A contemporary artist is marking the end of an exhibition at Scarborough Art Gallery by giving away limited edition bottles of curdled milk.
Annabel McCourt’s Suffering Arcadia, which can be seen at the gallery until Sunday September 1, comprises three installations, two of which were specially commissioned by Scarborough Museums Trust.
One of commissioned works, Happy Hour in the Harmful Factory, is a hand-written neon artwork alongside a fridge full of small bottles of milk.
When the exhibition ends, 50 art lovers will be able to take home a limited edition part of the installation – one of the bottles of milk, signed and numbered by the artist.
Annabel McCourt says: “This is ‘living art’, and as the name suggests, certainly not a consumable beverage or a takeaway for those with a sensitive constitution – anyone wanting one will be asked to sign a disclaimer saying they won’t attempt to drink the contents!
“The milk bottles have been ‘maturing’ since the exhibition opened in May and have developed a macabre fascination and fan base in their own right. One contributor to SMT’s Facebook page described them as ‘creepy and cool at the same time’.
“I knew that the seemingly innocuous milk would be controversial, that is its purpose, to spark debate. Incidentally it offers a feminist response to the futile optimism of milk as a cure-all, and draws on multiple cultural inspirations in the process.”
Simon Hedges, head of curation, collections and exhibitions at Scarborough Museums Trust, explains: “There are 200 child-sized bottles of milk in the exhibition which arrived pristine and pure when it started in May. But as time has gone on, it’s developed into a more fulfilled version of Annabel’s thoughts – the work has matured like a good cheese - although we certainly wouldn’t encourage people to drink the contents.
“This is in a long tradition of artists giving away organic matter in sealed containers, from Piero Manzoni to Damien Hirst, and Tim Noble and Sue Webster.”
The bottles of milk will be allocated to the first 50 people to go into Scarborough Art Gallery and leave their contact details at reception before September 1.
The other two installations in the exhibition are MAGA Grabber, a direct response to the policies of Donald Trump, and Electric Fence, inspired by a the highly publicised sermon of a North Carolina pastor advocating a ‘solution’ to same-sex marriage.
Annabel McCourt has a diverse portfolio with work ranging from lens-based gritty social-realism, through to installation art, moving image and architectural interventions, inspired by fact, folklore and legend.
Suffering Arcadia is at Scarborough Art Gallery until Sunday September 1.
The gallery is open Tuesdays to Sundays (plus Bank Holiday Mondays) from 10am to 5pm. Entry is free with an Annual Pass, which costs £3 and gives the bearer unlimited access to both Scarborough Art Gallery and the Rotunda Museum for a year.