Friday, March 11, 2011

Postcard from the Lunar Society

It wasn't the night of the full moon when I attended a Lunar Society lecture this week. The original one in the late 18th century always met on the lightest night of the month to minimise the chances of its members being robbed on their way back from an evening of stimulating debate.

This week's talk at the brightly lit Ikon Gallery took the theme of 'Heritage and the role of art in contemporary society'. It brought together folk such as a modern art curator from the National Trust (I loved seeing a big blue Jeff Koons egg in the conservatory at Waddesdon Manor last summer; sadly they didn't allow photography) and the Guardian's cartoonist Steve Bell.  The original Lunar men met in 'an age of miracles' (the Industrial Revolution - as described by Josiah Wedgwood). Imagine what he'd have thought of the pace of today's technological advancements.

So what role does art and heritage have today? As befits a good debate, there were differing views. Art allows imagination and challenges assumptions so that change can occur. Heritage (eg having a history of such things as the Lunar Society) allows change to be put in context. Both should be valued. At least that's my take on it.

And don't worry, Birmingham is now so well illuminated by street lights and monitored by CCTV that I made my way home without incident.

1 comment:

Norm said...

And, things continue to get better don't they?

Glad you made it home to post your observations.