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DLWP - Art

posted by John Parsons on 02 Aug 2009 at 3:22 pm

Am I a lone voice here in suggesting that the De La Warr Pavillion is a huge white elephant?
Have you seen their latest piece of nonsense? A so called art exhibition by German "artist", Joseph Beuys? Supposedly, I quote, "Widely recognised as one of the most influential and extraordinary artists of the twentieth century."
Really? By whom?
Have you seen his exhibits? An old wooden chair with pieces of torn padding stuck to it; some old pieces of scrap metal; and the piece de resistance, a large platform with a broom and a squeegee mop leaning against the wall. And many more in similar style.

A large amount of public money was recently spent restoring this building. Surely much better use could be made of it. This is not the only art exhibition of this kind
that has been presented. The upstairs cafe is well used and very pleasant. There is a magnificent theatre, but seems to be rarely used. Why not present more shows or plays of popular appeal?

I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent, and to have an average appreciation of art and culture, but this stuff is way over my head. There seems to be a determined attempt in inflict this way-out stuff on Bexhill residents and visitors to our fair town.
Am I alone in speculating what kind of artist Mr Beuys is?
Con-artist comes readily to mind.

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I Agree

posted by Jan on 04 Aug 2009 at 7:40 pm

John, I agree ,we visited the so called exhibition and we all thought they were taking the mickey , what a load of rubbish.The theatre shows are to high brow. They should have shows for familys to enjoy.You are spot on !


posted by Matt on 06 Aug 2009 at 10:25 am


I have just stumbled on your posts totally by accident.

I used to work at the DLWP when it first reopened after its millions of pounds of refurb....thats another point anyway!

When I worked at the De La Warr I was their lighting technician for the more theatre area...sorry 'Auditorium'. I never got the art side of the venue, it has so much potential as a live venue for live music, films, musicals, plays...the list goes on, but the bottom line is, it doesnt give the right look, its not arty enough!

The problem we (Bexhill) have with the DLWP is that they are treating the venue like its in Brighton or London but it just isnt right for Bexhill, I think a bit of art is good but it also has to have something that the local people want to see.

Touching on your point on the art currently on display, I must say I havent yet seen it but i strongly agree as most of the art is like it but according DLWP its what people want to see, which it is but it is such a specific/small target audience.

After working at DLWP for nearly three years I could go on about the venue....its great but it is not being run well at all! But the bottom line is they are not worried as its all funded by the Arts council (which says alot really), if it was a 'proper' business they would have been bankrupt within 6months of opening!



Who Are "they" ?

posted by John Parsons on 07 Aug 2009 at 4:07 pm

Interesting post Matt. You refer to "they" who run the DLWP but who are they? Are they elected officials, or paid employees? If so, who pays them?
Is it the local taxpayers or the Arts Council? Either way it is public money.
Also, are they dictated to by the Arts Council as to the usage of the building, or are they free to choose the shows and exhibitions they prefer?
Whatever the system, they appear to be out of touch with the wishes of the local people.
Does anyone know who runs the place?
Why not have a survey to find what the public would like and what they think of the current usage.


posted by Jude on 07 Aug 2009 at 9:32 pm

Some time ago, I was chosen to participate in a survey commissioned by Rother District Council regarding my views on the new DLWP. My views strongly reflected what has already been said on here and it would appear that many others felt the same. However, despite this, the Council chose to decide that only those with strong views had bothered to complete the survey and as such, it wasn't really indicative of the true feelings of the town. The council's report by Cllr Michael Ensor can be found here:


This report was completed nearly two years ago and nothing really has changed at the DLWP. Clearly the survey was another waste of council taxpayers' money in order that, yet again, the views of town residents could be completely and utterly ignored.

No change there then.


posted by John Parsons on 09 Aug 2009 at 11:53 pm

Thank you Jude, for the survey results. Most interesting.
It certainly bears out our views. People generally have a high regard for the Pavillion but are dissatisfied with its contents.
70% dissatisfied with the atmosphere.
82% would like more plays, and only 22% more art.
Councillor Ensor states that the survey only represents those with a strong view, and does not fully represent the views of a cross section of Bexhill residents.
He should be aware that he was only elected to office by voters with a strong view, most residents don't bother to vote in local elections.

