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Grundy Art Gallery

Circus Exhibitions at Grundy Art Gallery

Circus Exhibitions at Grundy Art Gallery

The Grundy is Blackpool’s art gallery with a year round programme of contemporary and visual art exhibitions and events. Including solo and group exhibitions together with talks, workshops and educational activities.


Grundy Art Gallery : Circus Exhibitions – Summer Programme

  • Launch event Saturday 14 July, 2pm – 5pm including talks and tours of the exhibitions.
  • All Welcome
  • Exhibitions open on 14 July until 8 September 2018 at Grundy Art Gallery.

Throughout 2018, under the banner of Circus250, a programme of UK-wide exhibitions and events is taking place to celebrate 250 years of circus.

Circus250 has nominated Blackpool as one of its ‘Six Cities of Circus’ and with other partners across Blackpool, Grundy Art Gallery is celebrating this anniversary.

Bringing together internationally recognised artists, award-winning photographers, locally based talent and internationally significant collections, Grundy Art Gallery will present five separate, yet inter-linked exhibitions that directly and indirectly explore some of the history, themes, ideas and images associated with circus.

Come One Come All, A Celebration of Blackpool Tower Circus

To celebrate the 250th anniversary of circus, The Grundy has collaborated with the Blackpool Museum Project to create an exhibition celebrating the internationally significant Blackpool Tower Circus collection. It will explore the acts, the clowns and the audiences of this iconic circus.

This 1946 Blackpool Tower circus poster is from the Blackpool Heritage Collection. The two photos above show the poster in the process of conservation – you can see the tears and damage on the left one. The fully conserved poster will feature in the exhibition.

This exhibition will complement the Grundy Art Gallery’s summer programme comprising of five separate, yet interconnected exhibitions that directly and indirectly explore the history, ideas, themes and images of Circus.

The exhibitions will be supported by a programme of public talks and events. Please view the Grundy’s website for further information.

Claire Griffiths#RetiredPerformers: TheInterval

#RetiredPerformers is a series of images and audio interviews being captured over 12 months by Blackpool-based photographer, Claire Griffiths.

Celebrating progress to date, The Interval is a snap-shot, mid-way through the project, of some of the stories she has gathered from the chauffeurs, dancers, performers and musicians who were active in Blackpool in, and prior to, the 1970’s.

Sir Peter Blake: Life as a Circus

Sir Peter Blake’s, Life as a Circus comprises two sculptures that were originally commissioned by Blackpool Council and presented as part of The Great Promenade Show. This summer they will be presented at the Grundy Art Gallery for the first time.

Peter Lavery: Circus Works: 1968-2018

For the past 50 years, award-winning photographer Peter Lavery has been photographing circus performers around Britain.

Selected from the hundreds of photographs that make up this complete series, this exhibition highlights connections and links to Blackpool’s circus history and includes previously unseen work specially chosen for the presentation at Grundy Art Gallery.

A Clown Walks Into A Gallery…

This is a group exhibition that brings together five internationally recognised contemporary artists, whose works individually, and collectively, reference the act of performance, the role of disguise and the line between fiction and fact. Featuring works by Janice Kerbel, Laura Lancaster, Philip Newcombe, Pilvi Takala and Ulla von Brandenburg.

Luke Stephenson | Helen Champion

Held in the collection of the Clowns’ Gallery-Museum and distributed across two sites in London and Somerset, is a group of over two hundred hand painted eggs. These eggs record the painted faces of members of Clowns International and act as a form of copyright register for Clowns.

In 2017, Luke Stephenson’s photographs of these eggs were published as The Clown Egg Register (Particular Books), alongside Helen Champion’s texts which give an insight into the lives of the clowns represented. Grundy Art Gallery is delighted to be presenting a selection of Luke’s photographs and Helen’s texts alongside examples of the 3D eggs that they feature.

Opening Times at Grundy Art Gallery

Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, closed Sundays and Mondays (and Bank Holidays)
Last admission is at 4.40pm

FREE admission

Old Grundy Art Gallery Exhibition Catalogues

We’ve been having a stock inventory and now we’re having a sale on old exhibition catalogues: some a low as £5! The gallery shop is open 10am – 5pm, Tues – Sat alongside our exhibitions!

Have you been and looked in the Grundy shop? It specialises in artist made jewellery and organises small spotlight exhibitions of emerging and established designer/makers.  It also stocks arts journals, exhibition publications, creative toys, and greetings cards.

Grundy Art Gallery appoints new Curator

In November 2017 the Grundy Art Gallery named Paulette Terry Brien as the gallery’s new curator.

