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Night in the Museum: Ryan Gander Curates the Arts Council Collection

18 May 2016

Opening at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
16 July – 16 October 2016
then touring the UK until Autumn 2017

The Arts Council Collection is delighted to announce details of a major new touring exhibition which will see leading British artist, Ryan Gander, select work from this world class national collection of modern and contemporary British art. This exhibition will launch at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park as part of the celebrations for the Arts Council Collection’s 70th anniversary, which includes the launch of the National Partners Programme and a rich programme of new commissions on show around the UK. One of the commissions, As old as time itself, slept alone, by Ryan Gander will be presented as part of this exhibition. Night in the Museum will bring together over 30 works by artists including Roger Hiorns, Henry Moore, Angela Bulloch and Wolfgang Tillmans and provides an opportunity to view this internationally significant Collection through the eyes of one of the country’s best loved artists. 
Ryan Gander has achieved international recognition for a prolific and diverse body of work embracing a vast range of media, from sculpture and installation, to books and games, and has even attempted to introduce a new word and created a unique range of sportswear. Gander deliberately avoids a signature style, preferring instead to remain open to limitless possibilities, unpicking myths and creating new associations, all with a mischievous playfulness, a deadpan wit and a fascination for storytelling. 
For this new exhibition, Gander has made a selection of works from the Arts Council Collection’s 8,000 works of British art in a range of media. The majority of these were acquired from young and emerging UK-based artists over the past 70 years.  
In his approach to the selection of objects for the show, Gander has established objective systems to forge unlikely correspondences and unions. He has investigated all of the figurative sculpture in the Collection, selecting those which appear to be involved in the act of looking. He has presented these works so that they appear to gaze at works featuring the colour blue; a colour which is important in Gander’s work, and which for him represents the abstract ideas often found in modern and contemporary art. Gander’s approach will provide an entirely fresh view of the Arts Council Collection and of modern and contemporary British art. His show will challenge traditional methods of selection and connoisseurship, prompting us to rethink the role of the curator, the art object and the spectator. Conventional histories and display techniques will be overturned with an engaging wit, yet always with a sense of empathy and a strong desire to prompt new narratives and relationships.

As old as time itself, slept alone (2015-16) is a major new work by Ryan Gander commissioned by the Arts Council Collection to mark its 70th anniversary. This work will be presented as part of the exhibition. The work is the latest in a significant series of sculptures in which Gander re-imagines Edgar Degas’ famous work The Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer (1880-81) in different scenarios and stages in life. Drawing parallels to the themes of the exhibition, Gander employs the traditions of figurative sculpture to create a contemporary conceptual artwork. In this piece a diminutive dancer sleeps on the floor in front of a large blue cube. She will be similar in size to those made by Degas, with the blue cube acting as a cipher for contemporary art, or as Gander describes it: ‘a cartoon version of contemporary art.’
Ryan Gander said:
‘There is something about switching the roles of the spectator and the spectacle that is fascinating. When I look at sculptures of the human figure I am frequently left thinking of all the things that they’ve seen: the visitors to the museum, school children and art students attempting to earnestly recreate them in pastels and charcoal, the other artworks that surround them, artists and technicians installing, their maker perhaps, discreetly calling in on them with proud eyes. This is the world of the silent onlooker.’
Jill Constantine, Head of the Arts Council Collection said:
‘Ryan Gander is one of the most innovative and exciting artists working in the UK today and we are delighted that he has accepted our invitation to curate an exhibition from the Arts Council Collection.  He has deployed that same imaginative approach to curate this show which is not only visually stunning and will be enjoyed by the many visitors who will see it in different venues across the country but will also introduce us to new ways of looking at contemporary art.’
The exhibition will represent the work of over thirty artists, including Reg Butler, Patrick Caulfield, Jacob Epstein, Roger Hiorns, Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Kerry Stewart, Wolfgang Tillmans and Rebecca Warren. Also included are major loans of work by artists including Angela Bulloch, Matthew Darbyshire, Don Brown, Mario García Torres and Thomas Houseago.
Night in the Museum will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book featuring new texts by Ryan Gander and Ossian Ward, and produced by Hayward Publishing. (More details to be announced shortly.)

