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Set in a beautiful Edwardian building, Grundy Art Gallery is a free contemporary art space in the heart of Blackpool town centre. Exhibitions change every 2-3 months, and are complemented by a diverse programme of talks, events and workshops.

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New Light Programme at the Grundy thanks to a Prestigious Award

Blackpool Council’s Grundy Art Gallery was awarded £80,000 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.”

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Neon's a hit as latest Grundy exhibit tops 12,000 visits

The Grundy Art Gallery has had one of its most successful exhibitions to date with NEON: The Charged Line.

Neon the Charged Line - exhibition at Grundy Art Gallery

The exhibition, which featured artwork from worldwide acclaimed artists such as Tracey Emin, Joseph Kosuth and Francois Morellet, formed an integral part of last year’s LightPool festival and is estimated to have attracted around 12,000 visitors in to the gallery over the course of its 18 week run.

NEON: The Charged Line ran from 1 September 2016 up until 7 January this year, enticing visitors from across the UK with its celebration of 38 neon artworks from around the world hosted inside the Edwardian gallery.

Artists included Joseph Kosuth, Tracey Emin and Francois Morellet, who was a significant early practitioner from Paris, experimenting with neon since the 1960s but who passed away earlier in 2016. Morellet’s work has not been widely exhibited in the UK and the exhibition in Blackpool afforded a rare opportunity to experience some of his most celebrated works.

The Grundy also commissioned several outdoor works from artists including Tim Etchells and Paulina Olowska which brought the exhibition out onto the streets of Blackpool. Alongside the main exhibition, the gallery also staged an exhibition in its Rotunda of drawings from the Blackpool Illuminations Archive. These beautiful Art Deco designs dated back to the early 1930s and to a time when Blackpool was just starting to establish its pioneering name within the history of light and neon. NEON was a key part of ‘LightPool’, which also included projections on the tower and the ‘LightPool Festival’ in October.

The exhibition was funded by money from a Coastal Communities Fund grant awarded to Blackpool towards the Illuminations.

As well as tourists and residents visiting, the gallery also saw visits by upwards of 800 young people from school and youth groups. The exhibition was the second exhibition of light-based art, forming part of the Grundy’s ongoing Light Programme exhibiting international light works and build on Blackpool’s tradition and relationship with light and its world-famous Illuminations.

The Grundy launched its Light programme with 2015’s exhibition Sensory Systems which featured artists such as Angela Bulloch, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Anthony McCall. Sensory Systems attracted 7,000 visitors, with the neon exhibition almost doubling this figure.

The exhibition attracted international press and was featured in the Telegraph, the Guardian and on the BBC website. Curator Richard Parry spoke about the exhibition on BBC Radio 4’s Front Row and the exhibition was also featured in popular magazines and online formats including Wallpaper, World of Interiors and After Nyne. Press coverage for the exhibition across local, national and international channels is estimated received more than 10million hits. One Blackpool resident described to gallery staff how her cousin in Italy had found out about the exhibition, and audience research shows how people travelled from across the UK to see the exhibition, including as far away as Cornwall, Devon, London and Nottingham.

For over 100 years, the Grundy has played a vital and unique role in Blackpool’s arts, heritage and tourism offer and is the only municipal art gallery until Preston.

Research shows that many visits to the gallery are made by individuals who come specifically to Blackpool to visit or participate in the gallery’s exhibition programme and events. The gallery also encourages visitors to the town outside of the traditional tourist season and, during the season, invites people to venture beyond the usual beach and seaside amusements and explore further into the town.

After a four month run, NEON: The Charged Line is now closed.

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Key Emin artwork to form 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. 

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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

Queen Street
Blackpool
Lancashire
FY1 1PU


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Emma Hart and Jonathan Baldock: Love Life, Act 2

Grundy Art Gallery Blackpool

Until 12 August

In Baldock and Hart's most ambitious collaboration to date, the artists have radically re-imagined the traditional seaside show of Punch and Judy. Through ceramic sculptures, videos and installations the artists transform the living quarters of the puppets into an oversized, warped and darkly humorous place.

