Black Dogs Archive 2005 – 2015

Leeds College of Art Library

26th January – 27th March 2015

Black Dogs artistic and critical interests are broad and varied, underpinned by an interest in art’s potential as a social practice. We approach art as a space in which to experiment with new ways of understanding the world – and of being and acting together – that have social, economic and political resonances. We aim to unpick and problematise values such as self-advancement, competition, professionalism and the separation of art from life that we understand as being ingrained in capitalism and, by extension, the institutional art world.
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Black Dogs Archive Installation View 3

It has been a joy to install this new exhibition at Leeds College of Art Library: the first comprehensive survey of publications from the Black Dogs collective of artists. The exhibition celebrates the tenth anniversary of their earliest publication, the very first Black Dogs Almanac, which was launched at OK Comics, Leeds, in 2005. Here it is shown as part of the complete set of Almanacs, including a very rare black vinyl edition of the Black Dogs Audio Almanac, “an exhibition on a turntable”, with a tracklist that includes artists Rory Macbeth, Bristow and Lloyd, Luke Drozd, Michael Burkitt and Stuart Bannister.

Black Dogs Archive Installation View 2

Contraband, a collection of confiscations in the workplace, is gathered as a dossier of images and stories; the MK2 Survival Kit offers a series of “How to” cards for an imaginary Milton Keynes space colony and you can add your own contribution to the original Survival Kit.

You are also invited to build a new Massive Tiny Art Shanty in the library.

Black Dogs Archive Installation View

There is documentation of the Tower Works Interventions, a response to the regeneration of the area around the “Giotto Tower” and the Italianate Tower Works chimneys in Holbeck. During the summer of 2009 Black Dogs led a series of tours around the back streets, waste grounds and canal towpath of South Leeds. They shared stories and visions for the area and created a map which transposed Leeds and Florence using the Giotto Tower as a common point for the two cities. The bells of Giotto’s Campanile for Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence were brought to South Leeds via recordings played at the culmination of the tours in the Midnight Bell Pub on Water Lane.

Alongside the full series of Quarterlies, including Losing It/the Enemy, Grim Up North… and Dead End Town, these publications, pamphlets, posters and manifestos are on display at the Vernon Street Library, Leeds College of Art, where they will form part of the permanent special collection.

With many thanks to Mick Welbourn for all his help in the development of this exhibition.

Private View: Wednesday 4th March 5 – 7pm. All welcome

For further details and opening times please ring: 0113 2028094

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