Joseph Beuys exhibition marks halfway point of ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with The Art Fund

  • 9 July 2009

A powerful exhibition of German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-86) is on display this summer at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, as part of the ongoing ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with The Art Fund.

Entitled Beuys is Here, the exhibition was opened officially by Sir Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate, on 4 July, marking the halfway point of the first year of the nationwide ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with The Art Fund.

Throughout 2009, 18 museums and galleries across the UK will be showing over 30 ARTIST ROOMS from the collection of individual rooms dedicated to particular artists, created by the dealer and collector Anthony d’Offay, and given in February 2008 to Tate and National Galleries of Scotland on behalf of the nation. ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with The Art Fund was devised to take those displays beyond the collection’s owners and reach and inspire new audiences across the country, particularly young people.

This is the first time a national collection has been shared and shown simultaneously across the UK, made possible only through the generosity of The Art Fund, which is giving £250,000 per year to the tour, and The Scottish Government, which is giving £175,000 over three years.

Beuys Is Here comprises a display of sculptures, photographs, drawings, and watercolours as well as a selection of posters recalling live actions and events by Beuys.  Key works include Fat Chair (sculpture, 1964 – 85) and Scala Napoletana (sculpture, 1985), on show for the first time in the UK.

Devised by the De La Warr Pavilion, the exhibition explores Beuys’s ideas on economics, politics, activism, anti-establishment, teaching, learning and philosophy and raise questions as to how these ideas have extended beyond Beuys’ own lifetime and how they can continue to inform new thinking today.

Anthony d’Offay said: "It has been a great pleasure to see ARTIST ROOMS opening across the country throughout this year. We are enormously grateful to The Art Fund and the Scottish Government for enabling Tate and National Galleries of Scotland to share the collection so widely.

We worked very closely with Joseph Beuys over the last six years of his life and from the very beginning we were determined to build a group of works destined to become part of the national collections. It is a particularly moving moment for us to see many of these works by Joseph Beuys on view at the De La Warr Pavilion, particularly Scala Napoletana, one of the last great sculptures which he completed shortly before his death and which has never been seen in the UK before."

Andrew Macdonald, Acting Director of The Art Fund, said: "The national ARTIST ROOMS Tour has brought Bill Viola to Stromness, Joseph Beuys to Bexhill and Robert Mapplethorpe to Inverness, among others. Taking the work of leading modern and contemporary artists to areas where it wouldn’t normally be seen is what ARTIST ROOMS is all about, and having helped to acquire the collection I’m delighted that our additional support for the Tour is making that possible."

Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate said: "We are only mid-way through our first tour of ARTIST ROOMS and already this remarkable national collection has been seen across the UK, from Bill Viola in Orkney and Andy Warhol in Walsall to Diane Arbus in Cardiff. ARTIST ROOMS has also significantly enhanced our representation of artists such as Jeff Koons and Ed Ruscha in the Collection displays at Tate. The response from the public and partners has been fantastic and we have been inundated by galleries who would like to be part of future tours. ARTIST ROOMS has transformed the way we share and exhibit the national collection in the UK and I look forward to the next phase of this dynamic project."

John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland said: "We are absolutely delighted in the three very different and exciting displays that have opened in Scotland so far and look forward to building on this success to bring more contemporary art to wider audiences across Scotland."

Corinne Miller, Head of Wolverhampton Arts & Museums "Wolverhampton Art Gallery are delighted to have been given the opportunity to be involved in ARTIST ROOMS. The exhibition Andy Warhol: Paintings and Posters has already been seen by over 35,000 visitors proving to be an inspiration to both young and old alike – and we hope to many more still to come."

Convener of The Highland Council, Inverness, Sandy Park said:  "To be part of this unique collaboration is very exciting and the response has been overwhelming in Inverness. Many people have taken the opportunity to come and look at this rarely seen collection. Young people have particularly benefited from the workshops and events that having been taking place throughout the exhibition."

Nicholas Thornton, Head of Modern and Contemporary Art, Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales said: "Being part of the ARTIST ROOMS Tour, which is funded by The Art Fund, has certainly benefited National Museum Cardiff in terms of visitors and profile. Diane Arbus is a name that’s attracted a broad audience, especially a younger age group who’ve left with a positive impression not only of ARTIST ROOMS but also our aim as a Museum to display a greater proportion of modern and contemporary art." 