Paulette Terry Brien, Grundy Art Gallery Curator

Paulette has more than 25 years of experience working within contemporary visual art and is well known for raising the profile of the North West region on a national and international level.

As co-founder and co-director of The International 3, a contemporary art gallery based in Salford, Paulette delivered a year round programme of exhibitions and events and has been instrumental in developing projects such as Manchester’s annual contemporary art fair, The Manchester Contemporary.

Paulette comes to the Grundy with a strong track record of identifying and nurturing emerging talent, commissioning and curating high quality contemporary art exhibitions for both gallery and non-gallery settings. Over the years, she’s utilised her wealth of experience to support hundreds of emerging artists, many of whom have gone on to achieve regional, national and international recognition.

As well as providing peer support, Paulette has also been successful on many occasions in brokering the acquisition of work by regional artists into major public and private collections, such as the Arts Council Collection and Whitworth Art Gallery’s collection.

Paulette said she was thrilled to have been selected as the new curator of the Grundy and is keen to continue to champion regional artists from the North West.

New Light Programme at the Grundy thanks to a Prestigious Award

Blackpool Council’s Grundy Art Gallery was awarded £80,000 in 2016 by the Art Fund to buy new artworks around the theme of light.

Grundy Art Gallery Blackpool

The Award is part of the Art Fund’s £400,000 ‘New Collecting Awards’ programme which this year saw six awards given to museums around the British Isles.

The £80,000 award to Grundy Curator Richard Parry was the joint highest sum, with the same amount going to curators at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton and at the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh.

The idea of the awards is to invest in the development of promising curators at early points in their careers across the UK. Through the scheme, museum professionals are each given a budget to pursue a completely new avenue of collecting in their institutions.

Exhibition at Grundy Art Gallery

Five out of six of the awards were presented to support contemporary art collecting. The scheme not only benefits the museums’ collections, but helps the curators to learn at first-hand about the process of making great acquisitions, and contribute significantly to their professional development.

The award follows in the wake of the success of ‘Sensory Systems’, the widely praised exhibition which saw international artists display spectacular works exploring the connection between light and sensory perception this autumn, to coincide with the Illuminations.

The award is a significant boost for the gallery, which has seen a doubling of audiences through the light strand of its programming and follows a further award from the John Ellerman Foundation, supporting new work with the collection, which has enabled important behind-the-scenes improvements including the employment of a new Collections Manager.

Curator Richard Parry said: “For 2016 we are having a year-round focus on our collections, starting with our current Ben Cain exhibition which is inspired by paintings from the collection, and going right through into at least 2017. This award couldn’t come at a better time and means that for the first time since before the War the gallery has a substantial amount to buy new artworks, allowing us to develop our new strand of work around light.”

“Blackpool is in many ways the ‘home’ of light in the UK because of the Illuminations, and this is a huge endorsement of the cultural significance of light in the town. Nowhere in the country currently focusses on light in this way and we’ve seen a fantastic response to the exhibition Sensory Systems which has shown there is an appetite for international artwork of this kind here.

“Although light is only one part of the gallery’s work, there is an ambition to make the Grundy nationally recognised for it, and that’s starting to happen already through this award.”

Key Emin artwork forms part of Grundy’s permanent collection

A key exhibit in one of Blackpool’s most successful art exhibitions in recent years has been acquired as part of the Grundy Art Gallery’s permanent collection.

I Know I Know by Tracey Emin

‘I Know I Know I Know’ by Tracey Emin was displayed as part of the recent NEON: The Charged Line exhibition which ran from September last year until January.

The acquisition is the first made by the gallery using funding from the Art Fund’s New Collecting Award, their scheme that enables curators to pursue new avenues of collecting for their museums.  They granted curator Richard Parry £80,000 to purchase key artworks relating to light.

The work was recently displayed at the gallery in NEON: The Charged Line, a major success with both audiences and critics which traced how artists have worked with neon since the 1960s. The exhibition saw Emin alongside other stars including Joseph Kosuth, Fiona Banner, François Morellet and Keith Sonnier and coincided with Blackpool’s famous Illuminations’ LightPool project.

Emin, who is well known for her work with fabric, embroidery and installations including the notorious ‘My Bed’ which was displayed as part of the Turner Prize in 1999, has also established a reputation for her evocative and emotionally charged work in neon. The artwork the Grundy has purchased, titled ‘I Know I Know I Know’, is from 2002 and is one of the earliest works in neon undertaken by the celebrated artist of the so-called “young British artist” generation.

