NEWS: The Decorator and the Thief @ Northern Gallery For Contemporary Art, Sunderland | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Design and craft is sometimes wrongly maligned in the art world for being a bit old fashioned or not being “high art” enough. Since Grayson Perry made three giant tapestries about modern life based on Hogarth’s Rake’s Progress a couple of years ago, though, the crafts side of art has gained more kudos and attention. It follows that the town that inspired one of Perry’s tapestries would host a celebration of the intersections between art and crafts, as the Decorator and the Thief, which comes to the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art in Sunderland from Friday 30th January, does to great effect.

Design agency CommonRoom, whom many of the artists involved work with, was invited to accent the gallery with various styles of wallpaper, with work by Yelena Popova providing a lens for thinking about the relationship between visibility, labour and value. It’s particularly interesting to think of these issues through using wallpaper, a typically ordinary decoration that for many years was maligned before coming back into fashion in recent years. In the hands of the artists, the paper becomes a unique canvas with which to paint on.

There’s more on offer than just wallpaper porn though; the exhibition also includes essays penned about the subject of arts and crafts, sculpture and film. If you’re interested in exploring the promiscuous relationship between arts and crafts, then The Decorator and The Thief is a must-see.

The Decorator and the Thief runs between Friday 30th January and 16th May.


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