Phyllida Barlow Becomes 40th Artist In Celebrated Artist Rooms Collection

Phyllida Barlow will be the fortieth artist to join the ARTIST ROOMS collection the collection at The National Galleries of Scotland (NGS) and Tate. Her first ARTIST ROOMS work, gifted by the artist, is untitled: upturnedhouse, 2, made in 2012, will go on display at Tate Modern from 14 January 2016.

Begun in 2008 through the exceptional generosity of Anthony d’Offay, ARTIST ROOMS originally comprised the work of thirty-two international contemporary artists. Since then, rooms have been added by Louise Bourgeois, Martin Creed, Dan Flavin, Douglas Gordon, Don McCullin, August Sander and Roy Lichtenstein through generous gifts and long loans from artists, their representatives and the Artist Rooms Foundation. Now, this important work by Barlow – a large, boldly-painted structure – joins the unique collection.

Phyllida Barlow said ‘It is, without doubt, a huge honour and very exciting to be part of ARTIST ROOMS. The fact that works from ARTIST ROOMS can be installed in impressive galleries and museums around the UK is thrilling. I am also delighted that Louise Bourgeois is the first artist to exhibit in the ARTIST ROOMS gallery of the new Tate Modern as, for me, her work has been an inspiration since my first encounter with it in the mid-1960s.’

This summer will also see the first showing of an extraordinary group of more than 100 drawings by the German artist, Joseph Beuys, from the ARTIST ROOMS collection. The exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art will cover the whole of the artist’s career from 1945 to the end of his life, reflecting his encyclopaedic interest in nature, science, philosophy, mythology, society, politics and religion.

So far, ARTIST ROOMS have been shown in seventy-six museums and galleries nationwide and 143 displays and exhibitions have opened since 2009. These have been seen by well over thirty-nine million people to date at venues across the UK including Tate and NGS. We are delighted that Arts Council England and the Art Fund have committed to continue to support ARTIST ROOMS On Tour for a further three years and details of the venues will be announced in due course.

Now in its eighth successful year, the new phase of the tour will embrace more than thirty UK venues which will present exhibitions and displays from the collection over a three-year period, starting with Roy Lichtenstein at Wolverhampton Art Gallery in autumn 2016. The Lichtenstein works, newly added to the ARTIST ROOMS collection, were displayed at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh in 2015, and this will be their first showing as part of ARTIST ROOMS at an Associate venue. 

Having successfully hosted three consecutive ARTIST ROOMS exhibitions in 2011, 2012 and 2013, the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull will be involved in a new mentoring programme which will help to develop arts professionals and build relationships between the Associate venues, to create a strong touring art network.

Nicholas Serota said: ‘ARTIST ROOMS has given millions of people across the UK the chance to see outstanding works of art from a unique and internationally-recognised collection . It is a model like no other, with each venue bringing its own distinct character to the presentation of an artist’s work. Since 2008, the collection has grown significantly through the enthusiasm and generosity of artists and we are delighted that Phyllida Barlow now joins this group with her generous gift of untitled: upturned house, 2.’  

John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland added: ‘ARTIST ROOMS is now firmly established as a new kind of national collection reaching many millions of people across the UK. There has been an amazing response to the initiative from audiences and especially younger people who have enjoyed free access to displays of world-class modern and contemporary art with specially tailored learning programmes. We look forward to building on this success and extending the reach of ARTIST ROOMS still further over the next three years.’

Associate venues report that the tour has had a lasting, positive impact on their ability to present contemporary exhibitions and 92% say their ability to understand, reach and engage with younger audiences has increased. Almost 600,000 young people have taken part in ARTIST ROOMS activities with many saying that, inspired by the project, they went on to study art. 

ARTIST ROOMS is owned jointly by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland and was established through The d’Offay Donation in 2008, with the assistance of the National Heritage Memorial Fund, the Art Fund and the Scottish and British Governments. 

The first artist to be shown as part of the first dedicated ARTIST ROOMS gallery in the new Tate Modern will be Louise Bourgeois, opening on 17 June 2016. 

Phyllida Barlow who was awarded a CBE for services to art in the New Year’s Honours list in 2016 has for over four decades made imposing, large scale sculptural installations using inexpensive, everyday materials such as cardboard, fabric, timber, polystyrene, plaster, scrim and cement. Her distinctive work is focused on her experimentation with these materials, to create bold and colourful three-dimensional collages.

Drawing on memories of familiar objects from her surroundings, Barlow’s tactile and seemingly unstable sculptures often contrast with the permanence and traditions of monumental sculpture. In works such as Peninsula at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art in 2004 or Stint at Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre in 2008, a cacophony of form, colour and materials filled the spaces. In Barlow’sTIP for the Carnegie International in Pittsburgh, timber lengths wrapped in mesh, cement and brightly coloured fabric ribbons cascaded en masse across the museum plaza to the entrance. In 2014, Barlow’s dock was created for the annual Tate Britain Commission, supported by Sotheby’s, and filled the Duveen Galleries.

Her work for ARTIST ROOMS, untitled: upturnedhouse, 2, made in 2012, which goes on display at Tate Modern from 14 January 2016 was presented by the artist and was acquired with assistance from the ARTIST ROOMS Endowment, with support from the Henry Moore Foundation and Tate Members.


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