Into the light

Louise T Blouin is a squillionaire Canadian publisher with an interest in the arts. Having acquired the iconoclastic art magazine Modern Painters and turned it into a fashion magazine she has now set up a foundation in her own name and its new headquarters have just opened in London.

The Louise T Blouin Institute is one of the largest non-government funded, not-for-profit cultural spaces in London to be used for exhibitions and events. Louise T Blouin MacBain’s £20 million investment has transformed the former coachworks of Barker & Co, coachbuilders for Rolls Royce, Bentley and Daimler.

Architects Borgos Dance have retained its 1920s industrial facade but rebuilt the interior

to provide a dramatic triple height 35 ft entrance hall, a 5,000 sq ft gallery space and café, offices for the Louise T Blouin Foundation and

another 4,000 sq ft gallery on the second floor.

A permanent James Turrell installation will work with the façades of the building, using all 80 of the existing external windows. Each window, lit from within, will act as an intelligent unit, controlled individually or as a whole to create an ever-changing artwork on the facade of the building.

As an adaptive reuse project it is beautiful and admirable, yet there is something disturbing about it all. Hey, Louise T Blouin McBain is probably a charming and lovely woman, even if she collects celebrity intelligensia and war criminals. And the rich and powerful have always used vacuous blockbuster art to dress up their activities, but something about this makes me feel queasy, whether it’s the oh-so-correct cliches about creativity and culture, the endless photos of the rich and powerful, the slickness, the spin……?

Never mind, we’ll just eat cake.


  1. ross mcleod
    Posted 23 Oct ’06 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I loathe everything about Modern Painters now except for Matthew Collings and this whole shebang looks to be more of the same – a cold, souless, squandered whim. Fuck the rich and all their pretentions. It is doubly offensive when it has such noble intent.

    That Sofia Coppola link was interesting. I loved Lost in Translation, but her latest really cops a blast. Anyways this is a great blog and I hope it deserves to pull in the punters and I will send you that pic of the rover seat one way or another soonishly.

  2. Ian Milliss
    Posted 23 Oct ’06 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I agree, Mathew Collings is the last remaining reason I continue to read Modern Painters but I have noticed a sort of creeping nihilism in his recent writing, despair seems to have taken over and I suspect that only golden handcuffs are keeping him there. But where else would he go, what other hole is any better?

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