Results 1-4of 4 Reviews
Northampton, United Kingdom
August 12, 2012
From journal Newcastle and Gateshead 2012
Jarrow, Tyne & Wear, United Kingdom
January 8, 2006
The thing I like best about the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art is the building itself. The industrial shell of the old Joseph Rank flour mill stands right by the edge of the river, a yellow-and-brown brick cube with turreted corners and new glass and aluminium sides, the concrete grain silos that once honeycombed the interior replaced by four pine-floored galleries, a gift shop, café bar, and two restaurants.
I particularly love the use of space inside the building, opened out by the addition of large internal windows between each floor. The bright, airy galleries are stacked one on top of the other, linked by glass lifts in the centre and a metal staircase down the side. On the upper floors, a glass viewing box and external terrace have sweeping views over Gateshead Quays and across the famous bridges to Newcastle. Both are so popular that the Baltic often feels more like an observation point than an arts centre.
And what about the art? The Baltic has no permanent collection, preferring “an ever changing calendar of exhibitions and activities” that last for 3 months or so and tend to be a bit hit-and-miss. With the notable exceptions of Antony Gormley’s Domain Field and Sirkka-Liisa Konttinen’s haunting Coal Coast photographs of the region’s dead mining industry, I can’t think of many exhibitions that have made proper use of the building’s potential. There also seems to have been a definite shift towards the mainstream since the arrival of the centre’s third director: no more of the sometimes excellent audio exhibitions and a major touring show currently occupying all of the gallery space. In the long run this may be a good thing, but it still feels like a small defeat.
But if the art is sometimes patchy, then the visitor facilities at Baltic are consistently excellent. There are guided tours twice a day, educational events, rooftop and riverside restaurants, and full disabled access to all the floors. And while the shop and restaurant prices are not for those on a budget, admission to the Baltic remains free.
From journal South of the River, West of the Sea
Newcastle upon Tyne, England, United Kingdom
May 28, 2003
The Centre doesn't have its own permanent collection but features occasional traveling exhibits and regular commissioned works by local and international artists.
Baltic isn't a gallery, it's a space for displaying art. For the building alone it's worth a visit. Because there's not a permanent collection, you could be disappointed if what's on when you go is not your thing, so either check beforehand or take a chance and admire the architecture in it's own right.
If all the culture makes you peckish, there are two informal eating areas and a formal restaurant on the top floor, all run by well-known local chefs the McCoys.
From journal Gateshead - No Longer the Poor Relation?