The British Art Show is almost the Halley’s Comet of British art. Although it comes round every five years rather than the 75 for the comet, it’s no less sought after, and the five-year frequency of the show means it’s been able to big up a reputation as the most ambitious and influential exhibition of contemporary art in Britain.
It’s a mark of how edgy, up-and-coming and accomplished the Plymouth art scene is that it has been chosen as one of the venues for British Art Show 7, which will shake its contemporary art-shaped tush around the city from September 17 to December 3, 2011 (book your rooms now).
During the quintennial event, the show tours four cities in the UK, and number seven will open in Nottingham. Then pop along to the Hayward Gallery and Glasgow and then Plymouth.
Thirty-nine artists have been chosen for the show, which covers painting, drawing, sculpture, installation, video, film and performance.
Show number seven is subtitled In the Days of the Comet, from the 1906 HG Wells science fiction novel of the same name.
Curators Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton said: “We are interested in the recurrent nature of the comet as a symbol of how each version of the present collides with the past and the future and the work of the artists in British Art Show 7, in many different ways, contest assumptions of how ‘the now’ might be understood.”
Overarching themes can sometimes seem an unnecessary imposition on an exhibition, but the strong curatorial nature of the British Art Show, and the notion of change and wonder that accompanies a comet, could be fitting as the show crashes into the four venues around the country.
The event is organised by Hayward Touring (the bit of the Hayward family that organises touring exhibitions), and Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery, said: “The curatorial premise of the British Art Show 7 allows visitors the chance to discover younger artists, and also re-evaluate and reconnect with artists whose work they thought they were familiar with, but whose new developments hold many surprises.”
The British Art Show 7 will be at the Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham Castle Museum and New Art Exchange from October 23 to January 9; the Hayward Gallery, London on February 14 to April 17, 2011; the Glasgow Centre for Contemporary Art, Gallery of Modern Art and Tramway between May 28 and August 21, 2011 and in Plymouth (Peninsula Arts, Plymouth Arts Centre, Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery) from September 17 to December 4, 2011.
(Image: Plymouth College of Art, one of the Plymouth venues for the British Art Show 7)
This is an article from our Plymouth ArtsCulture magazine, which you can read for free online, or buy your own copy to cherish and hold.