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4 Nov 2016

Birmingham Museums announced as one of four Arts Council Collection National Partners

The Arts Council Collection has announced that Birmingham Museums Trust is one of its four National Partner galleries, which will see world-class modern and contemporary art displayed in the city throughout a three year programme.

Birmingham Museums is one of only four venues chosen by Arts Council Collection. Other partners include The Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool; Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne; and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The forming of this partnership is one of the key strands of activity marking the Arts Council Collection’s 70th anniversary.

Working with the Arts Council Collection team, the four partners have taken their own innovative approach to the works in the Collection and curated a range of exhibitions that reflect themes that are becoming ever more relevant to today’s society, including the role of technology in art, and gender identity.

Speaking at the launch Jill Constantine, Head of Arts Council Collection said: “Our 70th Anniversary year has been extraordinarily successful, our eight celebratory commissions have been seen and enjoyed across the country and now the launch of the National Partnership exhibition programme will allow even more people to see great work from the Arts Council Collection. It has been really rewarding to witness the excitement of the teams in each partner gallery whilst researching ideas, discovering new elements of the Collection and sharing their thoughts and curatorial proposals across the other partners. It promises to be really wonderful programme and I look forward to working with the partners to develop the next round of exhibitions.”

Birmingham Museums, The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool and Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne were invited to join the Arts Council Collection’s existing partner, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, to mark the Art Council Collection’s 70th anniversary following an open call by Arts Council England.

Dr Ellen McAdam, Director of Birmingham Museums Trust, said: “We are delighted to be part of the Arts Council Collection National Partners’ Programme which will allow us to stage our most ambitious programme of modern and contemporary art exhibitions to date.

“This marks a significant moment in the Trust’s plans to deliver contemporary art programming that engages Birmingham’s young and diverse communities. We are looking forward to getting the partnership off to a brilliant start with the Night in the Museum exhibition, curated by leading artist Ryan Gander.”

Simon Mellor, Executive Director Arts & Culture, Arts Council England said: “2016 is a very big year for the Arts Council Collection. Not only is it the Collection’s 70th birthday, but we’ve also launched the National Partners programme, appointing four exceptional partner galleries to present a series of exhibitions over the next three years, all drawn from the Arts Council Collection, one of the finest collections of modern and contemporary British art in the world. Selection as a National Partner is recognition that each partner shares our ambition to ensure that the work of some of the most exciting names in British contemporary art is enjoyed by as large an audience as possible. Together, The Walker, Liverpool; Towner Gallery, Eastbourne; Birmingham Museums and Yorkshire Sculpture Park will be working with the Southbank Centre, London to ensure that people up and down the country get an opportunity to enjoy some of the very best art created in this country since the second world war.”

The full Birmingham Museums exhibition programme for 2017 includes:

Night in the Museum: Ryan Gander Curates the Arts Council Collection

An Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition 26 November 2016 – 12 February 2017

Ryan Gander has achieved international recognition for a prolific and diverse body of work. For Night in the Museum, he deliberately avoids a signature style, preferring instead to remain open to limitless possibilities, unpicking myths and creating new associations, all with a mischievous playfulness, a deadpan wit and a fascination for storytelling. The exhibition represents the work of over thirty major British artists, including Patrick Caulfield, Jacob Epstein, Roger Hiorns, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, and Rebecca Warren. In the Gas Hall, it will feature additional works from Birmingham’s collection including a reconstruction of Jacob Epstein’s famous ‘Rock Drill’, artworks by Sean Scully and Patrick Caulfield and ‘Dancer at Rest’, an original bronze ballerina by Edgar Degas on long-term loan. 

I Want! I Want! – Art & Technology 

1 April to 1 October 2017

A curated selection from the Arts Council Collection with key loans from other major collections, this exhibition will present the work of contemporary artists working with new technologies. Work spanning the last 20 years shows how British and international artists have navigated and contributed to a social, cultural and technological revolution. The title is inspired by the print ‘I Want! I Want!’ by visionary artist William Blake, depicting a man reaching for the moon over two hundred years ago. From the use of surveillance and gaming technology to computer graphics and animation, CAD, digital art and the internet, artists have created films, sculptures, interactive games, photographs, and drawings. Artists represented include Rachel Maclean, Julian Opie, Ed Atkins, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Toby Ziegler, Thomson and Craighead.

Coming out

November 2017 – February 2018

Birmingham Museums is delighted to be collaborating with The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool to bring ‘Coming Out’ to Birmingham in Autumn 2017. This exhibition will include work by David Hockney, Gilbert and George, Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing and Andy Warhol. A community-led series of activities, reflections and art creation will engage with a broad spectrum of sexuality, orientation and gender.


For Further information about the Arts Council Collection National Partners Programme, please visit:
Social Media handles and hashtags: @A_C_Collection / @ace_national / @artscouncilcollection /#ACCNationalPartners / #ACC70