LEADING CULTURE DESTINATIONS:
LIAM WEST (FRSA) is a gallerist and art dealer with over 20 years of experience in the art world as the founder of Beautiful crime–the East London-based art agency and gallery collective. Over the last three years, he has been working on bringing to life west contemporary, another strand of his creative output devoted to creating a platform for a select stable of leading contemporary artists, such as chris moon, beth cullen-kerridge and robi walters. POSITIONED AS A BRIDGE BETWEEN DUBAI AND LONDON, WeST CONTEMPORARY SEEKS TO PLACE ITS artists' works in front OF DIVERSE audiences AND PLACES MUCH STOCK ON WORTHY CAUSES. OVER THE LAST FIVE YEARS, FOR INSTANCE, WEST CONTEMPORARY HAS helped TO raise over half a million pounds for the Anderson Foundation, with all funds helping to build a world-first school for autistic children. HERE, HE TELLS LEADING CULTURE DESTINATIONS WHY HE WOULD HAVE LIKED TO HAVE BEEN IN EDWARD HOPPER'S NIGHTHAWKS, AND WHY JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT REMaiNS HIS MOST ENDURING INFLUENCE.
If there was one piece of art you could feature in, which would it be and why?
It would have to be the suited guy who is sitting on his own at the bar in Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. Getting some time to myself is rare these days! Imagine to have been this man at that time, completely unaware of being painted in to what is now one of the most famous paintings in American art history.
How will museums impact future cities?
Museums drive communities together - whole networks of different demographics cross paths in museums, so they are key not just for documenting history and for programmes of exhibitions, but for sustaining and inspiring communities. I think this element of museums bringing people together is hugely influential on the cities of the future.
Who do you think are the cultural innovators of tomorrow and why?
I don't think it's an easy title to earn but there are plenty of candidates from so many different generations. I think it's about looking at them in terms of who and what they will influence. Check out nine Ted Talks by Impressive Kids–so many children with a lot of guts that are only at the beginning of their journeys as innovators. THese kids will become tomorrow's leaders.
Who inspires you and why?
The great Jean Michel Basquiat inspires me for so many reasons. To make such a strong imprint on both the graffiti / street art scene and the contemporary art scene (particularly on neo-expressionism) is such a rare achievement - I can't think of many who have made such an important and significant contribution to these two huge arenas.
What is the purpose of West Contemporary?
West Contemporary is designed to feed the art world and our artists more than just gallery shows and art sales. we are proud of being extremely creative about how we put our artists' works in front of a wide variety of audiences. we have helped raise over a quarter of a million pounds over the last 5 years for the Anderson Foundation, who has put all funds in to a school for autistic children) and we actively seek out public art and private art commissions for our artists that will inspire them.
Do you believe museums need to engage more in exploring innovation and visions of the future than simply reflecting the past?
I think it's about looking at the museums and institutes that will work as prime candidates for exploring innovation. They will need to have the physical space and resources to implement a higher percentage of exhibitions, events and programmes that focus on innovation and what the future might look like - and perhaps it's also about how they might work alongside, or in relation to a museum's permanent exhibitions.