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  • RED GALLERY 1-3 Rivington Street London, England, EC2A 3DT United Kingdom (map)

On July 19th 2014, be at the crossroads of Charlotte Road and Rivington Street, EC2 to face ‘A Fete Worse Than Death’.  For one day, Rivington Street will be closed to mark the 20th anniversary of a landmark event kick starting an exhibition hosted by Red Gallery.

Before the hipsters, before the boutiques, before the bars, in a then derelict part of the East End, Joshua Compston’s decision to open an art gallery on Charlotte Road and stage collaborative street events re-drew the artistic and cultural map of London and the contemporary art scene.

For Joshua Compston (1970 – 1996), life was a special kind of nonsense: Factual Nonsense. Seen by some as the romantic martyr of his generation and by others, as a prankster, sending up the art establishment, Compston’s gallery ‘Factual Nonsense’ (FN) was quite unlike any other. 

The 20th anniversary exhibition of ‘A Fete Worse Than Death’ hosted by Red Gallery and Red Market, will allow artists the chance to reclaim the area for a day whilst giving the public a rare opportunity to see and buy early artworks made by the YBAs before they were famous. There will be a painting by Gary Hume painted on a local warehouse wall for Joshua in 1994 as well as original memorabilia from the Fete & Factual Nonsense gallery – sold in aid of the Joshua Compston memorial fund and assisting in raising money for a memorial to be erected in Hoxton Square. The Fete on 19th July 2014 will run from noon until midnight at Red Gallery and until 8pm on Rivington Street with live performances throughout at both the street Fete and the gallery venue. The exhibition will continue at the gallery until 31st July 2014. 

There will be a special evening reception with guest speakers at the Red Gallery on 30th July to mark the actual day of the 20th anniversary of the Fete. Both the Fete and the gallery will feature works by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Angus Fairhurst, Gary Hume, David Taborn, Sam Crabtree, Darren Coffield, Gillian Wearing, Georgie Hopton, Jessica Voorsanger, Bob and Roberta Smith, Brendan Quick, Paul Sakoilsky, Mat Collishaw, Sarah Staton, Simon Bill. Gavin Turk, Sir Peter Blake, Gordon Faulds, Sam Taylor-Wood, Max Wigram, Andrew Herman, Mick Kerr, Cedric Christie, Zebedee Helm and many many more. 

The exhibition will be curated by Darren Coffield (artist), Alice Herrick (artist and director of Herrick Gallery) and Sam Walker (artist and co-director at CHART gallery). Coffield spent four years compiling a biography ‘Factual Nonsense, The Art And Death Of Joshua Compston’ on his art school friend. 

As Coffield explains: 

"The book & exhibition came about because it seemed incredulous that this unique and brilliant individual who was one of the main driving forces in the regeneration of Hoxton and Shoreditch should be totally forgotten whilst others claim credit for his ideas."

For more information and images please contact: Sam Walker / 07977101260 /

For information on how to participate in the Fete contact: Alice Herrick / 07976767943 /