Art news – weekly round-up
Tate Britain reopens, Hull is named UK City of Culture 2017 and five Stanley Spencer paintings are bought for the Fitzwilliam Museum – we round up the top stories of the week.
Tate of the art
The Pre-Raphaelites were contemporary artists when the National Gallery of British Art opened on Millbank in 1893. Over 120 years later, a new-look Tate Britain has reopened to the public following a £45m, seven-year revamp. Writing for the Guardian, Oliver Wainwright praises the gallery's 'spectacular new staircase that plunges through the floor of the Millbank entrance rotunda in a swirling op art whirlpool of black and white terrazzo, a concentric fan motif that writhes up to form a lacy balustrade', while Edwin Heathcote of the Financial Times writes that the refurbished gallery is 'a scheme of clarity and intelligence'.
Hull emerges from the shadows
Hull has been named UK City of Culture 2017 after its 'city coming out of the shadows' pitch won the unanimous support of an independent judging panel, beating competition from Dundee, Swansea Bay and Leicester. The Independent's Mark Branagan was at a gathering in front of the city's Hull Truck Theatre when the news broke. 'Moments after the victory announcement flashed across TV screens all over the theatre the heavens opened,' he writes. 'But by then everyone was too busy dancing and hugging each other to worry about a spot of rain.'
Spencer's unfulfilled commission returns to Cambridge
Five paintings by Sir Stanley Spencer, including two works created for a Cambridge University Library commission which fell through, have been bought for the Fitzwilliam Museum with support from the Art Fund. In the Cambridge News, Chris Elliott writes that 'experts at Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum are celebrating after snapping up five paintings by one of Britain’s most famous artists… The new works include one of his seminal early works, John Donne Arriving in Heaven, painted when he was 20, and are now on display in the museum’s Gallery 1.'
Turner making waves in Greenwich
The National Maritime Museum's newly opened show Turner and the Sea is the first full-scale exhibition of his marine art, which – according to the Guardian's Maev Kennedy – is 'a fact so surprising, given that by some counts it makes up two thirds of his work, that curator Christine Riding had to double check it'. The show features works from his early Royal Academy shows, a whole room dedicated to Trafalgar, and international loans given by museums which were 'enthusiastic about including their works because of the grandeur of the subject'.
The town of Mullingar in Ireland has announced that it will open a museum dedicated to its most famous son – One Direction's Niall Horan. Metro's Amy Duncan writes that 'due to his work commitments, which see him touring around the world, he gets to spend little time at home but this new museum will give fans a little slice of him whenever they want'.