Arts

Grassroots band of locals organise a squat to protect Gerry’s Pompeii

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A band of local grassroots supporters trying to protect Gerry's Pompeii © Andy Holden

The fight to save Gerrys Pompeii, the extraordinary artistic environment created in and around a west London flat by the late Gerry Dalton continues. Now matters have escalated this week with local residents occupying the property in order to preserve what the Serpentine Galleries' director Hans Urich Obrist has described as “an extraordinary gesamtkunstwerk—a total work of art”.

Triggering this recent action was the refusal of the housing association Notting Hill Genesis (NHG) to postpone their decision to repossess the flat and empty it of its contents. This is all despite a letter signed by over 40 prominent cultural figures including the directors of the V&A and the National Portrait Gallery, along with the artist Jeremy Deller and the musicians Jarvis Cocker and Paloma Faith, imploring a three month extension of the deadline to 31 January.

In a statement issued on 7 November, a spokesperson for NHG declared, “Gerrys death was very sad, but his memory lives on in the inspiring and extraordinary artwork he has left for his family and friends… Gerrys former home is in an area of huge housing demand and we must enable others to enjoy the safety and security of social housing… we now need to find the best way to ensure that we can offer the home to a new tenant and that Gerrys collection is looked after somewhere else.”

According to campaigners a number of solutions have been proposed that would safeguard this most site-specific of art installations without compromising NHGs social housing obligations. But these proposals, along with representations from many of the UKs major public art and heritage institutions including the National Trust, have fallen on deaf ears.

“The campaign group is disappointed that NHG has not come to the table to discuss the various solutions that would mean there is no shortfall in social housing provision while Gerrys legacy is given the dignified consideration it deserves,” says the campaign's representative Sacha Galitzine. She adds: “NHG has also failed to give any assurances as to how it plans to deal with what it characterises as Gerrys “collection”, when it is now clear that it is a site-speciRead More – Source

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