duckrabbit would like to introduce and welcome Joni Karanka to the blog. Joni is one of the founding members of the wonderful 3rd Floor Gallery. I was lucky enough to hang with Joni at Arles. Top, top bloke.

Hi there! I was thinking to introduce myself into duckrabbit with something that is not the usual ranting I end up in. But then I went to London for the weekend.

I saw two photography exhibitions. The first, Eyewitness at the Royal Academy, was a magnificent collection of Hungarian photography from Brassai to Capa with plenty of Kertesz in between. Luckily enough a friend had got me a ticket, because they have to be booked in advance and they cost a bit. First you pay £10, then you have a £1.50 booking fee and you can choose to donate another £1. £11.50 or £12.50, which apparently includes a £2.50 leaflet. For seeing four small rooms of great photographs. The next day I went to see the Thomas Struth at The Whitechapel. This time the price of the ticket was £8.50, and this included a £1 donation. I was thinking that I would opt out of the donation but after waiting at the queue for ten minutes  for a ticket. Then I realised that I felt a bit like a twat being the only person that instead of asking for a ticket would ask for a ticket without the donation please and ended not kicking a fuzz about it.

This time the rooms were larger and the gigantic prints more spaced out. But £8.50 with a sneaky donation by an institution that receives over £1 million in Arts Council funding and who are going to go up to £1.5 million next year?  What justifies charging such a hefty amount? After all large charities and museums have a commitment to provide a public benefit and encourage everybody to get in to see some art. How much do you get off if you’re unemployed or a student? Well, you save a quid, which is not a lot if you’re on JSA (but you have a great free afternoon at the British Museum or the National Museum of Wales).

I’m still wondering if I should have gone instead to see Conan the Barbarian in Cineworld Cardiff (£6.60 or £5.30 concession), which instead of 45 minutes of culture promises 112 minutes of fun.

  • craig

    I think the Whitechapel have one paying exhibition a year and this time around it’s the Struth exhibit. The exhibition is quite big and has an interesting film to watch and so overall I’d say it’s worth it (£1 ‘donation’ aside).

    The Royal Academy on the otherhand is a monumental piss take. I went to the Summer Show a few weeks back and whilst I got in free as my friend was a member I noticed it was something like £15 entry fee for the average customer. Who but the rich tourists and the middle classes with large disposable incomes can afford that? Turner must be turning in his grave.

  • @craig: yeah, just that. It’s not that somebody on a low income wouldn’t be necessarily unable to afford it, but they’d definitively wouldn’t be rushing to see an exhibition that costs £15. I’m on roughly half the average UK wage, as are many of my friends, and if I hadn’t got a free ticket I would have not considered going. I still notice that the Royal Academy don’t have public funding, so they could rely on rich people to keep the place open. On the other hand it is a charity, and I always wonder how exclusive entry prizes and public benefit mix together.

  • Prizes -> prices, :o)

  • Joni … love the post, made me laugh out loud on the train (very good thing) THANK YOU

  • Hey Duck, btw, this evening I went to see Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Orange Wednesdays, paid just over £3 for the ticket. Now go match that, you rich well endowed gallery.

  • craig

    What they should do at the Royal Academy is have free entry on say a Friday or Saturday night. They do this at El Prado in Madrid I know and no doubt a few more places there. I have a few mates in Madrid who are low wager earners and for them it’s the way they get to see the exhibits.

    £3 for a cinema experience sounds like a bargain! Something similar can be had at the National Film Theatre (BFI) during the week when afternoon films are a fiver. You will be surrounded by quite a few people with blue rinses…

  • Peter

    Spot on. Felt exactly the same way about the queue and the donation at the Struth exhibition…

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