Grayson Perry and Spencer Tunick Among Winners Of Museums At Night Connect10 Competition

Grayson Perry

Culture24 has announced the winners of the Museums at Night Connect10 competition, which has seen museums and galleries all over the UK battling it out to win one of ten leading contemporary artists for their venue during the Museums at Night festival 2014, the annual night-time festival of arts, heritage and culture which will take place all over the UK from Thursday 15 – Saturday 17 May, 2014. More than 60, 000 people voted for their favourite museum or gallery in this year’s Connect10 competition – over double the amount of votes for 2013’s competition.

The winners are: Yorkshire Museum, York  Grayson Perry, The Wilson (Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum) Fred Deakin, Market Hall Museum, Warwick Alex Hartley, Cardiff Story Museum Janette Parris, National Football Museum, Manchester Matt Pyke, St Ann’s Allotments, Nottingham Rankin, Swansea Museum Amy Sharrocks, William Morris Gallery, London Mr Smith’s Letterpress Workshop, Georges House Gallery, Folkestone, Spencer Tunick, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe Jessica Voorsanger

Nick Stockman, Project Manager for Museums at Night, says, “The Connect10 competition has really captured people’s imagination. The response has been fantastic and the lengths the UK’s museums and galleries have gone to attract votes has been astonishing. We have had naked flash mobs in Hastings, a water-themed comic strip, costumed superheroes and a former Welsh international rugby player in Swansea – all galvanising the public to vote for their favourite venue. Culture24 would like to congratulate all the winners.”

John Orna Ornstein, director of museums at Arts Council England, says,“Museums at their best are extraordinary and immersive, places of wonder and inspiration. Connect10 provides a wonderful forum for artists and audiences alike to inspire and be inspired. The Arts Council is delighted to support the programme and excited to see the results of this year’s competition.”

Museum at Night is the annual night-time festival of arts, heritage and culture. Over the weekend of Thursday 15 – Saturday 17, 2014, hundreds of museums, galleries and historic spaces all over UK will open their doors for a whole host of special events: from contemporary artists creating unique art with members of the public to bands playing exclusive gigs in museums; whole city art take overs to museum sleepovers; poetry readings and author talks to star gazing at historic houses. Above all, Museums at Night offers the chance to discover the culture and heritage on our doorsteps. Now in its sixth year, Museums at Night is run by Culture24 and is designed to attract new audiences into museums and galleries via a whole range of exciting experiences and events.

Connect10 is funded by Arts Council England to support venues to try something different to attract new audiences to their Museums at Night event. In 2013, over 30,000 members of the public voted to win an artist for their town or city. Previous events have included Jake and Dinos Chapman playing Exquisite Corpses at the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings, Gavin Turk creating an Egyptian-themed art experience at Bristol Museum, Polly Morgan performing live taxidermy in Liverpool and Bompas & Parr floating Bristol’s ss Great Britain on a sea of lime green jelly.

Fred Deakin: As one half of the band Lemon Jelly, Fred Deakin has been Mercury Music Prize and Brit nominated and sold over half a million albums. In 1998 he co-founded London design agency Airside. Most recently he has created interactive art for France’s national digital museum La Gaite Lyrique. Deakin is proposing a Day-Glo game show party. The venues that competed for Deakin were National Coal Mining Museum for England, Wakefield, Castle Drogo, Exeter, The Wilson (Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum), Cheltenham, The Observatory Science Centre, Sussex

Alex Hartley: Alex Hartley is a British artist whose work addresses complicated and sometimes contradictory attitudes toward built environments and landscapes. His work explores the boundaries of photography, architecture and installation. Hartley came to the public attention during the summer of 2012 with Nowhereisland – a floating principality which Hartley floated around the South West coast of England for the Cultural Olympiad. For Museums at Night, Hartley is proposing to explore the different threads that bind a community together. The competition venues were: Surgeons’ Hall Museum at The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Berwick Gymnasium Gallery, Towneley Hall, Burnley, Market Hall Museum, Warwick
Janette Parris: With a focus on contemporary urban experience, English contemporary artist Janette Parris’s work encompasses narrative humour working across a variety of media from performance and live music to cartoons and drawing. Emphasising the  ‘everyday’ and the common experience, Parris’s work often gives a humorous (or poignant) insight into the mundane nature of life. In 2010, Parris’s animated video Talent was shown at Tate Britain’s Rude Britannia exhibition and her work has been shown all over the world. For Museums at Night Parris is proposing to assemble a combination of characters and weave outrageously entertaining and largely fictional stories about the history of the objects on display. Competing venues were: The New Art Gallery, Walsall, People’s History Museum, Manchester , The Cardiff Story Museum, Cardiff ,Weston Park Museum, Sheffield

Grayson Perry: Winner of the 2003 Turner Prize, Grayson Perry CBE uses the seductive qualities of ceramics and other art forms to make stealthy comments about societal injustices and hypocrisies, and to explore a variety of historical and contemporary themes. Perry is a great chronicler of contemporary life, drawing us in with affecting sentiment and nostalgia as well as fear and anger. His work has strong autobiographical references – to the artist’s childhood, his family and his transvestite alter ego, Claire. Earlier this year Grayson was the first practicing artist to be invited by the BBC to give the Reith Lectures. For Museums at Night, Grayson Perry will lend himself to the winning organisation “for them to do with him as they see fit.” Competing venues were: Freud Museum, LondonYork Museums Trust, York, Courtauld Gallery, London, Museum of Soho, London