Ryan Gander and Francesco Manacorda, Artistic Director, Tate Liverpool and co-curator of the Liverpool Biennial 2016 will be in conversation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park Centre, Longside Gallery on 14 July 2016 at 18:00, tickets £8 (concessions £6). Tickets available from ysp.co.uk
Night in the Museum is an Arts Council Collection touring exhibition, which launches at Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park before touring to three further venues until Autumn 2017. The Arts Council Collection is managed by Southbank Centre, London.

For more information or images please contact:
Filipa Mendes | SUTTON | +44 (0) 207 183 3577 | +44 (0) 7715 666 052 | filipa@suttonpr.com
Listings Information:
Night in the Museum: Ryan Gander Curates the Arts Council Collection
16 July–16 October 2016
Longside Gallery, Yorkshire Sculpture Park
Tour details:
26 November 2016–12 February 2017
The Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery 
25 February–21 May 2017
The Attenborough Centre, Leicester  
3 June–24 September 2017
To be confirmed

Notes to Editors:
The Arts Council Collection is the national loan collection representing the best of British art from 1946 to the present day and holds over 8,000 works which are available for loan to spaces across the UK. With more than 1,000 loans made to over 100 venues a year, it is seen by millions of people annually in public spaces from galleries and museums to hospitals, libraries and universities. Representing one of the most important Collections of British modern and contemporary art in the world, it holds important work from Francis Bacon, Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore to Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley and Grayson Perry. The Collection promotes British art and supports British artists by buying art from them at an early stage in their careers. The Arts Council Collection is based at Southbank Centre, London and at its Sculpture Centre at Longside in Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre, occupying a 21-acre site that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. Southbank Centre is home to the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and the Hayward Gallery as well as The Saison Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. For further information please visit www.southbankcentre.co.uk. Southbank Centre is carrying out vital restoration work on the Hayward Gallery, Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room to make the buildings fit for future generations to enjoy, more information can be found here: letthelightin.southbankcentre.co.uk
Hayward Gallery at Southbank Centre plays a key role in creating imaginative, high profile exhibitions in London and within the UK through Hayward Touring. The touring programme and the Arts Council Collection are managed by Southbank Centre on behalf of Arts Council England, and add to the organisation's distinctive national remit.
Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) is the leading international centre for modern and contemporary sculpture. It is an independent charitable trust and registered museum (number 1067908) situated in the 500-acre, 18th-century Bretton Hall estate in West Yorkshire. Founded in 1977 by Executive Director Peter Murray, YSP was the first sculpture park in the UK, and is the largest of its kind in Europe, providing the only place in Europe to see Barbara Hepworth’s The Family of Man in its entirety alongside a significant collection of sculpture, including bronzes by Henry Moore, and site-specific works by Andy Goldsworthy, David Nash and James Turrell. YSP’s core work is made possible by investment from Arts Council England, Wakefield Council, Liz and Terry Bramall Foundation and Sakurako and William Fisher through the Sakana Foundation. YSP was named Art Fund Museum of the Year in 2014.


Night in the Museum Press Release

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High Res Image Downloads


Ryan Gander, As old as time itself, slept alone (2015-16). A 70th Anniversary Commission for the Arts Council Collection ©the artist 2016. Photo: Anna Arca

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David Batchelor I Love King's Cross and King's Cross Loves Me, 5 (2001) and Uli Nimptsch Seated Figure (1951), Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London ©the artists 2016. Photo: Anna Arca

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David Batchelor I Love King's Cross and King's Cross Loves Me, 5 (2001) and Uli Nimptsch Seated Figure (1951), Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London ©the artists 2016. Photo: Anna Arca

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Size: 560Kb