Lubaina Himid Unveils GAC Commission – Tate’s Turbine Hall Commission Dates Announced – British Museum Launches NFT Partnership Platform




The Turner Prize-winning artist Lubaina Himid CBE has been awarded the Robson Orr TenTen Award 2021 by the Government Art Collection (GAC). The new work was unveiled at No 11 Downing Street today by Julia Lopez MP, Minister of State, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Penny Johnson CBE, Director of the GAC. Sybil Robson Orr and Matthew Orr, and Candida Gertler OBE, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Outset Contemporary Art Fund, also attended.

New Weather is both stalling histories and preparing for a future where the climate will cause mass displacement – LH

Himid said of the idea that ‘The whole of history is in the harbour – but we know that this story will set sail.’ The image itself is ‘a chance to hold history back’. Always hinting at what is not visible, Old Boat, New Weather is both stalling histories and preparing for a future where the climate will cause mass displacement.

The traditional elements of painted seascapes are found in Old Boat, New Weather: the harbour, the impending storm and the boat itself have been reinvented in Lubaina Himid’s screen print through archive photographic imagery and woven colour. The composition brings together familiar motifs in Himid’s practise, referencing the juxtaposition of safety and danger, architecture and ships, slavery and imperial trade. The lower section of the print shows a vessel, part-ship and part-shack, in a European harbour. The artist, moved by an encounter with the dilapidated dwellings of freed slaves in Carolina (USA), has monumentalised a barn-like structure, fixing it to a trade ship. The effect is that of an ark, a symbol for a place of refuge.

Between opacity and transparency, the multicoloured stripes use subtle nuances of colour mixing to take advantage of the screen print technique, achieving what cannot be done with painting. Patterns commonly feature in Lubaina Himid’s practice – working closely with the printmaker Magda Stawarska-Beavan, and influenced by 1960s Polish theatre posters; they built the colours step by step in 19 printed layers.

Himid created the sculptural work Old Boat/New Money in 2009 whilst residence at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives, Cornwall, in a space once occupied by the painter Ben Nicholson. Thirty-two wooden planks are painted in different variations of grey.  Old Boat, New Weather continues her narrative on the legacy of maritime travel.

The Award is presented digitally on The Robson Orr TenTen Virtual Gallery, available for international audiences to view online via www.thevov.art/tenten. The virtual gallery allowed users to navigate works of art commissioned by the Award and purchased through the TenTen Acquisitions Fund, featuring artists including Sonia Boyce, Khadija Saye and Matthew Krishanu. The gallery is presented in partnership with philanthropic initiative theVOV – co-founded by Outset and art-science collective Visualogical – with technology provided by Vortic Art.

The Robson Orr TenTen Award is presented by the Government Art Collection with Outset Contemporary Art Fund and is sponsored by leading philanthropists Sybil Robson Orr and Matthew Orr. Every year a British artist is commissioned to create a unique, limited edition print in diplomatic buildings worldwide. A small number are available for purchase through a collaboration with the pioneering philanthropic arts organisation Outset to raise funds for the GAC acquisition fund. The 10-year scheme was launched in 2018, with the first three awards given to Hurvin Anderson (2018), Tacita Dean (2019) and Yinka Shonibare (2020).

Born in Zanzibar, Tanzania, in 1954, Lubaina Himid CBE currently lives and works in Preston, UK, and is Professor of Contemporary Art at the University of Central Lancashire. She was the winner of the 2017 Turner Prize. Selected solo exhibitions include Spotlights, Tate Britain (2019); The Grab Test, Frans Hals Museum (2019); and Work from Underneath, New Museum (2019). In November 2021, she will present a major monographic exhibition at Tate Modern, London.  –  https://artcollection.culture.gov.uk

Anicka Yi.

Tate’s Turbine Hall Commission Dates Announced

Tate Modern has announced the unveiling of their 2021 Hyundai Commission for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. The installation was undertaken this year by Anicka Yi. Yi (b.1971, Seoul)’ It fuses artistic imagination and scientific research. Drawing on disciplines as wide-ranging as biology, biochemistry, anthropology and philosophy, her work speculates about the present concerning our shared futures, including the evolution of artificial intelligence, climate emergency and migration. She is known for the way her works activate different senses and for experimenting with unorthodox materials that have ranged from tempura batter to kombucha leather. Yi’s captivating new work for Tate Modern will be her most significant and most ambitious project to date, continuing the highly experimental cross-disciplinary approach she has become known for.

 Katsushika Hokusai

British Museum Launches NFT Partnership Platform 

The British Museum launches a new NFT platform partnership with LaCollection dedicated to the museum and institutional collection on 30 September 2021. The first NFT series of “digital postcards” co-produced by the British Museum will bring the work of one of Japan’s most celebrated artists, Katsushika Hokusai, into the digital realm.

The launch coincides with the exhibition opening of Hokusai, The Great Picture Book of Everything at the British Museum, which will display 103 drawings by Hokusai that have never been seen before. The works were produced in the 1820s – 1840s for an illustrated encyclopedia that was never published.

Over 200 Hokusai NFT artworks will be available for purchase online. The series includes digital images of iconic prints by the artist, Under the Wave, off Kanagawa (‘The Great Wave’), Clear Day with a Southern Breeze (‘Red Fuji’), and Ejiri in Suruga Province, as well as some lesser-known works, including drawings from the recently re-discovered The Great Big Picture Book of Everything. Some NFTs will be sold at fixed prices; others will be sold at auction.

LaCollection’s mission is to connect audiences with the world’s leading cultural institutions, artists, and collections through new technology. The platform aims to inspire the next generation of art collectors and enthusiasts by offering NFT artworks for purchase in conjunction with leading cultural institutions. Each NFT is authenticated, approved by the relevant museum or gallery, and secured on the blockchain.

“We are very excited to partner with LaCollection and explore innovative ways to engage with the growing NFT market. It is so important that, as a museum, we continually adapt to new markets and find new ways of reaching people that we may not reach through traditional channels. We were particularly drawn to LaCollection’s vision of forging a community-centred platform, bringing together similar museums and galleries to share their stories and histories in fun and interesting ways. In addition, the simplicity of LaCollection’s user experience was a big draw. The NFT space is new to many people, so allowing them to enter the market straightforwardly is very exciting.” – Craig Bendle, Licensing Manager, British Museum.

“It is an honour to partner with the British Museum. LaCollection is born from two passions: art and technology. We aim to build the largest NFT platform dedicated to art institutions. We want to create a new digital interface with museums and art and, in the process, create a community of like-minded people.

We look forward to starting this exciting partnership with the British Museum, one of the most prestigious art institutions in the world. We hope that the platform will engage new audiences, those who have never visited the British Museum or engaged with their vast collection and provide the opportunity to discover its collection in new and exciting ways.

There is no doubt NFTs are here to stay, and the recent popularity is only the beginning of a new way to collect limited editions of artworks. It is exciting to see that disrupting technologies can reinvent the relationship between museums, collectors, and content. NFTs are about much more than digital art; they are vehicles to tell the story of art, old and now, and we want to be at the forefront of that movement.

As more and more cultural institutions develop an understanding of the benefits of these technological advances, LaCollection is ideally placed to help support and accelerate that digital transformation.”

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