The New Art Gallery
Walsall is a modern and contemporary art gallery
sited in the centre of the West Midlands town of Walsall, England. It
was built with £21 million of public funding, including £15.75
million from the UK National Lottery and additional money from the
European Regional Development Fund
European Regional Development Fund and City Challenge.
The Gallery is funded by
Walsall Council and Arts Council England;
this funding is further supplemented by its own income generation.
Admission is free. Its first Director was Peter Jenkinson. In May
2005, former BALTIC director
Stephen Snoddy was appointed as Director.
4 Artist residencies
5 Education work
6 Other facilities
9 External links
Designed by the architects
Caruso St John
Caruso St John after winning an
international design competition, it opened in January 2000, replacing
the town's old gallery and an arts centre that had been closed by the
Council almost a decade earlier. It was officially opened by Queen
Elizabeth II on 5 May 2000, during her visit to the West Midlands.
The New Art Gallery's stark building won several architectural awards
and attracted over 237,000 visitors in its opening year. In 2000,
the gallery was shortlisted for the prestigious Sterling Architecture
The five-story building is clad in pale terracotta and has a floor
area of 5,000 square metres (53,820 sq ft). The interior
of the Gallery features a heavy use of concrete and 75mm thick douglas
fir wooden cladding. The public square surrounding the building
was designed by Richard Wentworth and Catherine Yass.
The Gallery has been seen as an attempt to encourage regeneration in
the local area. The architecture has been both praised and
criticised, described as "almost flawless" by the RIBA and
"extraordinarily good" by Hugh Pearman but also castigated by John
Stewart-Young as an "architectural indulgence", an impressive building
that lacks consideration of how the wider public will use it. The
essayist Theodore Dalrymple described the interior as resembling both
"a fascist foreign ministry" and "a sauna of gigantic
proportions", and the exterior as "a hybrid of grain silo and
secret police headquarters".
There have been a number of minor alterations to the building since
its opening, including changing of the ground floor retail area into a
cafe, and addition of more windows around its entrance. In 2006, Floor
4 of the gallery was transformed from a restaurant area into a new
gallery space. The gallery space with 8m high ceiling has enabled
the Gallery to present a further programme of exhibitions, in addition
to its main temporary exhibition galleries. This has included
exhibitions by regional and internationally renowned artists including
David Batchelor, Richard Billingham and Leo
In 2012, artist
Sarah Staton was commissioned to design a new
sculpture terrace for the Gallery, opening to the public later that
same year the space converted a previously underused area of patio on
Vincent van Gogh - Sorrow
The Gallery houses the fixed
Garman Ryan Collection
Garman Ryan Collection of sculptures and
paintings by modern masters including a large selection of work by
Jacob Epstein and many significant works by European artists including
Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Turner, Corot, Renoir and Constable
represented in prints, sketches, drawings, paintings and
sculptures. The collection was donated to the people of
Walsall in 1973 by Epstein's late wife
Kathleen Garman (Lady Epstein)
and her friend Sally Ryan.
In 2006, the gallery acquired the Epstein Archive, a collection of
photographs, manuscripts, sketches and correspondence between Jacob
Epstein and his family and friends, patrons, buyers and galleries. In
Bob and Roberta Smith
Bob and Roberta Smith was commissioned to work alongside Archive
Curator Neil Lebeter to reveal the previously undocumented and unseen
Epstein Archive to audiences. The initiative forms part of New
Ways of Curating, a project initiated by Arts Council England.
The basement art store holds works that are not on display
The permanent collection of artworks at the Gallery incorporates the
municipal holdings built up from 1892, from the formal foundation of
Walsall's art collection. It ranges from Victorian paintings by Frank
Holl and Briton Rivière, including some of local interest through to
works by contemporary artists, such as Catherine Yass, Robert Priseman
and Fiona Banner. Through the Contemporary Art Society Special
Collection scheme, the New Art Gallery
Walsall was able to add to its
collections works by Gavin Turk, Hew Locke, Mike Nelson, Yoshihiro
Suda, Dorothy Cross, Laura Ford, Darren Lago, Estelle Thompson,
Yinka Shonibare and Rose Finn-Kelcey. The works that
comprise this collection transfer ownership to
Walsall Council from
the Contemporary Art Society in 2014.
In 2007, the New Art Gallery was awarded £1million through the Art
Fund International to collect international contemporary art on the
theme of the metropolis. This has included the acquisition of works by
Jochem Hendricks, Grazia Toderi, Dynita Singh, Zhang Enli, Christiane
Barry McGee and Nicolas Provost.
The temporary exhibition galleries on the third and fourth floor are
dedicated to exhibiting contemporary and historic art. The Gallery has
held solo exhibitions by artists including Suzanne Treister, Mark
Titchner, Toby Ziegler, Conrad Shawcross, Hew Locke, Joana
Vasconcelos, Zarina Bhimji, Christopher Le Brun, Gordon Cheung,
Layla Curtis, Anna Barriball, Adam Dant
Gavin Turk and
Between 2012 and 2013, the Gallery is hosting the first year long
display of works by artist
Damien Hirst as part of the
ARTIST ROOMS on
Tour in partnership with Tate.
The New Art Gallery also has a history of exhibiting group shows,
beginning with the inaugural exhibition Blue featuring works by
artists such as Anish Kapoor, Glen Brown,
Barbara Hepworth and Bridget
The 2009 exhibition Re-Imagining Asia, aimed to explore the meaning
and relevance of the term “contemporary Asian art” in the 21st
century and within a wider context of globalisation, migration and an
increasingly international art world. It featured artists such as Song
Dong, exhibiting here in the UK for the first time.
In 2010, the New Art Gallery celebrated its tenth birthday with the
In 2011, the Gallery hosted the exhibition The Life of The Mind: Love,
Sorrow and Obsession, curated by artist Bob and Roberta Smith.
This included key works by Sarah Lucas, Louise Bourgeois, Tracey Emin
and Yayoi Kusama.
The gallery has continually supported emerging and established artists
from throughout the UK through their regular residency programs.
Artists in residence include: a.a.s, Simon and Tom Bloor, Sean
Burn, Faye Claridge, Lucienne Cole, Harminder Judge, Juneau
Projects, Karin Kihlberg and Reuben Henry, Feng-Ru Lee, Bob
and Roberta Smith, Ivan Smith, Yoke and Zoom.
The Discovery Gallery, now rebranded Disco, was the first interactive
art space of its kind in the country, designed specifically for young
visitors and families. Over 60,000 school children have visited
The New Art Gallery since 2003, along with 34,000 lifelong learning
participants. The Gallery gained the Learning Outside the
Classroom quality badge mark in 2009. The New Art Gallery Walsall
was one of the first cultural organisations in the UK to take on a
Creative Apprentice in 2009.
The Gallery, alongside Ikon Gallery, works in partnership with
Birmingham City University
Birmingham City University to run the Artist Teacher Scheme, a
professional development programme for art educators.
The Art Library
The New Art Gallery has free public
Wi-Fi throughout the building.
In 2006, the Gallery opened a free public access Art Library, where
visitors are able to gain a more in-depth knowledge of the Gallery's
collections, exhibitions and award-winning architecture. Since opening
nearly 50,000 people have made use of the specialist
collection of books, journals and archive material.
The ground floor café in The New Art Gallery
Walsall was transformed
Costa Coffee store in August 2007.
Cupboard Love (Briton Rivière) 1881
Kiss an' make-it-up (Erskine Nicol) 1867
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^ "Faculty of Arts, Design and Media". bcu.ac.uk.
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