Emma Hart and Jonathan Baldock: Love Life, Act 2 at the Grundy Blackpool

In the re-imagined domestic setting of Mr Punch visitors can expect to see a world that involves a giant infant with Cyclops head in a large pink baby walker, an oven stacked with anthropomorphic pots and pans and a washing machine spewing out its contents.


In Blackpool, Hart and Baldock have commissioned Blackpool Council’s Illuminations Department to create a giant new illuminated sculpture and the exhibition will also feature a new film commission.

Running alongside the the exhibition by Hart and Baldock will be a parallel display involving historic Punch and Judy puppets and paintings from Blackpool’s collections and loans to the gallery.

The gallery will be undertaking workshops and programmes for young people in particular, which will explore some of the complex issues explored in the exhibition in a supported and structured way.

Love Life: Act 2 follows Act 1 at PEER in London last year. Act 3 will open at De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill-on-sea in October.

Love Life is a collaboration between PEER, Grundy Art Gallery and De La Warr Pavilion supported by Arts Council England through the National Lottery.

In 2016 Emma Hart was awarded the Max Mara Art Prize for Women and her solo exhibition Mamma Mia! will open at the Whitechapel Gallery on 12 July running to 3 September. Jonathan Baldock's work (in collaboration with Ian J Brown) is currently on show in the Maritime Museum in Hull and his solo exhibition There's No Place Like Home will open at CGP Gallery, London on Sunday 11 June.

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‘On the Beach’ Photography Exhibition at Grundy Art Gallery

Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool

Until 19 August 2017 in the Foyer and Rotunda Gallery 

A significant exhibition of newly discovered images by social documentary photographer Shirley Baker will take place this summer at the Grundy Art Gallery.

On the Beach exhibition at Grundy Art Gallery Blackpool

The exhibition titled ‘On the Beach’ takes a look at holidaymakers from Blackpool, one of the most popular and historic English resorts, and juxtaposes these with images from the affluent, sun-drenched, continental Mediterranean resort of the Côte d’Azur.

On the Beach exhibition at Grundy Art Gallery Blackpool

Baker’s photographic studies go beyond the simplicity of one country being hotter than the other. The two collections of observational photographs, taken five years apart in the 1970’s, reflect upon the two different seaside settings and explore the cultural backdrop and contrasting behaviours of holidaymakers.

The ease by which the French holidaymaker parades, ‘strips off’, relaxes, fools around, kisses and caresses, and seriously basks in pleasure, contrasts sharply with their British counterparts. In Blackpool, in this period there is a certain restraint in the subjects. The holidaymakers actually shy away from the sunshine, seemingly afraid of what it might do to them.

Alan Cavill, Blackpool Council’s Director with responsibility for Arts, said: “I am sure that these fascinating photographs will be enjoyed by both Blackpool residents and visitors to the town. The quality of the exhibition is testimony to the Grundy’s growing national and international profile as a leading contemporary art gallery in the North West.”

‘Shirley Baker: On the Beach’ runs concurrently with the exhibition ‘Shirley Baker: Women and Children; and Loitering Men’ at Manchester Art Gallery (19 May – 28 August 2017). This selection of Baker’s work captures the spirit of communities living in Manchester and Salford during the years of urban clearance, from early 1960 to 1980.

Grundy Art Gallery, Queen Street, Blackpool FY1 1PU. Tel: 01253 478170 (If you go along, please mention that you saw it here, thanks!)

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Grundy hosts over 400 Blackpool and Fylde artists

Almost 450 artists and schoolchildren from the Blackpool and Fylde Coast showed why the Grundy is Blackpool’s art gallery and a key civic host to the local creative community.

2017 began with the gallery lifting the lid on artistic production in Blackpool and the Fylde Coast with a call for residents to enter the open submission exhibition.

Grundy local artists open submission exhibition

Blackpool Art Fayre at Grundy Art Gallery

Following hot on the heels of one the gallery’s most successful exhibitions to date: ‘NEON: The Charged Line’, which was visited 12,000 times and had people travelling from across the UK, the gallery showed a tour de force of art from the along the Fylde Coast, allowing visitors to see the broad range of artistic talent bubbling away in the region.

