Jeremy Deller's Manic Street Preachers installation comes to Yorkshire

  • 5 June 2009

An installation by Turner Prize winner Jeremy Deller focusing on Welsh rock band The Manic Street Preachers goes on show this Saturday, 6 June, at the Bothy Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

Part of a display of new acquisitions for the Arts Council Collection, the work entitled The Uses of Literacy was recently acquired for the Collection with help from a £20,000 grant from independent charity The Art Fund.

The Uses of Literacy comprises an arrangement of paintings, collages, drawings, books, poetry and paraphernalia, donated by fans of the Manic Street Preachers. Deller had initially advertised in the music paper Melody Maker, requesting fans to send him material related to the band. He then assembled the material into an extensive installation.

The installation, dated 1997, is an important piece from Deller’s early career, examining popular culture and contemporary folk traditions, as well as exploring the relationship between fan and performer. The Uses of Literacy also reverses the usual hierarchical order between artist and the public, by displaying works of amateurs in the gallery. In Deller’s eyes, he is not ‘appropriating’ the material as his own, but rather acting as curator of it.

Thanks to The Art Fund, the UK’s leading independent art charity, this key work by Jeremy Deller has been acquired for the Arts Council Collection – a distinguished collection notable for important early works by outstanding British artists, which is managed by the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, on behalf of Arts Council England.

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, said: "This artwork, by one of the UK’s leading contemporary artists, offers an original take on popular culture and the music industry. We are delighted to have helped make it part of the Arts Council Collection, making it accessible to people all over the country."

Caroline Douglas, Head of the Arts Council Collection at the Hayward Gallery, said: "The Art Fund has made it possible for us to seize a rare opportunity to purchase a key early work by this highly influential artist which is a major acquisition for the Collection and one we are confident will prove enduringly popular."

Jeremy Deller was born in London in 1966 and studied art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art. He won the Turner Prize in 2004. Centring on the notion of collaboration and participation, Deller’s projects extend to orchestrated events, films and publications.

The Uses of Literacy goes on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park from Saturday, 6 June until Sunday 5 July.

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Notes to editors:

The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art. It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections. Recent achievements include: helping secure Titian’s Diana and Actaeon for the National Galleries of Scotland and the National Gallery, London in February 2009 with a grant of £1 million; helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit www.artfund.org .

The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174

The Arts Council Collection is the largest loan collection of modern and contemporary British art in the world. With close to 8000 works of art spanning more than sixty years, the Collection has a continuous and substantial presence through its many and various collaborations with museums and galleries across the UK. Managed by the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, on behalf of Arts Council England, the Arts Council Collection promotes the appreciation of modern and contemporary art. For further information please visit www.artscouncilcollection.org.uk