16 July 2012

Art problem: No bike racks at Boro's mima

We were in Middlesbrough yesterday, and I was intrigued by these unused wobbly bike racks (picture) on the ‘naked street’ that runs between the train station and the Middlesbrough College / Riverside Stadium area.

Whether they’ve been rearranged by careless student motorists, or exuberant Boro fans driving home after a rare home win, we don’t know.

But we do think they look a bit like a modern-art installation.

You know the sort of thing; one that needs an explanatory panel detailing the artist’s CV, and saying how the work asks fundamental questions about the nature of art and existence.

So it’s appropriate that a few hundred yards away is mima (picture), Middlesbrough’s splendid modern-art museum.

(As ever with modern art, its contents are 90 per cent nonsense and 10 per cent genius. Trouble is, you don’t know which is the ten per cent. Even after you’ve been.)

Sadly, in contrast to the above street, the eminently visitable mima has precisely no bike parking at all.

Yet it’s directly on a National Bike Route (NCN65, the climax of the White Rose Route) and in the middle of a vast and spacious square, with enough room to park every bike I've ever had stolen. That's lots.

Unless this total absence of places to park a bike is some sort of nihilistic modern artwork in itself?

One that asks fundamental questions, such as why on earth didn’t they put those unused bike racks here instead?

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