i had that brian eno in the back of my cab
As art galleries go, this one's got wheels. No really it has. The Cab Gallery sprang from the head of art dealer Paul Stolper and settled in Jason Brown's taxi after the art-collecting cabbie bought a Peter Liversidge painting from him two years ago. And the rest as they say, is Art. Through Stolper's contacts and Brown's love of art, new and established artists were soon queuing up to create pieces for the Gallery, a strictly non-commercial project (timeout.com is the only sponsor, getting a small sticker on the back of the black cab for its trouble).
The art begins with passenger doors adorned by the portrait Sunny by US artist Alex Katz. The cab's doors list featured artists, including Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Susie Hamilton, Claudia Reyes, Peter Liversidge - and sound pieces from Brian Eno and Ape. "The important thing is that it takes the artists out of what they're usually working in, or working on," says Brown. A literal case in point being the book of sketches knocked up one morning by painter Susie Hamilton, on a journey between Soho and Swiss Cottage. Darker pieces on board include a recital by Abigail Cohen of the Travis Bickle "All the animals come out at night" monologue from the film Taxi Driver, and Simon Wood's Dead Londoners: a list of exactly that, ranging from Samuel Pepys to Stephen Lawrence. But through it all, the Cab Gallery is a working taxi and, depending on the passenger, that's often all it is. "One American tourist saw my portrait on the tip-up seat and asked if it was a wanted poster," says Brown. "I said yes, and he was to ring me if he ever found the guy." Also, the pieces have to be run by accidental art critics at the Hackney Carriage Office whose single act of censorship to date has been to refuse permission for Jemima Stehli's photographs of crossed female legs destined for the tip-up seats.
Like all the really good stuff, Cab Gallery will die before it gets old; on its second birthday in September. Until then there's an interactive piece by Layla Curtis appearing on the gallery's website, www.cabgallery.com, which also archives the sound pieces. A CD and catalogue will follow.