You wouldn’t expect to find a book doodled on and signed by world-renowned art legend Andy Warhol at a local library, but the Landon Public Library in Wortley Village is one of a kind.
The library is home to the HUGH Display Case, a series of cases featuring art and ephemera. Internationally known artist Jason Mclean curates the display, using items from his own private collection.
“This display adds another venue and outlet for people to get together and celebrate the arts in London,” says Mclean.
“I hope it becomes part of a growing trend of new venues opening up and also creating outside interest in our art community.”
The HUGH Display Case derives its name from the late Hugh McIntyre, a librarian with a large presence who worked at the Landon Library when Mclean was a boy. McIntyre also played in the Nihilist Spasm Band, a London-based noise band.
The current display features issues of 20 Cents Magazine, an important arts publication in London during the ’60s, and signed works by Canadian poet bpNichol.
“I want to show a bit of our city’s history through the display, and let people know about some important figures they might not be familiar with,” says Mclean.
The last display featured items autographed by the famous musician and artist Daniel Johnston, as well as works by local artists Peter Thompson, Marc Bell, James Kirkpatrick and Bill Young.
Mclean’s displays mix pop culture with obscure artists and high art, as well as sports figures. This helps to draw a wider, more diverse audience and it also plays with the idea of what constitutes art, or good art.
“A lot of local artists here are just as influential on me as these really well-known figures. I think of a lot of them on a similar level,” says Mclean.
On the lower level of the library, another exhibition called Artifax is taking place. Local artist Cailen Dye’s brightly coloured abstract works line the walls.
Dye encourages creativity through his art, something that wasn’t always encouraged in him as a child. His artistic process uses a go-with-the-flow approach.
“I start by drawing something and then reacting to that. It’s like building a house of cards, where you place pieces upon pieces,” says Dye.
Using a library community space to show art has its advantages, says Dye.
“More people come through here. Some of them would never go into an art gallery, and some might not even know they like art,” he says.
Mclean says bringing art into public spaces is a way to make art more accessible for everyone to enjoy-including children.
The current HUGH Display Case exhibition will continue through April and Artifax will remain up until Saturday.