The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art is a new art gallery based in a disused 1950’s grain warehouse on the banks of the river Tyne, North-East England. The project is the centre of a multi-million pound rejuvenation of the area and the building itself forms a centrepiece. At a cost of £45.7 million, mostly National Lottery funding, the warehouse has been transformed into an “Art Factory”. It comprises 3000 square metres of gallery space, assorted studios for the resident artists, a library a cinema and three restaurants. It opened in July 2002 and is described by its Director Sune Nordgren as “a temple of art for the new millennium”. The building itself has four levels with the work of a different artist on each level. Several artists are resident at the Baltic, working in the studios, however the main exhibitions are temporary and provided by visiting artists. The opening summer saw a vast variety of topics; Chris Burden: An American artist known for building bridges form meccano constructed a 1:20 scale replica of the Tyne bridge. The great thing about this exhibit is that both model and bridge can be seen simultaneously from the gallery on the fourth floor. Jaume Plensa: The third floor exhibition involves nine pairs of gongs and mallets suspended from the high gallery ceilings. Visistors are invited to strike the gongs and think about the “fundamental oppositions” of life. Titles include; “Night and Day”, “War and Peace” and “Silence and Heart”. (Not too sure about that last one, I can’t see it myself.) Julian Opie: This artist’s interests lie in the urban landscape and especially car journeys. Strangely his work at the Baltic involves “Escaped animals”, silhouetted animal shapes which symbolically signpost the gallery. Carsen Holler: This Belgian artist uses light sculpture to provide “relief from the burden of straightforwardness.” His work at the Baltic includes “Baltic Phi Wall”, an arrangement of 186 cold cathode tubes which flash at random. Jean and Louise Wilson: On the final floor a 35mm film entitled “Dreamtime” is shown, the film examines the artists ideas for power manifested through architecture. (Again, not too sure how that works.) The opening celebrations of the museum involved yet more modern art, this time involving “The Moving Bakery”. This exhibition by Anne Bjerge Hansen involved the artist baking bread. The bread apparently, is a metaphor for questions of the production and value of life and art. Oh and visitors get a goody bag of Baltic bread to take home too. All quotes from artists taken from The Baltic website, . thanks guys :)

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