Originally The Burlington Fine Arts Club was a London gentlemen’s club, established in 1866. The club had its roots in the informal Fine Arts Club, a gathering of amateur art enthusiasts that aimed to combine their specfic interest with the atmosphere of a typical gentlemen’s club. The club also doubled up as a regular exhibition venue, its location having been selected for its proximity to Mayfair art dealers.
The original club sought to “facilitate intercourse between men of art predilections, especially those who were collectors with a view of giving to them convenient opportunities of comparing their acquisitions and of criticising and obtaining information in connection with Art subjects.”
In 2011 the Burlington Fine Arts Club will be resurrected for a limited 4-week period, existing as pop up social space running parallel with the events of the Manchester International Festival. Following the original premise, the Burlington will give local creative’s a space to exhibit, establish networks, discuss ideas and an opportunity to engage in Manchester’s grass routes contemporary art scene.
Like all good gentlemen clubs The Burlington 2011 will also provide a space to relax, meet and have a stiff drink.
The physicality of the space itself will represent this tradition of informal networking. It is formed by a maze like structure comprised of adjustable sections. Each section will be curated by a selected artist, DIY collective or independent gallery.
Aside from a space to socialize the sections can also be used as events space, hired by artists and freelancers for meetings or one of the specially designed tables can be booked during the day to use as a temporary studio space. To represent the expanding cities network each space has the ability to link together merging multiple sections to create a larger area providing the opportunity to either join parties or merge events.
The Burlington is a way for independents in Manchester to be represented in a way that is not cool or contrived. When the sun goes down on MIF and the out of towners turn in The Burlington comes to life as a space with unlimited possibilities. With an out of hours programme of events that will be evolved directly from artists and not institutions, The Burlington will be the place where deals are done and bonds are formed. Art is made, discussed and exchanged.
The Burlington will run a programme of exhibitions, residencies, music events, screenings, talks and podcasts to accompany this reinvention of a classic tradition.
The Burlington 2011 is a project devised and directed by Liz Murphy and Anna Stogdon.