DLWP - Art

posted by matt on 11 Aug 2009 at 11:46 am


Thanks for your latest post refering to a number of points I raised.

DLWP is run by a management team and they are paid employees for DLWP.

As the venue is funded by Arts Council England they have to comply with certain elements of which I am not 100%, but its along the lines of x number of exhibitions etc etc.

I do also believe that Rother DC input a reasonable amount of funding on a yearly basis however from what I recall it was only to a certain year, of which it might be 2010...dont hold me to that though.

Somewhere along the line local taxpayers money is pumped into the venue...

Your comment on who runs the location? If I understand your question correctly, as mentioned above it is run by a managment team and director etc.

As much as I dont disagree with art, there is alot more to art that meats the eye, art includes live theatre, music, cinema etc but unfortuanalty it apparently doesnt give the right image for the pavilion....dont as me what the correct image is as I have no idea.

After speaking with a large number of local people it always comes back to the same thing, opening hours, price of food/drink, to art based, theatre is wasted etc etc. As I said I dont mind art and alot of people feel the same BUT you have to have the best of both worlds.

Unfortuanatly the local council are not all that interested as when they owned it, the cost to run etc was to much so therefore they are very happy that someone else is looking after it.

The venue has so much potential....perhaps a partition with local people? Not sure what affect it would have but...

I hope that awnsers all your questions.

Kind Regards,



posted by Jude on 19 Aug 2009 at 4:31 pm

I came across this on Trip Advisor:


I have replied to it but it's interesting to note what people outside the town think, isn't it.


posted by Cary on 20 Aug 2009 at 11:41 am

Thanks for pointing out the posting on Trip Advisor, which is very telling.

Trip Advisor is an incredibly well used internet tool for tourists, travellers etc, so one can only hope that our tourist board start taking note of opinions and views.


A Stone And A Hard Place

posted by MJW on 25 Aug 2009 at 12:36 pm

Whilst I believe that the powers-that-be at the DLWP are those who failed to make the grade in the London art world and have settled on being big fish in the provincial Bexhill pond, equally it seems to me (being an art history graduate and so perhaps qualified to comment)that many of the good citizens of our town would not know Art if it stood up and bit them on the nose. I suspect many of them would pay good money for tickets to a show of ignorance, on the basis that they like what they know. As a wise person once observed, it is better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.


posted by Jude on 25 Aug 2009 at 9:21 pm

How insulting.

Art is a very subjective thing. You either like the row of bricks, the unmade bed or the subtly lit white cube and call it ?Art?. Or you don?t. I am not an art history graduate ? most of the residents of Bexhill are not art history graduates. This does not make us foolish, ignorant or unqualified to comment.

The residents of this town do play a part in financing the de la Warr Pavilion therefore giving them every right to comment. It would appear that most would like to see more events which appeal to the majority rather than the minority. Of course, again, it is subjective as to whether these are ?shows of ignorance?.

You give the impression that you feel your opinion, like the ?powers-that-be at the de la Warr Pavilion?, is more relevant than those of the majority because we are discussing Art with a capital A. Hence we, the majority, offer our opinion and it is totally disregarded.


posted by MJW on 26 Aug 2009 at 10:28 am

Art is NOT subjective. That's a myth. Our preferences, on the other hand, are subjective, but whether we like something or not doesn't make it (or not make it) art, any more than not liking custard means it isn't food.

Liking a particular type of car does not make me a mechanic: from a mechanic's point of view, it may be a terrible car, or an excellent car, but my point is that I have no means of judging it, other than by my own preference which is entirely biased, uneducated, uninformed and based on principles other than those by which a mechanic would judge a car.

