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Barry Flanagan was one of the most radical sculptors of his generation. Though best known for his statues of bronze hares, his earlier work, in materials as varied as cloth, plaster, and sand, show how he challenged the very idea of what sculpture could be. Fellow artist Peter Randall-Page shares his memories of his close friend. Download this video.
Barry Flanagan was one of Britain’s most original and inventive artists and a key figure in the development of British and international sculpture. He is best known for the large-scale bronze hare sculptures that he began producing in the early 1980s and that can be seen in many galleries and public spaces around the world. The success of these pieces has tended to obscure the equally important and very different work that characterised his early period. Made from materials as varied as cloth, plaster, sand, hessian and rope, these works highlight a concern with material properties and processes - a concern that is at the heart of his practice.
A contemporary of Gilbert & George, Flanagan studied sculpture at St Martin’s School of Art from 1964 to 1966. The exhibition takes this period as a starting point and reveals the impact of this early work on his later development towards casting in bronze, which he began in 1979. This is the first major retrospective of Flanagan’s work in London since 1983, and by focusing on his early works, shows how this radical and imaginative artist challenged the very nature of sculpture in his time.
John Martin: APOCALYPSE exhibition, Opening 21 September at Tate Britain
John Martin (1789–1854) was a key figure in the nineteenth-century art world, renowned for his dramatic scenes of apocalyptic destruction and biblical disaster. While he was hugely popular, he remained something of an outsider, scorned by the art critics of his time.
Organised in partnership with the Laing, Newcastle, this major exhibition will be the first show dedicated to his paintings for over 30 years, and the largest display of his works seen in public since his death. Bringing together his most famous paintings from collections around the world, as well as previously unseen and newly-restored works, the exhibition will reassess this singular figure in art history, and reflect on the enduring influence of his apocalyptic art on painting, cinema and popular spectacle. The show will also examine how Martin’s populism fits into the story of British art, and how his work connects with the culture of today.
I’m Martin Myrone, the curator of the exhibition at Tate Britain, and I’ve been working on the show with the team here at Tate and our exhibition partners at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle and the Millennium Galleries, Sheffield for the last 2½ years on planning, researching, selecting and organising this exhibition. You may have seen the great version of the show which appeared at Newcastle and Sheffield earlier this year. The Tate show is even larger, with a total of over 120 works – major paintings, sketches and watercolours, and his mezzotints and engineering plans. This will be the biggest collection of his works ever seen, and a chance to reassess this fascinating and exciting nineteenth-century artist.