 

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Drop in to the gallery today and see Blackpool Museum project curator, Emma Heslewood deliver a talk on the Professor Green Punch and Judy collection on display- lovely activity to do on your lunch time! 12:30- 1.00 pm

 

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Learn more about the Professor Green Puppet collection today with @BlackpoolMuseum curator Emma Heslewood, 12:30-13:00. #PunchandJudy https://t.co/uwYHzBWmwS

 

“Learn more about the Professor Green Puppet collection today with @BlackpoolMuseum curator Emma Heslewood, 12:30-13:00. #PunchandJudy”

 

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Join @BlackpoolMuseum curator Emma Heslewood for a talk on Punch and Judy Professor Green collection Fri 21 Jul 12.30-13:00. https://t.co/E0hiKts5LY

 

“Join @BlackpoolMuseum curator Emma Heslewood for a talk on Punch and Judy Professor Green collection Fri 21 Jul 12.30-13:00.”

 

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Thanks @FamiliesBlackpl for adding us to the list of family activities to do on a budget! https://t.co/f8eAzsxLir

 

Here's a few ideas for things to do in Blackpool and budget.

 

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This weekend is Blackpool Carnival! Sunday 23rd July https://t.co/PaPGXEytwV https://t.co/dXe9qlzdZC

 

“This weekend is Blackpool Carnival! Sunday 23rd July https://t.co/PaPGXEytwV”

 

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Come to our Art Explorer Day Sat 29 https://t.co/YJbPrniyr1 onto Zine Making workshop with Hannah Gaunt 10-12 pm. https://t.co/YNPMGMA7h7 https://t.co/stn4pDwegm

 

“Come to our Art Explorer Day Sat 29 https://t.co/YJbPrniyr1 onto Zine Making workshop with Hannah Gaunt 10-12 pm. https://t.co/YNPMGMA7h7”

 

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Join us on Sat 29 July for Zine-Making workshop with artist Hannah Gaunt. (10-12pm) https://t.co/YNPMGMiwpz #artexplorerday https://t.co/6srTqtPBVr

 

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Thanks for the review @Herbhastosay @FADsite of our current exhibition Jonathan Baldock & Emma Hart LOVE LIFE: Act 2 on till 12 August!

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Great article in @guardian on Emma Hart getting to grips with ceramics #LoveLife #MaxMaraWomenprizewinner @Emma_Art https://t.co/PYTpEsSabE

 

Venus flytraps, socks with mouths and giant heads … as the artist’s new show Mamma Mia! opens, she tells us about putting therapy into clay

 

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Looking forward to Family Day @WordpoolFest Sat 1 July 12-4. Join artist Tina Demsey for Snip, Snap and Chat workshop @dempo34 #AnimalAgents https://t.co/SR9LejVYJp

 

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21st July 2017
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@visitBlackpool on the Sat 29 July! Make sure to find out more about @BFI @WGFilmFest @_AuntySocial_ #FamiliesDay visitblackpool.com/latest-news/pi…

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Learn more about the Professor Green Puppet collection today with @BlackpoolMuseum curator Emma Heslewood, 12:30-13… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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Join @BlackpoolMuseum curator Emma Heslewood for a talk on Punch and Judy Professor Green collection Fri 21 Jul 12.… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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Thanks @FamiliesBlackpl for adding us to the list of family activities to do on a budget! familiesonline.co.uk/local/blackpoo…

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This weekend is Blackpool Carnival! Sunday 23rd July tinyurl.com/ybvcy3do pic.twitter.com/dXe9qlzdZC

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Come to our Art Explorer Day Sat 29 Jul.Book onto Zine Making workshop with Hannah Gaunt 10-12 pm.… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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19th July 2017
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@BlackpoolMuseum curator Emma Heslewood will be delivering a talk on the Punch and Judy Professor Green collection… twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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Join us on Sat 29 July for Zine-Making workshop with artist Hannah Gaunt. (10-12pm) eventbrite.co.uk/e/zine-making-…twitter.com/i/web/status/8…

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Thanks for the review @Herbhastosay @FADsite of our current exhibition Jonathan Baldock & Emma Hart LOVE LIFE: Act 2 on till 12 August!

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This is amongst the delights I found recently in Blackpool! fadmagazine.com/2017/07/07/har…

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