Exhibition: Colin Booth: Institute of Play, Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, until October 2 2011
© Image: Peter Greenhalf
Part architecture in itself, part design play for children, it’s no surprise to find the V&A Museum of Childhood behind the commission for the giant Institute of Play sculpture.
Formed of 3,000 individual blocks of tulip wood, it’s the work of Colin Booth, a Gateshead-born artist who has partly responded to watching his own kids at play, and is accompanied by two of his other sculptures, Colony and Streamline.
In a nod to history, the German forefather of building blocks Friedrich Froebel (who was also the creator of kindergartens, and arguably various principles of modern education in the process) also has a presence here.
Jackie Britton, a passionate blogger who spends hours cataloguing all things bricky in her job at the V&A, has loaned two of his pioneering early 19th century pieces, as well as a collection of “Architoys” from her oracular website of the same name.
The idea is to inspire visitors to have a go at constructing equally impressive imagined structures with wooden blocks in the Laing’s interpretation spaces. Google SketchUp, a 3D modelling programme, also promises the chance to build “modernist masterpieces” on computers.
- Open 10am-5pm (2pm-5pm Sunday). Admission free. Read Jackie Britton's blog.