Pauline Forster

Pauline Forster

Pauline Forster (previously known under the name Wilson-Copp) is an English Artist, Performer, Musician, Designer and Landlady of The George Tavern in the East End of London. She is best known for her "Dog On" [] performance, a mirrored Ford Capri outside the Tate Modern on its opening day, 8th May 2000. Pauline Forster is also known for "Handmade by Pauline Forster" and transforming The George Tavern [] in Stepney into a thriving arts, music and performance venue with an international reputation.


Early life and education

Pauline Forster was born in Carlisle 1949, the Lake District, daughter of Jack Forster and Meg Arbury, the fourth of six siblings. They lived a feral, poverty stricken life until Pauline was 9 when they moved to Gloucestershire. Enterprising from an early age Pauline had her first market stall at 6.

Leaving home at 16 Pauline went to Gloucester College of Art and was later initially excepted into Falmouth College of Arts. However her statemented dyslexia prevented her from gaining the necessary grade in English and the place was subsequently refused.

Pauline settled in Stroud and went on to marry and have five sons. After her divorce she started an Access programme in Art in 1998 and went on to study Fine Art at Cheltenham College of Art in 2000. In 2003 she bought The George Tavern. Pauline was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. She currently lives and works at The George Tavern, Stepney.


Handmade by Pauline Forster

After the disappointment of not being allowed to carry on her art education Pauline was penniless and had to turn to her enterprising abilities. She collected old scraps of leather and created "Handmade by Pauline Forster" in 1969, a clothing and accessory label. She took her hippy-style products from Kings Road to the Isle of Wight Festival and always sold out. The business grew over time and her products were stocked by Harrods and were included in the Queen's Christmas crackers as prizes for many years. Pauline sold "Handmade by Pauline Forster" in 1994.

Guerilla Art

While at Cheltenham College Pauline created the first of her notorious performance art pieces. "Dog On" was a clamped, mirrored Capri which Pauline slept in for 3 nights outside the Tate Modern starting on the day of its grand opening. The work courted much media attention with features in most of the daily newspapers. The work was to challenge the YBA/Brit Art scene that was dogged by elitism. On the night before the Queen was visiting the Tate Modern Pauline was woken up by MI5, who threw her onto the streets with no shoes or money and impounded the car as the piece was considered a "security risk". Branded as an "art terrorist" Pauline was adamant; "I am not an anarchist, I'm an artist", she told one paper.

Pauline has gone on to create an untitled performance where she walked through the streets of Cheltenham dusting the trail and herself in flour, this performance was filmed by her son Everest Wilson-Copp and the film was shown in Leicester Square as part of an Arts Festival. In 2002 Pauline squatted a Balti house in Brick Lane and opened an exhibition entitled "London's Burning" where she laid out hundreds of carbonized bagels and loaves. In 2003 Pauline took her Capri onto the streets of London on the day the congestion charge was brought into affect. She had the car pulled by six women from east London to Trafalgar Square while rose petals and the dawn chorus came from the interior.

The nature of Pauline Forster's work has led it to be labeled by some of her critics as publicity stunts.

Exhibitions and Performances

The George Tavern

Pauline purchased The George Tavern in 2003. The Georgian public house (formerly The Halfway House) is situated in the East End of London in Stepney and is a Grade II listed building. Pauline has built up The Georges reputation as a top music, performance and art venue, and a location for film and advertising.

Acts that have played at The George include John Cooper-Clarke, Evan Dando, Pete Doherty, Snow Patrol, Duran Duran, Nick Cave, and 808 State.

Mark Blanco

Mark Blanco was to star in a Pauline Forster production of "The Accidental Death of An Anarchist", directed by Toby Penrose, at The George Tavern in December 2006. Mark died in suspicious circumstances the week the play was to open at a party attended by Pete Doherty [] . The case gained international attention and after an initial police investigation which concluded accident or suicide the coroner ordered a full reinvestigation in 2007.

Pauline was deeply upset by the death of a friend and opened The Mark Blanco Theatre at The George Tavern in March 2007.


External links


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