John Hyatt's Rock Art

Exhibition Review: John Hyatt: Rock Art at HOME review

  • NQ's James Power reviews John Hyatt's new exhibition at HOME: Rock Art
  • The exhibition, running between 4 February and 29 March, revolves around Hyatt’s image of his own character

When you think of curating an art exhibition, you associate a well-dressed, Andy Warhol style spectacles wearing artsy type, meticulously arranging and rearranging works for hours until deciding on something that few truly understand. That couldn’t be further from John Hyatt’s Rock Art exhibition, though. The artwork and sculptures which are displaying now at HOME look thrown together haphazardly. That’s not to say it’s a negative thing however – the show is after all based on the punk movement.

John Hyatt, who’s running the show between 4 February and 29 March, is one-third of infamous, cult post-punk outfit The Three Johns and a so-called punk professor.

Commenting on the man behing the art, Sarah Parks, HOME's artistic director and curator of the exhibition, Sarah Parks said: “Is he a professor? An artist? A musician? Could he be deemed a scientist? Or perhaps, at the very least, a magician, a maker and a motivator?”

It appears the Rock Art exhibition has as much of an identity crisis as the man himself. Within the gallery there is art, sculptures, video, a comic book collection, music, a nightclub and even a chance to have a taste of Hyatt’s very own tea blend. Although this sounds like a lot to fit into one room and you might be expecting an orgy of art, once you look past the striking and impressive metallic Trojan horse sculpture (The Great Deception), the pieces in the gallery are extremely sparse and seem very few and far between.

Rock Art very much revolves around John Hyatt’s image of his own character. Within the exhibition there’s a chance to have an advanced listen to his new album, his very own comic book collection (which is an extraordinary sight) and the merchandise available buy is all his own. Perhaps it’s a little self-indulgent, but one redeeming factors is Club Big – a club night which runs every Friday as part of the exhibition. The night presents an opportunity to display some up and coming bands from the Manchester area, on top of more renowned performers. Hyatt is taking the platform he’s created and opening it to future artists – it’s commendable to say the least.

The entrance to Club Big is tucked away in a corner of the gallery and you might well miss it, if not for the giant neon sign hanging above the doorway. Once inside the club area, it’s reflective of the anarchy in the rest of gallery – just perhaps a little darker. There’s works from students from The University of Salford, Liverpool John Moores and Manchester Metropolitan University, which all respond to the subject of alter-egos, there’s a stage, instruments, lights and tables all thrown together. It’s truly a great place to enjoy live music and even better it’s free.

Tomorrow night will be the last chance to enjoy the Club Big space when Suhailk, Nancy Elizabeth and Elizabeth Preston perform from 18:00-21:00. It will be well worth your time heading down for a one-off night of eclectic punk and post-punk – especially if you’re a Three Johns fan.