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Highly Anticipated Hayward Touring Show of Contemporary British Art Returns to London
Duncan Campbell, Bernadette (Film Still), 2008.
NOTTINGHAM.- The British Art Show is a major survey exhibition renowned for showcasing the best in British art now. Organized by Hayward Touring Exhibitions, the show takes place every five years and tours to four different cities across the UK. It opened in Nottingham on 23 October 2010, then tours to the Hayward Gallery – its first time in London in 20 years – followed by venues in Glasgow and Plymouth.

Since its beginning in 1979, over 1.1 million visitors have enjoyed the six previous British Art Shows in cities all around the country including Nottingham, Glasgow, Bristol, Manchester, London, Gateshead, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Southampton, Leeds, Sheffield and Birmingham. The list of previous exhibitors is a ‘Who’s Who’ of British Art – including Lucien Freud, Gilbert and George, Anish Kapoor, Antony Gormley, Damien Hirst, Paula Rego, Susan Hiller, Mary Kelly, Tracey Emin, Sam Taylor-Wood and Grayson Perry – many of whom were shown long before they became household names.

Ralph Rugoff, Director of the Hayward Gallery said: “The return of the British Art Show is an extremely important moment in Britain’s art calendar. It is the cornerstone of our hugely popular touring programme and is a show that is unequivocal in its vision and scope – it has a depth and breadth unmatched by any other survey of contemporary British art. This year’s show is no exception with a great range of art that will be visually stimulating and thought provoking on many levels.”

Curators Tom Morton and Lisa Le Feuvre selected the 39 artists on the grounds of their significant contribution to contemporary art in the last five years. They looked to emerging artists as well as what established practitioners have been producing and how their work has developed and moved in new directions. This approach has produced a final list of artists ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s. This overlying theme is summarized in the subtitle of the exhibition – In the Days of the Comet – signifying change, time and recurrence.

Curators Lisa Le Feuvre and Tom Morton said: "British Art Show 7: In the Days of the Comet develops across the four-city tour, with each host city seeing a unique exhibition featuring new works, and new patterns of display. Focusing on art made in the period 2005-2010, the exhibition pays attention to the ways artists make use of histories, be they distant or proximate, longingly imagined, or all too real, to illuminate our present moment. Many of the works are time-based, and evolve over the show's tour. New episodes from Nathaniel Mellors' Monty Python-meets-Pasolini 'soap opera' Ourhouse will screen in each city, while Tris Vonna-Michell, Olivia Plender, Gail Pickering and Sue Tompkins are developing performance-based pieces which will grow with each new civic venue.

With more than 80% of the work in the show previously unseen, it showcases rising stars such as Emily Wardill, Phoebe Unwin, Karla Black, Haroon Mirza, Michael Fullerton and Steven Claydon alongside more established names such as Sarah Lucas, Wolfgang Tillmans, Charles Avery, Christian Marclay and George Shaw.


NOTTINGHAM: Nottingham Contemporary; Nottingham Castle Museum; New Art Exchange 23 October 2010 - 9 January 2011

LONDON: Hayward Gallery
16 February – 17 April

GLASGOW: Centre for Contemporary Art; Gallery of Modern Art; Tramway
28 May - 21 August

PLYMOUTH: Peninsula Arts Gallery, University of Plymouth; Plymouth College of Art; Plymouth Arts Centre; Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery; The Slaughterhouse, Royal William Yard; Plymouth College of Art
17 September – 4 Dec

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