Hastings Contemporary, the former Jerwood Gallery, opens on 6 July

Relaunched Hastings Contemporary set for opening

Eleanor Mills, 05.07.2019
Previous incarnation, Jerwood Gallery, closed following dispute
Hastings Contemporary will open to the public this Saturday, 6 July, after its previous incarnation, Jerwood Gallery, closed last month.

The Jerwood Gallery lost most of its 300-strong collection of modern British art after a dispute with its sponsor, the Jerwood Foundation, which had been the gallery’s main stakeholder since it opened in the seaside town in 2012.

Liz Gilmore, the director of Hastings Contemporary, said of the venue's plans: “Prior to the transition into Hastings Contemporary, roughly half of the art on show was the Jerwood Collection. It did vary, but we realised that about 97% of visitors came to see specific exhibitions, so it clearly makes most sense to focus on that now in our new guise.”

The new venue aims to bring a dynamic programme of modern and contemporary art to the south east, exploring and interrogating works by national, international and local artists. Its two opening major exhibitions both champion the medium of painting: Danish artist Tal R’s eventually all museums will be ships (until 13 October) and Roy Oxlade: Shine Out Fair Sun (until 6 October).

Work by Oxlade will also be shown alongside that by the painter David Bomberg, exploring the relationship between teacher and student (until 6 October), and another display will show work by the esteemed illustrator Quentin Blake. In his exhibition, The New Dress (until 6 October), Blake has responded to the transformation of the gallery by producing a series of delicate sketchbook drawings of characters exploring transformation and structure through fashioned outfits.

Gilmore, who was also the director of Jerwood Gallery and has led the institution’s reopening, said: “I’m so lucky to have been part of bringing modern and contemporary art to this part of the South East, and I’m thrilled that the gallery will now host an even more diverse programme of art.

“We’ve managed to utilise every space for our opening shows; with Tal R taking over our hallways and Roy Oxlade populating our staircases, the European kunsthalle model really is our inspiration.

“Hastings has an incredible spirit – I can think of nowhere more deserving of its own independent gallery. Bringing a world-class programme here is such a driver for me, and with deeper connections to our neighbours, the ongoing support of members, Arts Council England and our patrons, I believe this gallery has a huge role to play for art in the south east.”

Nicholas Serota, the chair of Arts Council England, said: “The opening of Hastings Contemporary marks a new chapter for a gallery that has already made a big impact in the life of the town and has won a reputation for presenting exciting shows in its award-winning building.”

There will be a tour of Hastings Contemporary for conference delegates as part of the Museums Association's Conference third day tours programme on Saturday 5 October.

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