Dirt Cheap Flights to Classy Paradise - New work by James Howard

10 Oct 2009 – 18 Oct 2009

Event times

Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12-5pm

Cost of entry


Crate Studio and Project Space

Margate, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Mainline trains run from London Victoria every 1/2 hour and take one hour and forty minutes. Trains also run from Ashford via Canterbury West. Bilton Sq is 10 a minute walk from the station.

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Part of the Bad Translation programme


Crate presents an exhibition of new work by James Howard.

Howard has created two videos and four gigantic banners featuring budget holidays, herbal remedies, coin-operated televisions and pawn shops.

Each piece is a promise of a better life, a consumer con or an offer that is too good to be true: Gold Rush encourages people to steal "Nanna's gold" and turn it into cash, Coin Op Plasmas demands "another few quid" because Jeremy Kyle is on telly. And Dirt Cheap Flights aims to pull crowds away from Britain's sea-side resorts.

The work takes its cues from advertisements for products and services that are so implausible or immoral that we would normally find them only on the internet - an unpoliced realm. In this exhibition, the advertisements have become real. Rendered at billboard size, they become menacing: reminders that we know little about those shady characters who fill the 'junk' in our email and want our credit card details.

Howard's work seems to have been made by one of these shady characters: of no specific race or nationality (but definitely foreign), with little interest in local or national culture, insincere, probably male, and motivated by every vice, this persona is an unknowable, generic 'other'. He does not care about the audience enough to check his English or make the images he uses beautiful or appealing 'he is confident that there are as many people out there vulnerable enough to be drawn-in by his quasi-adverts as there are savvy ironists who will find the awkward Chinglish and odd products laughable.

And this character has seemingly infiltrated the gallery. Unintimidated by the art world's refined sensibilities, he has covered every wall of Crate's project space with his vulgar propaganda; Crate is, after all, merely another venue for the potential exploitation of the masses.

But are we able to separate Howard's intentions from those of the character he seems to inhabit?


James Howard began as a self-proclaimed scammer on the internet in the late 90's ' which earned him quick cash and eventually a year in prison. Now Howard's scams found his artistic practice. He attended London's Royal Academy Schools, is included in the forthcoming Saatchi Gallery show: "The Power of Paper" and has been recently exhibited at Plastic Culture "The Legacy of Pop" with Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons and Takeshi Murakami. He is represented by Sartorial Contemporary Art, London.

Dirt Cheap Flights to Classy Paradise is one of six visual arts events taking place at Crate between October 2009 and May 2010. This programme of events, titled Bad Translation, was conceived by Matthew de Pulford through Crate's Curatorial Bursary, which offers early career curators the chance to develop their ideas over the course of a year. The Curatorial Bursary is supported by Arts Council England and Kent County Council.

The next show in the Bad Translation series will comprise new work from Juneau Projects based at Margate's Shell Grotto. It is due to take place in November.

Please see http://cratespace.co.uk/ or contact admin@cratespace.co.uk for more information.


Also in Thanet in October!

The Beard Show has a special closing event to coincide with the opening of Dirt Cheap Flights to Classy Paradise from 6pm on October 9. This 'celebration of the wonder of the beard' features work from artists made according to the following criteria: Work must be related to beards or moustache, made by a beard enthusiasts, made by a Beard, or made by someone who fashions a beard themselves.

The Beard Show is taking place at the Substation, next door to Crate in Bilton Square off Margate High Street - so Friday 9 promises to be a lot of fun. There will be free drink available at both The Beard Show and Dirt Cheap Flights to Classy Paradise, and beards must be worn to gain entry at the Private View, A selection of beautifully hand crafted beards will be available on site along with face paints.

The Beard Show is also open daily between 10-5
October 2-9
at Substation Project Space (Behind KFC)
Margate CT9 1DX

Submissions accepted until Monday 27th of September (see criteria above).

Alturnertive 2 is the second show from this group showcasing "the best of Kent's emerging artists and art students". This show will also open in the evening of the 9th. Alturnertive is looking for artists to contirbute to future shows

The show takes place at the Harbour Arm Gallery, Margate.

It opens Friday-Sunday from 11-4 between 25 September and 11 October

Tropical Robots present... WOOG RIOTS + LE CARNAVAL ÉLECTRONIQUE. Two musical two-piece acts that apparently combine the peculiar subgenres or 'riotpop', 'garagefolk', and 'twee-rave' at a charming venue for free. Surely worth a look.

Sunday 11 October 2009, 7.30-10.30pm at the Belgian Bar, Harbour Parade, Ramsgate. Free.

OPEN EAR. Featuring Keir Neuringer (New York) and DJ Sniff (Tokyo / Amsterdam)

£5 / £2 students

6.30pm-7.30pm: workshop and discussion - Open to all
8pm: performance

New York-based saxophonist and composer Keir Neuringer performs in a duo setting with DJ Sniff, director of the STEIM centre for Creative Music technology in Amsterdam. Catch them here in Broadstairs before their gig at Cafe Oto in London on Saturday.

Friday October 2nd - Hall, Broadstairs Campus



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