The Ashmolean Museum has announced a major collaboration with the Hall Art Foundation to present a series of exhibitions of contemporary and post-war art drawn from the collections of the Hall Art Foundation and Andrew and Christine Hall. The collaboration will begin with an exhibition of works by leading British-born artist, Malcolm Morley, curated by Sir Norman Rosenthal.
Malcolm Morley was born in London in 1931, and is now a US citizen, having lived in and around New York City since 1958. He is acknowledged as one of the founders of hyper-realism, which was developed as a counterpoint to pop-art back in the 1960s, while also as an artist who deliberately broke away from the stylistic discoveries that brought him this initial fame. Over the past fifty years, Morley has continued to progress towards a highly colourful, continuously evolving, individual and expressive style of painting. His works often depict man-made disasters such as car and motorbike crashes that act as J.G. Ballard-like visual metaphors. His paintings of ships, airplanes and the like may appear to portray childhood dreams – but in fact reflect his traumatic boyhood experience of the Battle of Britain. These imaginary visions are the sort that led him to take up painting as a young, petty offender in London back in the 1950s. In 1955, Morley was able to attend the Royal College of Art, where he was a contemporary of both Frank Auerbach and Peter Blake. As idiosyncratically erudite as J.M.W. Turner was in his own time, Morley became the first ever winner of Tate’s now famous Turner Prize in 1984.
Malcolm Morley at the Ashmolean includes approximately thirty paintings and drawings dating from 1964 to the present, from the collection of Andy and Christine Hall, English collectors who are now residents and citizens of the United States. Andy Hall, who rowed four times for Oxford, is an alumnus of Keble College, and together with his wife Christine, is known as one of the most passionate and discriminating collectors of contemporary art today. Malcolm Morley is one of several contemporary artists whose work the Halls collect in great depth. The exhibition will be on prominent view in a central gallery of the museum and will be the first of what is hoped to be a series of exhibitions – allowing the Ashmolean, the world’s oldest encyclopaedic museum, to present the art of our time.
Director of the Ashmolean, Professor Christopher Brown said: “I am profoundly grateful to Andrew and Christine Hall for the programme of loans from the Hall Art Foundation which will allow the Ashmolean to bring important contemporary and post-war art to new audiences and marks an exciting phase in the museum’s development.”
Sir Norman Rosenthal said: “It is so exciting and appropriate to commence a programme of contemporary art exhibitions at the Ashmolean Museum with a show of paintings by Malcolm Morley, who celebrates his eighty-second birthday this year.”
The Hall Art Foundation makes available works of post-war and contemporary art from its collection and from the collection of Andrew and Christine Hall for the enjoyment and education of the public and operates a public museum space in Vermont. The Foundation also collaborates with other public institutions around the world to facilitate loans from its own collection and that of the Halls. Together, the collections comprise some 5,000 works by several hundred artists including Richard Artschwager, Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Eric Fischl, Leon Golub, Joerg Immendorff, Anselm Kiefer, Barry Le Va, Malcolm Morley, A. R. Penck, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol and Franz West.
The Hall Art Foundation recently announced a major new building and exhibition partnership with MASS MoCA (Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) devoted to the art of Anselm Kiefer.