A fantastic new programme has been unveiled at Worcester City Art Gallery & Museum. Throughout 2018 the Gallery aims to bring the best of the nation’s art to Worcester, including outstanding artworks by Worcestershire’s greatest artist Benjamin Williams Leader and contemporary artist Gillian Wearing, plus the stars of the natural history collection will also be making an appearance this summer.
Saturday 17 February sees the opening of Benjamin Williams Leader: Blest by the suns of home. BW Leader became an international success with his paintings of the idyllic English landscape. During World War One, these images took on a new emotional appeal with connotations of a landscape worth fighting for. The exhibition, which is part of the Worcestershire World War 100 project, includes artworks from the Worcester City collection as well as loans from private and public collections, including The River Llugwy near Bettws-y-Ceod generously lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection.
The summer show promises lots of family fun, as ever. Visitors can explore half a million years of Worcestershire’s history in Ice Age and come face to face with a Neanderthal, crawl inside an Ice Age shelter and meet Fluffy the Woolly Mammoth! Over this enormous timespan there were many changes in climate, from woolly mammoths roaming icy tundra in Bromsgrove, to prehistoric lions hunting the grasslands beneath Bredon Hill. The exhibitionwill bring this little known period of our prehistory to life. Ice Age opens on 16 June and will be on throughout the summer holidays. The exhibition is produced in partnership with the Worcestershire Archive and Archaeology Service as part of the Lost Landscapes project.
In the autumn, works from the internationally renowned Arts Council Collection by contemporary artists Gillian Wearing and Mark Titchner will be shown alongside Worcester’s collection of historical satire and political prints in the exhibition What Do We Want. Turner Prize-nominated artist Mark Titchner will also be working with Worcester residents to create new artworks which will be seen across the city.
Councillor Mike Johnson, Chairman of the Joint Museums Committee says: “We are very pleased to bring world-class art to Worcester throughout 2018. It is a rich and varied programme and we should relish the fact that these incredible works of art will be on show on our doorstep. We look forward to welcoming visitors old and new to enjoy the exhibitions, events and permanent displays.”
Councillor Lucy Hodgson, County Council Cabinet Member for Communities says: “The Art Gallery & Museum plays an important part in the cultural offer of the County by celebrating our rich and diverse collections; complementing them with outstanding works of art from national collections and adding to the local economy by bringing in visitors.
“My personal highlight will be the opportunity to celebrate Worcestershire’s greatest artist, Benjamin Williams Leader.”
The ever-popular monthly bite-sized talks return with the first talk on Tuesday 13 February ‘The Giant Wombat in the basement’ which highlights research into the Ice Age collections. There’s also the opportunity to meet Garston Phillips, our longest-serving curator, for almost five decades of stories, anecdotes and an opportunity to see some of the curiosities from our Foregate Street basement store on Monday 22 January, 1- 2pm.
Not forgetting our youngest visitors, Young at Art fun and creative sessions for the under 5s continue in January. The first session at the Gallery is on 18 January, 10.30 – 12.
There are plenty of talks, events and activities in the new Art Gallery & Museum leaflet which can be picked up from the Gallery or the Tourist Information Centre at the Guildhall.