The acquisition marks the first purchase made possible through a New Collecting Award from Art Fund, and also sees additional support from the John Ellerman Foundation.

Over the past decade the Grundy has established a reputation as one of the North’s leading centres for contemporary visual art, undertaking ambitious exhibitions which explore the relationship between art and popular culture.

Through the light programme and the expansion of the light collection, the Grundy is looking to become a national centre for artists working in the medium, alongside its wider programme.

Emin’s work will be shown alongside other recently acquired artworks as part of the Blackpool Art Fayre.

The exhibition also includes works by internationally renowned artist Yinka Shonibare MBE and 2017 Fourth Plinth Nominee Heather Phillipson, as well as emerging and more established artists from across the North West and the wider UK.

All the works have been purchased with the assistance of external grants, awards and support.

More about Grundy Art Gallery

Grundy Art Gallery is Blackpool’s art gallery and offers a year round programme of contemporary and visual art exhibitions and events including solo and group exhibitions together with talks, workshops and educational activities.

The gallery is housed in a Grade II listed Carnegie building and houses a collection that was created in 1908, following a bequest by brothers John and Cuthbert Grundy. Today the collection includes works by Ruth Claxton, Martin Creed, Laura Ford, Gilbert and George, Brian Griffiths, Augustus John, Haroon Mirza and Eric Ravilious.

The Grundy Art Gallery was founded in 1911 by the brothers John and Cuthbert Grundy, and has been at the centre of cultural and artistic life in the town for over 100 years. It began with the ambition to show the best art of the day to the people of Blackpool, and this sentiment remains at the heart of what we do today as a leading contemporary art gallery in the North West.

The Grundy aims to inspire audiences through an ambitious and varied year-round exhibitions programme that draws on the unique and invigorating context and heritage of Blackpool, for instance exploring the space between contemporary art, entertainment and popular culture.

Recent exhibitions have featured works by celebrated and critically acclaimed artists including Martin Creed, Brian Griffiths, David Hockney, Pierre Huyghe, Heather Phillipson, Susan Philipsz and Matt Stokes. The gallery has a growing national and international profile and has recently worked with key partners such as LeftCoast in Blackpool, and other institutions such as BALTIC, the British Council and the Hayward Gallery.

The Grundy provides a key space for residents and visitors in which new ideas and ways of imagining the world can be tested and explored, and where resonant encounters can occur between art and audiences. We undertake special programmes tailored for individuals and groups including schoolchildren, young people, families and senior citizens, enabling people of all ages the chance to engage with and discover for themselves the art on display and the imaginations behind them.

Our exhibitions and displays frequently incorporate pieces from our collection, which was started with a bequest by the founding brothers and contains an eclectic range of art and other items from furniture to ceramics, to netsuke ornaments to Victorian oil paintings. Artists include Craigie Aitchison, Ruth Claxton, Martin Creed, Laura Ford, Augustus John, Eric Ravilious and Gilbert and George amongst others.

Grundy is part of Blackpool Council’s Arts Service, which develops and delivers arts projects which engage Blackpool’s residents, communities and visitors in the arts, supports the town’s arts community, placing the arts the core of Blackpool’s unique and important cultural environment.

The gallery is an Accredited Museum and also receives funding from Arts Council England as a National Portfolio Organisation and from the John Ellerman Foundation.

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Grundy Art Gallery

Grundy is a leading contemporary visual arts venue in the northwest region. It is a Grade II listed building situated in the centre of Blackpool. Its stunning Edwardian architecture hosts an extensive programme of temporary exhibitions including contemporary, modern and historical art, featuring established and emerging artists, as well as displays from its permanent collection.
Grundy Art Gallery
Grundy Art Gallery6 days ago
Join us this coming Saturday 8th Dec from 2pm to hear Uthra Rajgopal, Assistant Curator of Textiles and Wallpapers at @WhitworthArt talk about tapestries as a means of conveying the narrative of our times.

The event is FREE, register here:
Grundy Art Gallery
Grundy Art Gallery2 weeks ago
📢 Calling all Fylde Coast based artists, if you have an FY postcode, our OPEN 2019 applications are now live!

Click the link below for info:

Call into the gallery for you application form!


Twitter Feed

2 days ago
Join us today at 2pm to hear Uthra Rajgopal, Assistant Curator of Textiles and Wallpapers at @WhitworthArt talk about tapestries as a means of conveying the narrative of our times.

The event is FREE, register here:
5 days ago
A HUGE thank you to all of the volunteers who assist Grundy with our exhibition and events programme. Life would be harder without you.
#InternationalVolunteerDay 🙏


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