Hello 2015 and a sad farewell to some good friends

Benedict Drew Dyslexic Shanty

poster for Benedict Drew’s Dyslexic Shanty

Benedict Drew Performing Dyslexic Shanty in the Triangle Space at Chelsea

Benedict Drew performing Dyslexic Shanty at the Triangle Space at Chelsea

2014 ended for CHELSEA space with the popular exhibition Bob Cobbing:Bill Jubobe and a spectacular finale in the form of an especially commissioned performance by Benedict Drew on Thursday 18th December.

photographer David Redfern at the Dobells exhibition at CHELSEA space in 2013

photographer David Redfern at the Dobells exhibition at CHELSEA space in 2013. photograph: Gavin Freeborn

2014 has been another great year for CHELSEA space, sadly though we also lost some very good friends. We were very sorry to hear the news of the death of  music photographer David Redfern who, in a career spanning six decades, photographed everyone from Bill Haley and the Comets to Arcade Fire.  His photographs of musicians such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix are important and often iconic.

David Redfern's 1967 Newport Jazz Festival portraits including Thelonius  Monk and Miles Davis shown in the Dobells show at CHELSEA space

David Redfern’s 1967 Newport Jazz Festival portraits including Thelonius Monk, Gary Burton and Miles Davis shown in the Dobells show at CHELSEA space

Best known as an important photographer of Jazz,  he was a trusted friend of some notoriously difficult musicians of the Bebop and post-Bebop eras and was Frank Sinatra’s favoured photographer. CHELSEA space was honoured to include his photographs of the 1967 Newport Jazz Festival in our exhibition Dobells: Jazz Folk Blues. He gave an inspiring talk about his work at CHELSEA space and continued photographing at Jazz festivals right up until his death. He was a formidable creative force and a generous human being.

Rose Finn-Kelsey House Rules 2001

Rose Finn-Kelsey House Rules 2001 installed at CHELSEA space in 2011

Earlier in the year we heard of the sad loss of Rose Finn-Kelsey. CHELSEA space Director Donald Smith had known Rose for many years through her connection to Chelsea College of Arts as a tutor. He included her in the CHELSEA space exhibition Ideal Home in 2011 and had interviewed her for his short text on the 1972 show 7 Aus London as part of the inaugural issue of the journal, NOIT, published by Flat Time House.

Rose Finn-Kelsey with Guy Brett at the book launch for the major monograph of her work in 2013

Rose Finn-Kelsey with Guy Brett at the book launch for the major monograph of her work in 2013. Photo: Donald Smith

Most recently, in his role as Chair of Trustees of Chelsea Arts Club Trust, Donald had contributed support for the  Riding House publication on Finn-Kelsey’s work with texts by Guy Brett, Sarah Kent and the late Michael Stanley. Donald said “Rose was always full of energy and fun and was an intelligent artist. It is very moving to think that, less than a year before she died, she was able to see her achievments as an artist summed up in an excellent new book on her work. We miss her”.

Michael Shamberg (right) with artist Shaun McDowell at CHELSEA space in 2006

Michael Shamberg (right) with artist Shaun McDowell at CHELSEA space in 2006

Finally we remember Michael H Shamberg. Tate Britain’s Adrian Shaw introduced Donald Smith to Shamberg  at the time of the 2006 Tate Triennial. Michael Shamberg had been working on the Triennal as Executive Producer for Liam Gillick’s performance/installation event Construcción de Uno with actors Maxine Peake, Ian Hart and Keeley Forsyth when Adrian asked Donald to join them during rehearsals.

Michael H Shamberg directs actors Maxine Peake, Ian Hart and Keeley Forsyth in an open reading as part of Turtle: An Anarchic Salon at CHELSEA space in 2006

Michael H Shamberg directs actors Maxine Peake, Ian Hart and Keeley Forsyth in an open reading as part of Turtle: An Anarchic Salon at CHELSEA space in 2006

Michael Shamberg was a filmmaker and curator from New York. He had worked on films and documentaries with bands such as New Order and Joy Division and had worked with artists and filmmakers including Lawrence Weiner, Dan Graham, John Baldessari, Chris Marker, Kathryn Bigelow and Robert Frank amongst many others. Sadly, he had been diagnosed with a rare progressive neurological disease and urgently wanted to use his remaining time and energy to set up a project that would celebrate relationships between  an international creative community.

Lamia Ziade Turtle 2006

Lamia Ziade Turtle 2006 installed at CHELSEA space

He had the idea of an open international salon of  events and exhibitions that was partly inspired by a sanctuary for the Mediterranean sea turtle. Set up on the border of Lebanon and Israel during conflicts between the two countries, Michael Shamberg felt that this turtle sanctuary was the only positive thing to come out of the war in the Lebanon and that a salon entitled Turtle would be his own sanctuary from his illness and be a creative haven for likeminded people in a turbulent world.

Lawrence Weiner's window piece at CHELSEA space for Turtle: An Anarchic Salon 2006

Lawrence Weiner’s window piece at CHELSEA space for Turtle: An Anarchic Salon 2006

The very first manifestation of Michael Shamberg’s idea – Turtle: An Anarchic Salon – opened at CHELSEA space on 27th June 2006. Throughout the duration of the show new work would arrive and be added to the installation, there was a bar and a piano; performances, events, talks, meetings and open readings occurred regularly. Artists contributing to the Salon included Carl Andre, Yvonne Rainer, Nathan Cash, Peter Saville, Louise Lawler, David Blandy, Kirsten Weiner and Lawrence Weiner amongst many many others. Contributing writers included  Etel Adnan and Ali Smith and musicians who performed during Turtle included Gavin Bryars, Gina Birch and Ana Da Silva, Bushra El-Turk, Simon Fisher-Turner and Sarah Sarhandi. A full list of the incredible events, performances and artworks can be found on the Turtle pages of our website.

WE ARE SHIPS AT SEA NOT DUCKS ON A POND, Street poster  published by Air Gallery & Artangel Trust, London, 1986 © Lawrence Weiner.

WE ARE SHIPS AT SEA NOT DUCKS ON A POND, Street poster
published by Air Gallery & Artangel Trust, London, 1986
© Lawrence Weiner.

The energy of the late Michael Shamberg knew no bounds and his ambitions were enormous. Turtle has had a huge impact on a great many people; many new friendships were made and artists such as Lawrence Weiner and Kirsten Weiner have worked with CHELSEA space again since first being introduced by Michael.

Since CHELSEA space opened in 2005 we have been privileged to work with some incredible people and, as we enter our 10th year, we would like to extend our gratitude to everyone who has taken part in our exhibitions and events and thank everyone who has visited us. We hope to see many of you on 27th January for the private view of In Peril on the Sea: Sailing Ships, Stormy Seas curated by Clive Phillpot.

Happy New Year!