So far this year Norwich’s eclectic and energetic art scene has already packed a real punch; we’ve had - and still have - ground-breaking exhibitions gracing the many gallery spaces in the city (make sure you catch the fantastic Alberto Giacometti: A Line Through Time and Henri Cartier Bresson: Paris exhibitions, both currently at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts).
However, the news that British Art Show 8 (a hugely significant exhibition that only takes place once every five years) is coming to East Anglia for the first time - in fact, heading right onto our doorstep in Norwich, no less - is such exciting news that we’re eagerly counting down until June 24th, when it all gets underway - not long to go now!
Everyone, from hard-core art lovers (who’ve probably travelled far and wide to see the show in previous years - yes, it’s most definitely worth travelling for! - to those with a mild curiosity interested in culture and the arts will soon be rubbing their hands with glee! The city is predicted to be bursting with visiting arty folk (the last show in 2010 attracted almost half a million visitors) and wonderful pieces of work across the city to peruse at leisure – thankfully it’ll be here until September!
Hold your horses, though; before the public opening on 24 June, there’ll be a magnificently unique event on Saturday 18 June to celebrate its arrival and start things off with a real bang. Celebrated artist Alan Kane will harness the long tradition of horse processions in Norwich by bringing six horse-drawn carts (each decorated with handmade horse brass) to the city centre, delivering BAS8 to venues whilst also broadcasting its arrival to the people of Norwich. The procession kicks off at 11.30am in Chapelfield Gardens, so I’d recommend you trot down there nice and early to get a good view. From then on you can follow its progression around the city to Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery and Norwich University of the Arts (NUA), finishing off at The Forum.
Numerous artists, many with strong international reputations, are involved, all having been specially selected for this show’s line up by the show’s curators Anna Colin and Lydia Yee; an arty judging panel if you will. Both Anna and Lydia are hugely respected in their field and have travelled all over the UK to ensure the resulting collection of artists are spot on. Visit Norwich Castle, The Forum and various NUA buildings (including East GalleryNUA and their St Georges building) to view the collections; entry is free to all venues apart from the Castle (read more), where you can also join a guide every Friday (12.30pm) to learn about their insight into the exhibition (free with museum admission).
Of course, all this buzz isn’t confined to the exhibitions themselves; Norwich Castle’s Tuesday Lunchtime Talks are dedicating one of their sessions on 5 July to discussing “where’s the ‘show’ in the British Art Show?” as well as opening for a late-night takeover – an evening inspired by British Art Show 8 with the Young Norfolk Arts Festival and NUA students. Meanwhile The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts is hosting a special discussion event on the 7th July to coincide with the show, exploring the way British artists use sculpture over the last 50 years and what role it plays in today’s contemporary art practice. There’ll be many more events taking place as the show gets into full swing over the summer; keep an eye out on our website or why not subscribe to our blog (via the homepage) to make sure you don’t miss a thing!
Images: top image: courtesy of Bedwyr Williams & Limencello Gallery; bottom image: Denisa Ilie