Art Party by Rob and Roberta Smith: Paint, baking & Michael Gove

Polly Checkland Harding

A cake and paint celebration of Art Party, a new artists’ feature film, at Manchester’s Cornerhouse.

What’s the connection between Michael Gove, fluorescent paint and a “pornicakor extraordinaire”? The answer isn’t a risqué, bakery-based revenge plot aimed at the outgoing Education Secretary (much as you might like it to be). It is, in fact, Art Party. This feature film from Tim Newton and recent exhibitioner at Castlefield Gallery, Bob and Roberta Smith – and the anarchic events surrounding its premiere at Manchester’s Cornerhouse – are a way for all involved to bite their thumbs at Gove and his arts-negative educational policies.

The film itself, which takes Bob and Roberta Smith’s boldly-painted Letter to Michael Gove several giant (and semi-absurd) steps forward, is a mix of performance, artist interviews and imagined scenes. It features the likes of Cornelia Parker, Jeremy Deller and Richard Wentworth alongside actors representing the unpopular politician and his aide. In the light of this week’s cabinet reshuffle, the film is perhaps more of a warning for Gove’s successor, Nicky Morgan. Similarly, it seems likely that the “Frankenpudding” cake creation, lined up as part of the celebrations surrounding the film, will be more an edible effigy than an altar in honour of the MP.

A risqué, bakery-based revenge plot designed for the outgoing Education Secretary

That’s right, a Frankenpudding – a man-gateau made from cupcakes and icing, designed by you, the sticky fingered public. This is just one element of Squirtapalooza, a session of baking revelry organised by the aforementioned “pornicakor extraordinare” of Home Sweet Home, Charlotte O’Toole. Decorate a doughnut or sponge, have a go at the edible firing range or submit your face for a baked-good makeover. It’s all free and gloriously bonkers.

Alternatively, if creating chaos across white walls is more your bag, then don overalls, goggles and a mask for Dirty Protest, also at Cornerhouse. Rainbow paints, charcoal, crayons and, bizarrely, mega jars of chocolate spread will all be on hand to make a really good mess with. The event is organised by Bren O’Callaghan, part of the team behind the upcoming Cockadoodle show of erotic illustration. Obviously.

Art Party – both the film and the events paired with it – is lined up for the day the GCSE results are announced. For those of you several years/decades clear of curriculum horrors, it’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate Gove going and, essentially, to have your cake and eat it. Artistically-speaking, of course.

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