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David Roberts Art Foundation is to become the Roberts Institute of Art
Portrait of David and Indre Roberts. Photo: Billie Scheepers.

LONDON.- David Roberts Art Foundation embarks on a new journey, beginning this Spring, as the Roberts Institute of Art. Signalling a new direction under the joint patronage of David Roberts and Indrė Šerpytytė-Roberts, RIA will drive a programme of exhibitions, live performances, artist residencies and commissioning opportunities across the UK that will also benefit international artists and global digital audiences.

To coincide with the ambitious new direction and name change, RIA has appointed A Practice for Everyday Life to reimagine the organisation’s visual identity and create a new website, which launches today.

To accompany the launch RIA has commissioned Ryan Gander to create a new digital work that can be discovered by website visitors from today. In Waiting (An interval by Ryan Gander), 2021, time is of the essence; Gander’s work requests time from the audience while also providing a moment of reflection.

New UK-wide projects will include collaborative exhibitions that share the David and Indrė Roberts Collection in both contemporary arts and museum spaces. RIA’s forthcoming plans will also involve new commissioning and residency opportunities for artists. The popular Evening of Performances will be reimagined for 2021, continuing to ground elements of RIA’s programme in London.

Part of the new programme direction will include events, residencies and exhibitions in Scotland. Residencies will support the development of the resident’s practice through a tailor-made programme and by connecting the resident with Scotland’s rich cultural field.

RIA’s programme will launch in Glasgow at Glasgow International (GI) in June 2021. A hybrid programme of live and digital events for GI planned and curated by RIA, bringing the performance work of artists Paul Maheke, Nina Beier and Lina Lapelytė to festival audiences.

An important part in RIA’s future plans will also be sharing the David and Indrė Roberts Collection, making it accessible to a broad public through a collaborative exhibition programme, active lending and an expanded website. The collection comprises nearly 2,500 works by over 800 artists including: Charles Avery, Louise Bourgeois, Mark Bradford, Anthony Caro, Ellen Gallagher, Theaster Gates, Philip Guston, Mona Hatoum, Loie Hollowell, Jenny Holzer, Sarah Lucas, France-Lise McGurn, Nicolas Party, Eddie Peake, Bridget Riley, Cindy Sherman, Anj Smith, Danh Vo, Flora Yukhnovich and Ai Weiwei.

At Sheffield’s Millennium Gallery, from 5 August – 31 October 2021, RIA will co-curate and present an exhibition that brings together works that investigate the natural world as found in the human imagination. The exhibition will include selected highlights from the David and Indrė Roberts Collection and the city’s own collection, cared for by Sheffield Museums, spanning landscape paintings, video installation, sculpture and photography. The works reference ritual and conceptual uses of materials and documentary approaches to the land. Artists include Etel Adnan, Mirosław Bałka, Phyllida Barlow, Yto Barrada, Berlinde De Bruyckere, Theaster Gates and Richard Long.

RIA and The Hunterian, Glasgow, will then collaborate to co-curate and present an exhibition that explores how artists use spirituality and language to investigate legacies of colonialism and catastrophe. The exhibition will open in early 2022.

RIA retains its ‘home’ in London, with partnerships planned with London-based institutions and the annual Evening of Performances taking a more flexible, celebratory format for 2021. Now entering its thirteenth year, this renowned event will remain a mainstay of the RIA programme as the organisation continues to champion live performance work.

RIA will also continue to support UK and international artists, through commissioning and residency opportunities. 2021 will see the development and public premiere of six new commissioned works by Appau Jnr Boakye-Yiadom, SERAFINE1369 (the moniker of Jamila Johnson-Small), Lloyd Corporation, Harriet Middleton Baker, Fernanda Muñoz-Newsome and Sriwhana Spong. These works will be presented in London in December 2021.

‘2020 was a tumultuous year for culture and a lot of uncertainty still lies ahead. 2020 afforded us a moment to reflect... it gave us space and time to consider how we can take forward the Roberts Institute of Art to best benefit both artists and audiences. Given our longstanding dedication to providing opportunities for artists and audiences, we hope that the forthcoming programme, commissioning opportunities and collaborations with other partners to show the collection and deliver new projects will meaningfully contribute to the arts ecology’ David and Indrė Šerpytytė-Roberts

David Roberts added, ‘Having been brought up on the West Coast I will always have an affinity with Scotland. We are keen to take RIA’s work beyond London and, given my own links with the exciting arts programming happening in Scotland, it felt like a natural step to be collaborating with organisations there and supporting artists living and working in Scotland.’

On collaboration and the artist-centred programme, Indrė Šerpytytė-Roberts said, ‘As a practising artist myself, supporting other artists to be able to make and exhibit their work is a great privilege for RIA. By taking an active role in RIA I look forward to bringing my experiences in this area to the institute’s future programme development.’

Kate Davies, RIA Director, said, ‘The future for RIA is collaborative and flexible in nature and our curatorial strength will be enhanced by developing programmes nationally, forging collaborations beyond London and working with partners to realise projects through conversation and exchange. We are committed to making the collection more accessible and more visible through an expanded loans programme, by initiating links with other collections and activating the collection to inspire unique projects and commissions across the UK, beginning with our collaborations in Glasgow and Sheffield later this year.’

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