British Art Show
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The British Art Show (BAS) is a major survey exhibition organised every five years to showcase contemporary British Art. Each time it is organised, the show tours to four UK cities. It has become so large that it usually requires a number of venues in each city to accommodate it. As a snapshot of contemporary British Art, the exhibition has some equivalence to the biennial exhibitions of the Whitney Museum of American Art.
The exhibition is normally curated by two or three people who are appointed for their knowledge of contemporary art. Previously these had been artists and critics, but more recently they have been curators.
The 2005 BAS, curated by Andrea Schlieker and Alex Farquharson, included a large number of artists born outside the UK. As the exhibition opened at the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, concern was voiced that few of the artists came from the North East of England. BAS 6 was in Baltic, Gateshead until Jan 8. It then travelled to Manchester (Jan 28-April 2), Nottingham (April 22-June 25) and Bristol (July 15-Sept 17)
British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet
The British Art Show is widely recognised as the most ambitious and influential exhibition of contemporary British art. Organised by Hayward Touring, it takes place every five years and tours to four different cities across the UK. Its seventh incarnation opened in Nottingham, and toured for the first time in 20 years to the Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre, followed by venues in Glasgow and Plymouth. It was curated by Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton.
The 39 artists were selected on the grounds of their significant contribution to contemporary art in the previous five years. All included artworks were produced between 2005 and 2010, and encompassed sculpture, painting, installation, drawing, photography, film, video, and performance, with many artists creating new works especially for the exhibition. British Art Show 7 marked a change in direction from previous years, moving away from the model of a survey show to an exhibition with a marked curatorial focus.
Subtitled In the Days of the Comet, British Art Show 7 employed the motif of the comet to explore and draw together a set of concerns that thread their way through the practices of the selected artists. Here the comet alludes to the measuring of time, to historical recurrence, and to parallel worlds. Comets are also commonly understood as harbingers of change, and fittingly the exhibition evolved as it moved from city to city, revealing new works at different venues, creating a unique exhibition in each location.
"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, contests assumptions of how ‘the now’ might be understood." Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton, Curators of British Art Show 7.
British Art Show 8
Curated by Anna Colin and Lydia Yee, British Art Show 8 will open in October 2015 at Leeds Art Gallery, and tour to venues in Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton.
The artists in British Art Show 8 are: Åbäke, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Caroline Achaintre, John Akomfrah and Trevor Mathison, Aaron Angell, Pablo Bronstein, Adam Broomberg and Oliver Chanarin, Andrea Büttner, Alexandre da Cunha, Nicolas Deshayes, Benedict Drew, Simon Fujiwara, Martino Gamper, Ryan Gander, Melanie Gilligan, Anthea Hamilton, Will Holder, Alan Kane, Mikhail Karikis, Linder, Rachel Maclean, Ahmet Öğüt, Yuri Pattison, Ciara Phillips, Charlotte Prodger, Laure Prouvost, Magali Reus, James Richards, Eileen Simpson and Ben White, Daniel Sinsel, Cally Spooner, Patrick Staff, Imogen Stidworthy, Hayley Tompkins, Jessica Warboys, Stuart Whipps, Bedwyr Williams, Jesse Wine, Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
- Clare Henry in the Glasgow Herald, 31 March 1990
- 'Pizzaz in Short Supply' - Richard Dorment on the British Art Show 5 in the Daily Telegraph
- 'Epic show, but just how British is it?' - David Whetstone on the British Art Show in the Newcastle Journal, 24 September 2005
- British Art Show 8 official website www.britishartshow8.com
The listing provides useful coverage of the latest BAS for readers and those who wish to expand this article.