I'm not particularly keen on some of the exhibitions that have been put on at the DLWP but at least go along with an open mind. It seems to me that far too many people in Bexhill just want the same old familiar, safe comfort-zone stuff which is "nice" and "pretty". Perhaps the team at DLWP is trying to put it somewhere to the forefront of art and not 200 years behind.

Now what is really "insulting" is the idea that Bexhill should be consigned as a cultural and intellectual backwater where its major facility is viewed as nothing more than a sub-standard subsidized tea-room, which is what the "opinion of the majority" seems to be. Foolish, ignorant and unqualified to comment, perhaps? Maybe that is good enough for Bexhill, because third-rate, twee and unambitious is how the "majority" like it. A new slogan for the town: Bexhill - let it die in peace.


posted by Jude on 26 Aug 2009 at 2:45 pm

I don?t think anyone in Bexhill wants to see the de la Warr consigned to a sub-standard tea room. It would appear that most people want to see it used to its full capacity with a variety of events and exhibitions that will appeal not only to residents but also to prospective visitors. There is room for both.

Unfortunately, what is being shown is 90% art appealing to the minority and we don?t appear to be seeing the visitors flooding in to the town to view it. I have visited various (mainly deserted) art exhibitions at the Pavilion with an open mind and while most haven?t been my cup of tea, I don?t deny it?s art and it will appeal to some. But there?s no balance at the DLWP. There are few events that appeal to the majority, however ?third-rate, twee or unambitious?.

If the town wants to regenerate itself, surely it should be making the most of its biggest asset and not concentrating purely on the minority events which aren?t even advertised in the local paper. Whilst some may find plays, comedians, musicians or local events etc foolish and ignorant, many more do find them enjoyable perhaps because they ARE familiar and comfortable but their views are being ignored.

If the majority of Bexhill felt that we should ?let it die in peace?, there wouldn?t be such great concern about the DLWP.


posted by MJW on 26 Aug 2009 at 4:54 pm

There doesn't seem to be any disagreement that the auditorium should be put to more and better use for plays, music etc., but that does not affect the use of the exhibition space.

Surely quality is the key here? Nobody wants to listen to badly-played music, no matter how popular the tune, and pandering to the lowest common denominator of taste is not going to do DLWP any favours. Personally I can't stand modern Jazz, but I'd rather the DLWP hosted that than an out-of-tune quartet scraping away at the Four Seasons. My fear is that some of the good folk of Bexhill would, actually, rather listen to Vivaldi being grated into submission, just as an amateur daub of a tree would be preferred to some of Cubism's finest examples on the grounds that they can easily recognise the tree.

But Bexhill needs to be more than a one-trick pony to attract visitors (and the right sort of visitors at that). With no tourist office, not much in the way of accommodation and no discernible advertising, we can't really expect the DLWP to shoulder the entire burden of responsibility for Bexhill's much-proclaimed "regeneration".

DLWP Evening Entertainment

posted by Tony on 14 Apr 2010 at 5:33 pm

Please reinstate BUBBLING OVER in the theatre commencing at 8pm with the four separate programmes changing on Tuesdays and Fridays so that people spending their fortnight's annual summer holiday in the town can enjoy all the performances as you did in 1947 1948 and 1949

Living In The Past

posted by MJW on 21 Apr 2010 at 11:23 am

Er, sorry Tony, but time marches on. If you can find a single person spending their fortnight's holiday in Bexhill this year I'll eat my ration book.

All Art Is Useless...?

posted by Simon Kempthorne on 02 May 2010 at 1:11 am

Simply I think the problem regarding the De La Warr Pavilion is that it's a speck of modernity trying to stand out amongst the rest of the old-fashioned establishments of Bexhill.

I mean no disrespect to Bexhill's older population, but I get the impression that many of the population of Bexhill are quite traditionalist in their ways. As such, the ?art? that is often on exhibit in DLWP has a target audience that is sparse.

It's a double-edged sword, really: without it Bexhill remains stuck in time and with it Bexhill looks like it's trying too quickly to turn itself into something that many are not sure about.

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