The Jerwood Gallery in Hastings is to relaunch as Hastings Contemporary: Independent gallery for the South East on 6th July with a major presentation by international contemporary painter Tal R, alongside British artist, Roy Oxlade (the late husband of Rose Wiley) The gallery launched in 2012 and was nominated for the Museum of the Year prize in 2014. The Gallery will lose most of its 300-strong collection of modern British art and change its name after a dispute with its sponsor, the Jerwood Foundation.
Hastings Contemporary will bring vibrant, museum-quality art to Hastings – Liz Gilmore Director
The gallery, whose main support came from the Jerwood Foundation announced in 2016 that their future was up in the air after funding from Jerwood was reduced. A few weeks ago it was revealed that an anonymous donation of £250,000 will be the start a new phase of philanthropic support. In 2017, the gallery became an independent charity and received a £400,000 grant from Arts Council England for a four year period.
Seven years after opening on the historic Stade on the seafront in Hastings, the Director and Trustees of Jerwood Gallery today announce that the gallery will become Hastings Contemporary – a new, independent modern and contemporary art gallery.
Since opening in 2012, the gallery has built an acclaimed exhibition programme and has been a cornerstone of the cultural renaissance of Hastings, welcoming over 300,000 visitors. Hastings Contemporary will have a refreshed curatorial direction under Jerwood Gallery’s founding Director, Liz Gilmore. Hasting Contemporary’s expanded programme will explore all forms of modern and contemporary art, as well as continuing to champion the medium of painting, for which it has built a strong reputation. The gallery was shortlisted for Jake & Dinos Chapman: In the Realm of the Unmentionable in the Temporary/Touring Exhibition category for the 2015 Museums and Heritage Award.
The opening programme will feature new works by the contemporary international painter, Tal R, alongside the acclaimed British painter, Roy Oxlade, and works by Oxlade’s tutor David Bomberg. All these artists are credited with influencing generations of painters. As part of the relaunch, Artist Patron Sir Quentin Blake will present a series of new drawings. Later programming will include works by Varda Caivano, Anne Ryan and Victor Willing. A full programme of activity will be announced later in the year.
Hastings Contemporary will reflect the town’s independent spirit, drawing on the rich artistic heritage of Hastings and the South East and engaging with the town’s growing creative community. It will take over space previously given over to the exhibition of the Jerwood Collection, creating additional space for presentations and new opportunities to explore connections between history and the present.
Hastings Contemporary will cultivate greater national and international profile through landmark exhibitions and by commissioning new work. It will also forge new partnerships, building on previous successful collaborations with national museums and collections including Tate, the Royal Academy and the National Gallery and significant private collections.
Liz Gilmore, the Director, said: “Hastings Contemporary will bring vibrant, museum-quality art to Hastings. We want to encourage new ways of looking – contrasting historical works with today’s artists, showing works in a range of media, and celebrating both national and international practitioners. Our programme will take advantage of the entire building, and we are thrilled at the prospect of inviting ever wider audiences to come and experience art by the sea. We are delighted to have secured a generous donation in support of the opening of Hastings Contemporary. The support of Jerwood Foundation and Hastings Borough Council and more recently, Arts Council England, has enabled a remarkable institution to come to life over the last seven years, in a beautiful setting, and we’re all excited about its future.”
Hedley Swain, Executive Director of Arts Council England East and SE said: “The opportunity for everyone to access, enjoy and be inspired by great art and culture is hugely important to the Arts Council. We recognise the huge contribution that has been made by the Jerwood Foundation and the ongoing commitment of Hastings Borough Council to develop the town’s cultural offer. Hastings Contemporary has a key role to play in continuing to build on this, ensuring that both the local community and visitors to the town can enjoy great art. This is an important moment for the gallery, and I look forward to seeing it going from strength to strength.”
Hastings Borough Council leader Peter Chowney commented: “Jerwood Gallery has become a well-established attraction in Hastings. It has been a cornerstone of the borough’s cultural regeneration programme, helping to establish Hastings as one of the key cultural centres of the south coast. I welcome its relaunch as the newly-independent Hastings Contemporary gallery and look forward to its future programme of exciting and challenging art, to draw attention to Hastings and the vibrant creative culture that has become the hallmark of our town.”
Sir Quentin Blake, Artist Patron of Hastings Contemporary said: “I could never have imagined, many years ago when I bought my ancient house in Hastings, that one day there would be an art gallery a few minutes’ walk away at the end of the street; brilliantly contemporary, but at the same time harmonising with its unique site on The Stade. Nor that it would have such a perceptive and skilled director as Liz Gilmore. Her ambitions for the gallery and her enterprising programme of exhibitions has given a new attraction and interest to Hastings and those who live there; and, more personally, she has inspired me to set about a new range of exploratory work that I might otherwise never have embarked on.”
Hastings Contemporary will champion modern and contemporary art in an international context through an ambitious expanded programme. Building on the reputation the Gallery has built in Hastings and beyond, Hastings Contemporary will continue to draw on the theme of painting, presenting works by a broad range of artists, from historically essential and internationally renowned artists to emerging practitioners, as well as exploring the rich cultural history of artists from the South East. The gallery was initially built to house the Jerwood Collection, whose Modern British focus helped build Hastings’ national reputation as a beacon for painting.
Jerwood Gallery 2012-2019
Over the last seven years the gallery has made an immense contribution to Hastings, successfully embedding a public art institution on the seafront and transforming the cultural landscape of the town. The gallery attracts over 50,000 visitors each year, and through additional learning, participation and outreach activities works closely with schools in the locality. Since opening, the gallery’s programme of exhibitions, events and learning has been nationally acclaimed. Highlights include exhibitions profiling Rose Wylie, Gillian Ayres, Ansel Krut, Basil Beattie, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Chantal Joffe, Ibrahim el Salahi, Rachel Howard, Keith Tyson, Paula Rego, Balraj Khana, Mark Wallinger, Barbara Walker and Nigel Cooke as well as William Scott, Marlow Moss, Alfred Wallis, Edward Burra and LS Lowry. Created as a catalyst for regeneration in the town, the gallery will continue to generate exciting opportunities in the creative sector, to lead and inspire cultural participation and developments in Hastings, and to develop the town’s profile as a great place to live and visit. In 2017 the gallery became a charity, and the same year also joined the National Portfolio of Arts Council England. Jerwood Foundation will continue its funding support of the Gallery in 2019, furthering its philanthropic contribution to the arts and the regeneration of Hastings.
Top Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2019