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Press Releases > Keith Coventry 'Black Bronze White Slaves'
The first exhibition to focus exclusively on the bronze sculptures of celebrated artist Keith Coventry opens at The Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle on 14 July.
Coventry is a key member of what has been termed the ‘Sensation’ generation who came to prominence in the 1990s on the wave of interest in British artists. He has since become an established (if not an ‘Establishment) artist whose work is in collections such as the Tate, London and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.
Although known primarily as a painter, Coventry has always made iconic bronzes throughout his career, but only now is an exhibition being staged to focus on this body of work. All his major pieces will feature in Keith Coventry 'Black Bronze White Slaves', including Looted Shop Front, Kebab Machine, Supermodel (Kate Moss) and Crack Pipe, along with eight examples of his White Slave series, and five of his broken trees, two of which are new.
Coventry has previously said of his work that he looks at the history of art, and at a social issue and then combines the two. The themes of his bronzes are those of a universal nature: desperation, revolution, the unsettling of political order, the decline of society and a belief in art and its restorative powers, which has led curator Greville Worthington to describe the exhibition as well timed.
“With recent riots and mistrust of the political order, questions are asked of art and its powers to engage with audiences about universal themes in a time of change,” said Greville, a former Turner Prize judge, who expects the show to exude . . . a dark and menacing feel, taking the viewer into a world of drug taking, prostitution and urban lowlife.
“When seen collectively, these works cover succinctly the main themes of Coventry’s oeuvre,” he added. “They use the monumentality of bronze, and its association with the heroic and established order, to undermine its traditional role and engage with the crack addict, the urban vandal and the lonely guy eating a kebab on his way home drunk, and in doing so allow the material to fulfil an altogether different function.”
The themes of Coventry’s work can be found, portrayed in a variety of ways, running through The Bowes Museum’s collection. This exhibition will, within the context of the Museum, seek to activate a further understanding of the permanent collection in relation to the bronzes.
“It’s also appropriate that this exhibition is timed to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth,” said Greville. “It chimes with many of the concerns for the underdog and dispossessed which Dickens and Coventry share.”
The exhibition opens on Saturday 14 July and runs until Sunday 16 September 2012.
The Museum now offers a 6 month Admission Pass, giving a cost effective opportunity to make the most of all this fabulous building has to offer, including admission to this exclusive exhibition.
Incredible value for money at only £12.00, the pass enables the buyer to make unlimited return visits to the Museum within that 6 month timeframe. Passes are available to purchase on the Museum’s website, or alternatively purchase on the day of your visit.
The Bowes Museum, Café Bowes and Shop are open daily from 10.00. A full programme of events and exhibitions is available by calling 01833 690606 or by viewing the website at www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk.
• The Bowes Museum was created over 100 years ago by an extraordinary couple, John and Joséphine Bowes. Together they built up the greatest private collection of fine and decorative arts in the North of England and constructed a magnificent building to house them in. The collection contains thousands of objects including furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles and many other items covering an extensive range of European styles and periods.
• The Bowes Museum receives a core funding grant from Durham County Council and as a member of the North East Regional Museums Hub receives support from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport through the Museums, Library and Archives Council Renaissance programme. Additional revenue funding specifically for the Museum’s acclaimed exhibition programme is provided by Northern Rock Foundation.
• The Bowes Museum has recently undergone major redevelopment. This work was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, One NorthEast through the County Durham Economic Partnership, English Heritage, Northern Rock Foundation, The Monument Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Foyle Foundation, The European Regional Development Fund, DCMS/Wolfson Museum and Galleries Improvement Fund, Designation Challenge Fund, The Shears Foundation, The Richard and Suzanna Tonks Family Fund at County Durham Foundation, Durham County Council, The Friends of The Bowes Museum, The Headley Trust, Sir James Knott Trust, Catherine Cookson Charitable Trust, Fenwick Ltd, Mercers Charitable Foundation, Welton Foundation. While we are endeavouring to keep as much of the collections on display as possible, visitors are advised to call ahead if wishing to see a specific item to check if it is on display.
• Normal admission to the museum: Adults £9.00, Concessions £8.00, Six Month Pass £12.00, Children Free (under 16s). Admission allows access to all exhibitions, permanent displays and some events. Admissions are donation inclusive and are eligible for Gift Aid. If you do not wish to make a charitable donation admission prices are: Adults £8.15, Concessions £7.25, Six Month Pass £10.00, Children (under 16) and carers free.
• The Bowes Museum is open daily from 10.00am.
• The Bowes Museum is a member of the Discover Durham partnership of attractions. Our commitment is to promote Durham as an exciting and vibrant group travel destination and to provide the travel trade with a professional and knowledgeable service: hotline number 0191 301 8531, www.discoverdurham.co.uk.