von Mark Burrows

A genre of art can be created simply because of where the genre is located, and displayed. It doesn`t matter if the quality of the art is poor, because the experience of sitting in a certain place and looking at the art is the most important part of this genre. Like brewing Guinness, this genre of art, I call Grogart, requires many different stages in it`s process in order for it to qualify. The first stage is Location.
On first appearance, the location of the display of Grogart seems to be an unlikely place for art to be displayed. Over seventy paintings and photographs of many different styles hang there, and the red dots that indicate the work has been purchased, shines like a traffic light, and like a red light, people stop and look.
Viewing: Leaving the sharp, autumn winds behind, visitors are hit by the warmth of this place. Take a moment to soak in the abundance of paintings to your right as you enter. Let`s head over to the bar now, and purchase a Guinness. The high-stools in front of the bar are occupied by interesting men dressed in grey suits, some with long, grey beards. They sit close to each other sharing their tales of the day. Greet them as we wait by the bar with a polite out-of-town smile. If you are lucky, you can pass the time by having a small chat about anything they want. As a major contrast to most bars in England, in Ireland, bar staff have the ability to serve more than one customer at any one time. They can ask the order from everyone who waits, whilst letting many Guinness` settle, at the same time as pouring more pints of Guinness, at the same time as remembering to collect their money, and making sure the next customer is dealt with. This skill should be recognised in England, as there is nothing worse than waiting in a large huddle at the bar, painfully watching the bar tender slowly following the settling process of another customer`s Guinness, as it gradually creeps up the glass, millilitre by millilitre.
Our Guinness is now ready, say goodbye to our new friends, and let`s take a seat over in the corner and start looking at some art.
The experience: Before the smoking ban in Ireland, these paintings were hidden by the clouds of smoke which lingered atmospherically like thick fog over damp hills. Every so often, a painting would leap at you as the fog lifted. Now, everything is clear. This difference in atmosphere enhances the Grogart I first saw years ago.
Choosing a favorite: A favorite of mine currently hangs above the door. It`s called “Ah-Don`t” – say it in an Irish accent. By Deidre Boyle, the subject of this painting is a modern pub-scene, with a man holding his hand stretched out in front of him trying to prevent a group of cackling women in the opposite table taking a flirtatious picture of him on their mobile phone.
The display changes every time I visit Dublin. Grogan`s is a pub to be found, and not to be directed to. If you do stumble upon it, pop-in, buy a drink and … don`t bypass that joint, my friend … order another one, just like the other one. Grogart is to be experienced, and not just to be seen.