Events Programme for Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness Announced

6 February 2018

We're delighted to announce the events programme for our forthcoming exhibition, Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness.

Curated by artist John Walter, Shonky is a major group exhibition that explores the nature of visual awkwardness through the work of artists and architects Arakawa and Gins; Cosima von Bonin; Niki de Saint Phalle; Benedict Drew; Justin Favela; Duggie Fields; Louise Fishman; Friedensreich Hundertwasser; Kate Lepper; Andrew Logan; Plastique Fantastique; Jacolby Satterwhite; Tim Spooner and John Walter.

Shonky is a slang term meaning corrupt or bent, shoddy or unreliable, standing here for a particular type of visual aesthetic that is hand-made, deliberately clumsy and lo-fi, against the slick production values of much contemporary art. Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness will open on Sat 10 March and run until Sun 27 May. The accompanying programme sees a host of events take place, including lots of family fun, an evening celebrating ‘shonky writing’ and the return of regular favourites such as Echo and the Curator’s Tour.

We kick things off on Fri 9 March at 18:30 with Meet the Curator, where Eoin Dara, Head of Exhibitions at DCA, will be in conversation with guest curator John Walter, introducing and discussing the exhibition. Following this, an Exhibition Preview will take place from 19:00-21:00, giving visitors a chance to see the exhibition before it opens to the public. During the preview, there will also be a performance by artists Plastique Fantastique and drinks being served from Walter’s Shonky Bar.

Then our Exhibition Tours return on Sat 10 March, taking place in the galleries daily at 11:00 and 15:00. These are 30-minute introductions to the exhibitions by one of our friendly Visitor Assistants, with the opportunity to ask questions about the works on show.

Guest curator John Walter has selected for films for his Artist's Choice Screening selection, starting the with early 80s classic Clash of the Titans on Sun 10 March at 13:00, followed by Tim Burton's quirky family favourite Pee-Wee's Big Adventure on Sat 24 March at 13:00. on Sun1 April at 20:30 there's a specially selected double-bill of classic Hammer House of Horror television broadcasts, The Silent Scream starring Peter Cushing, and The House That Bled to Death. Then there's a return to Tim Burton's aesthetic on Sat 7 April with the comedy sci-fi Mars Attacks! showing at 13:00. 

On Thu 15 March at 19:00, our Head of Exhibitions Eoin Dara will be giving a Shonky Curator's Tour of the galleries. Programmed in collaboration with Dundee Women’s Festival, the tour will highlight some of the incredible female artists exhibiting as part of the group show.

There will also be a special Shonky Art School running throughout the exhibition. Designed for ages 12 -16, participants will join DCA’s Learning Team and special guest artist tutors to spend quality time looking at and talking about art, sketching and creating in response to the exhibition. These will run on selected Sundays and Thursdays throughout the exhibition.  

Family Art Lab returns three times throughout the exhibition. On Sat 17 March, it teams up with Dundee Women's Festival: taking inspiration from the work of Niki de Saint Phalle, participants will be able to make a small sculpture to take home. On sat 14 April, you'll be able to create your own bold and lo-fi shonky font, then for the final instalment on Sat 19 May, you'll create your own shonky sculpture of your favourite meal. All Family Art Labs run from 13:00 - 15:00 and are suitable for ages 5+, but accompanying adults do need to stay and join in. 

On Tue 27 March our Senior Citizen Kane Gallery Tour and Workshop returns, giving older audiences a chance to have a special tour of the galleries and then take part in a creative activity, all with tea, coffee and biscuits on hand to fuel creativity and chat.

An Occasional Clunk: Shonky Writing with Zoë Strachan and Louise Welsh is on Thu 5 April. This special event sees the two internationally renowned writers, who have contributed texts to the exhibition’s accompanying publication, celebrate shonkiness in writing. There’ll be readings, conversations, inspiration, and laughter. The event will run from 19:00- 20:00 in our galleries.

Echo, our evening of multidisciplinary responses to the exhibitions programme, returns on Thu 10 May with guest artists Claire Biddles. Claire is an artist who is well known for her site-specific events, public interventions and unequivocally emotional writing exploring the relationship between pop culture and so-called real life, expressions of fandom and regional ideas of glamour. Alongside her contribution, there will be an open call for other voices to participate in the evening. If you'd like to share your creative response to the work on show, please submit a short proposal (no more than 300 words) to by Mon 30 April. 

For families, Art Cart Adventures will be out and about on Sat 10 and 31 March, Sat 28 April, and Sat 26 May. Fun for all ages, it offers creative ways to connect with the themes in our exhibitions and methods used by artists – inspiration will come from the colours, typography, and sculptures in the gallery. You’ll also be able to create a ‘Shonky Shellfie’!

Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness runs from Sat 10 March until Sun 27 May. DCA galleries are open 10:00 – 18:00 daily (20:00 on Thu), and are always free to attend. Throughout the exhibition, DCA's Activity Room will be open daily (unless it's being used for a workshop) where families can go to relax and take part in a range of free creative tasks. We look forward to seeing you soon! 

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