles Frith said...

Oh Jesus. Leave it to the Chinese Thai plutocracy to whip out the bad taste card. Somebody should just level with them and tell them there strengths. Making money. Tick. Artistic sensitivity. FAIL.

Rupert James said...

Spot on, Charles.

Can't believe a place (supposedly) designed to house work of such great aesthetic value can end up looking like Pratunam's 2-star Platinum Fashion Mall.

I have noticed though a trend in various creative disciplines to ignore those disciplines closest to you. Take the production house print work in Shots magazine for example. Or the building materials photography in Art4D ads.

Pure arrogance I guess.

The same arrogance that enables writers to think they are art directors and creatives to think that they're planners!

sartor resartus said...

It's not so bad, just one big lobby. Where would you get the art to put in it anyway? These Buddha-face triptychs only go so far, you know.