Chair of Culture and Sport Glasgow, Bailie Liz Cameron, said; "Tramway was excited and delighted to showcase Bruce Nauman’s creations as part of the innovative ARTIST ROOMS on Tour.  Glasgow is renowned for the ever-changing nature of its contemporary arts programme and today, more than ever, it is crucial we engage the younger generation in this area.  Nauman’s work offers an alternative approach to textual expression, which through Tramway’s outreach programme ‘participate’, proved highly relevant to Glasgow’s urban youth culture.  Our hope was that this imaginative project would spark a love of the arts in our young people and it succeeded." 

Stephen Snoddy, Director of The New Art Gallery says "The New Art Gallery Walsall is delighted with the response to Andy Warhol drawings exhibition and has welcomed over 16,000 visitors from around the region and beyond over the last few weeks. Warhol is an iconic artist of the 20th century and has fitted perfectly within the broad ranging historical Garman Ryan Collection and the contemporary programme of exhibitions at the New Art Gallery." 

Neil Firth, Director of the Pier Arts Centre said "We are delighted to be bringing the work of Bill Viola to audiences in Orkney. Bill Viola is one of the world’s leading contemporary artists. His work in video is profoundly beautiful and touches on universal human experiences: it is uncompromising yet compassionate and enthralling."

Beuys is Here will be on display at the De Le Warr Pavilion until 27 September 2009.

Ends

For further press information on Beuys Is Here and the De La Warr Pavilion please contact Sally Ann Lycett on 01424 229137 or sally.ann.lycett@dlwp.com

Press Enquiries on ARTIST ROOMS:

Helen Beeckmans, Head of Press, Tate
Tel: 020 7887 4940

Tanera Bryden, Senior Press Officer, The Art Fund

Tel: 0207 225 4822

Erica Bolton, Bolton & Quinn
Tel: 020 7221 5000 (5 lines)

Patricia Convery, National Galleries of Scotland
Tel: 0131 624 6325

Notes to Editors:

ARTIST ROOMS

The collection of 725 works, representing one of the most important holdings of post-war and contemporary international art in private hands, was assembled by Anthony d’Offay, whose London galleries played a key role in the promotion and understanding of twentieth-century art in the UK over a period of more than 30 years.

The acquisition for the national collection was made under a part gift/part sale at cost agreement. The cost of the collection to Anthony d’Offay was some £26.5 million, and he asked for and received £26.5 million, i.e. the original costs of these works. The collection was valued in 2008 at £125 million. The costs of the acquisition, which included the purchase of the artworks and set up and accessioning was £28 million. These costs were met by £10 million each from both the Scottish and British Governments, £7 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and £1 million from The Art Fund. All taxes were paid in full. 

ARTIST ROOMS have opened so far at: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh (Vija Celmins, Damien Hirst, Ellen Gallagher, Alex Katz, Andy Warhol, Francesca Woodman,); Wolverhampton Art Gallery (Warhol);Tramway, Glasgow (Bruce Nauman); Inverness Museum and Art Gallery (Robert Mapplethorpe); National Museum Cardiff (Diane Arbus);Tate Liverpool (Sol LeWitt), New Art Gallery, Walsall (Warhol); Tate Britain (Ian Hamilton Finlay, Gilbert & George), Tate St Ives (Lawrence Weiner); Tate Modern (Anselm Kiefer, Jeff Koons, Jannis Kounellis, Ed Ruscha, Robert Therrien, Andy Warhol), the Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, Orkney (Bill Viola) and the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (Joseph Beuys).

Those yet to open are Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (Gerhard Richter - 28 August); Aberdeen Art Gallery ( Ron Mueck - 29 August); firstsite, Colchester (Johan Grimonprez - 17 September); Ulster Museum, National Museums Northern Ireland, Belfast (Richard Long - autumn); The Lightbox, Woking (Jenny Holzer - 19 November); and at Graves Gallery, Museums Sheffield (Robert Mapplethorpe -19 December)

The Art Fund

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 funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped secure 860,000 works of art for museums and galleries across the UK. In addition to helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland (NGS), last year it also helped save Rubens’ sketch for the ceiling at Banqueting House, Whitehall, for Tate and pledged £1m to help NGS acquire Titian’s Diana and Actaeon with The National Gallery. 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 De La Warr Pavilion – a modernist architectural icon by the sea in Bexhill, East Sussex -  is the leading centre for contemporary art in the South East region and attracts up to half a million visitors a year to its visual art, live performance and education programme. Other recent exhibitions at the De La Warr Pavilion include Nathan Coley, Kenneth Martin and Mary Martin and Ben Nicholson.