Matt Pyke: Founder of digital art/design studio Universal Everything, Pyke creates vibrant digital artworks that stimulate visual reactions and amplify emotions. Playing with ideas of emergent life, anthropomorphism and the tension between abstract and figurative forms, Pyke’s approach is led by materials; painting and sculpting as well as new technologies and formats including 3D printing, touch screens and large format video. Working in the Peak District National Park and London, a major solo show of new work is currently showing in Media Space, the Science Museum’s new art and photography gallery. Pyke will work with sound and vision to install an artwork triggered by visitor’s voices. Competing venues. National Football Museum, Manchester, National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, Museum of London, Brunel’s ss Great Britain, Bristol
Rankin: Synonymous with compelling portraiture, Rankin’s lens captures, creates and unveils icons – a cast ranging from Tony Blair and Kate Moss to David Bowie and the Queen. Rankin’s images have become part of contemporary iconography, evidence of his frankness and passion for all aspects of modern culture and its representation in the photographed image. Rankin has published 30 books, produced countless documentaries, made several films, staged gallery shows and, in 2009, undertook the biggest project of his career – Rankin Live, a mammoth, interactive spectacle. For seven straight weeks, Rankin photographed ordinary people off the street – one every 15 minutes, retouching, printing and hanging the image within half an hour of the shutter being fired – and managing to shoot over 1,600 Londoners. Museums at Night is a golden opportunity for Rankin to further explore his unique interactive approach to photography. The venues competing for Rankin were: The Holburne Museum and No. 1 Royal Crescent, Bath, Phoenix Gallery, Brighton, St Ann’s Allotments, Nottingham, Bethlem Archives and Museum, Kent

Amy Sharrocks: Amy Sharrocks is a live artist, sculptor and film-maker who invites people to come on journeys in which their own experience, communication and expression are a vital part. For many years Amy has been investigating our connection to water. Previous works include SWIM, where 50 people swam across London via 15 lakes, lidos and pools from Tooting Bec Lido to Hampstead Heath Ponds, and drift, where people were taken one at a time to drift around England on swimming pools in an inflatable boat. She is currently encouraging people to sign up for Swim the Thames, a mass swim across The River Thames. Sharrocks will explore her favourite themes of falling and water. Venues competing were. Harris Museum and Art Gallery, Preston, Museum of Carpet, Kidderminster, Gallery Oldham, Oldham, Swansea Museum, Swansea        

Mr Smith’s Letterpress Workshop: Mr Smith’s Letter Press Workshop is the brainchild of Kelvyn Laurence Smith. Chiefly concerned with all things typographic and with quality workmanship, his focus is on creating beautifully crafted contemporary printed matter using traditional wood and metal type. For Museums at Night 2014, Mr Smith will be taking his extraordinary Letterpress Workshop on the road inviting museums and their public to create a typographic archive of their own. Competing venues: Denbighshire Archives and Ruthin Gaol Museum, North Wales, The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery (University of Leeds), William Morris Gallery, London, Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, London.

Spencer Tunick: Since first photographing nudes in his native New York during the early 1990s, Tunick has devoted himself to “performance photography”, directing flesh-barers to embed themselves within well-known landscapes and locations. Staging scenes in which the battle of nature against culture is played out against various backdrops, from civic centre to desert sandstorm, man and woman are returned to a preindustrial, pre-everything state of existence. Organising groups from a handful of participants to tens of thousands, the subsequent images transcend ordinary categories and meld sculpture and performance in a new genre. Tunick’s most notable installations have been commissioned by Art Basel, Switzerland (1999), Institut Cultura, Barcelona (2003), XXV Biennial de Sao Paulo, Brazil (2002), The Saatchi Gallery in London (2003), MOCA Cleveland (2004) and Vienna Kunsthalle (2008).  
Museums at Night 2014 will be taking a more intimate look at Tunick’s practice. He will seek up to 250 volunteers for an individual nude shoot with the images ending up in miniature key-chain viewfinder. Competing venues:
Georges House Gallery, Folkestone, Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Jessica Voorsanger: Jessica Voorsanger is an American artist living in London. Jessica’s work explores popular culture through the concept and ideology of ‘celebrity’ – through obsession, fans and media representation.  She works in several mediums including portraiture (painting and photography), installation and performance. She was recently an Artist-in-Residence at the Hayward Gallery as part of the Wide Open Schools Exhibition, where she created a dance performance based on the films West Side Story and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. She has just had a solo show at Kornhausen Gallerie, Aschaffenberg Germany and has done projects at the ICA, the Whitechapel Art Gallery and Art on the Underground – with solo shows in Berlin, New York and Turin. Jessica will explore themes of celebrity in a fun interactive way. Competing venues: Haworth Art Gallery, Yorkshire, Tullie House Museum & Art Gallery Trust, Carlisle, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe, The Potteries Museum & Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent


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