Press Release for Kilkenny Arts Festival 2013, Curator Josephine Kelliher

9 Aug 2013

Bob and Roberta Smith is “a sort of Ian Dury of the art world” (The Guardian) who makes witty, polemical, sloganeering artworks in a dazzling range of media. His work is a provocation, a celebration of the democratic power of art and, moreover, a delight, and everyone is invited to join in.

Kilkenny Arts Festival and Butler Gallery present Art Makes Children Powerful: the first major Irish exhibition of the work of Bob and Roberta Smith. The exhibition takes place in Butler Gallery but also makes use of some of Kilkenny City’s historic public spaces. Explore all of the Bob and Roberta Smith works dotted around the city with the help of a map designed by the artist himself. But Art Makes Children Powerful is more than a celebration of the work of one artist. Smith believes that everyone can make art, and he’s turned the city into an art school, so grab yourself a map from the Butler Gallery and get ready to make some art!  

At Butler Gallery, Smith shows a number of works that explore the importance of culture and art in society, from a letter to Michael Gove (British Minister for Education), to pieces that pay tribute to women artists. Some works, including a piece entitled Kilkenny Answers Back, have been specially devised for the space. During the festival, Smith poses a series of challenging ‘What?’ questions on vivid banners hung in the city streets (see What’s What?), and your answers will form part of this new artwork taking shape on the Butler Gallery walls, so don’t miss your chance to answer back!

Although the festival ends on the 18th August 2013 - Bob and Roberta Smiths exhibition with the Butler Gallery continues until                 06th October 2013 for more information see