More Things To Do in and around York and at home despite the second wave. List No 17, courtesy of The Press, York

Keeping an ear to the wind for the sound of an artbeat. Charles Hutchinson stands by The ScallopMaggi Hambling’s tribute sculpture to composer Benjamin Britten on the beach at Aldeburgh, Suffolk. Picture: Celestine Dubruel

WE may be beset by tiers before bedtime, but the arts world will not lie down meekly in the face of the pandemic’s second wave. Instead, Charles Hutchinson highlights events on-going, on the horizon and online.

Robin Ince and Laura Lexx: The last hurrah for Your Place Comedy this weekend

The rule of six, over and out: Robin Ince and Laura Lexx, Your Place Comedy, live-streaming on Sunday, 8pm

YOUR Place Comedy, the virtual comedy club launched in lockdown by Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones and ten independent Yorkshire and Humber arts venues, concludes with its sixth line-up this weekend.

The last laugh will go to The Infinite Monkey Cage co-host Robin Ince and Jurgen Klopp’s number one fan, Laura Lexx, introduced by remotely by regular host Tim FitzHigham, alias Pittancer of Selby, as they perform from their living rooms into yours. The show is free to watch on YouTube and Twitch via yourplacecomedy.co.uk, with donations welcome afterwards.

Matt Haig: Discussing his tale of regret, hope, forgiveness and second chances

Online literary event of the week: Matt Haig, The Midnight Library, Raworths Harrogate Literature Festival, streaming from 8am tomorrow (October 23)

MATT Haig, the award-winning author with the York past, discusses his latest novel, The Midnight Library, a tale of regret, hope and forgiveness set in the strangest of libraries, one that houses second chances.

Haig asks a burning question: If you could wipe away your past mistakes and choose again, would you definitely make better choices? If you can’t view the free stream at 8am, second chances abound: “Come back here on Friday, at a time to suit you,” say the festival organisers. Go to: https://harrogateinternationalfestivals.com/literature-festival/matt-haig/

Offering glimpses into the psyche and fragments of the unconscious: Rachel Goodyear’s Limina, part of York Mediale’s Human Nature exhibition at York Art Gallery

Exhibition of the week and beyond: Human Nature, York Mediale/York Museums Trust, at Madsen Galleries, York Art Gallery, until January 24 2021

THIS triptych of installations under the banner of Human Nature combines the British premiere of Canadian media artist Kelly Richardson’s sensory woodland short film Embers And The Giants with two York Mediale commissions.

London immersive art collection Marshmallow Laser Feast look at the journey of oxygen from lungs to the heart and body in a series of installations that echo the ecosystem in nature inThe Tides Within Us.  

Manchester artist and animator Rachel Goodyear’s Limina combines a surrealist, Freudian and Jungian series of animations and intricate drawings, responding to an untitled sculpture from York Art Gallery’s collection as she offers glimpses into the psyche and fragments of the unconscious.

Hannah Davies: York writer, tutor, actress and spoken-word performer, taking part in Signal Fires Festival

Fired-up event of the week: Northern Girls, Pilot Theatre and Arcade, at Scarborough YMCA Car Park, for Signal Fires Festival, October 27 and 28, 7pm to 8pm

YORK company Pilot Theatre team up with new Scarborough arts makers Arcade to present Northern Girls by firelight for the nationwide Signal Fires Festival.

The one-hour performance sets free the stories of girls and women who live along the North East coastline, encouraging them to write and present tales that matter most to them in 2020.

Short pieces commissioned from Asma Elbadawi, Zoe Cooper, Maureen Lennon and Charley Miles will be complemented by York spoken-word artist Hannah Davies’s work with a group of young women from Scarborough.

Re-Wild Geodome at Pavilion Lawn, York Museum Gardens, for York Design Week, October 26 to November 1, 11am to 4pm

Both eyes on the future festival of the week ahead: York Design Week, October 26 to November 1

SUPPORTED by York’s Guild of Media Arts, the York Design Week festival will seek to design a positive future for the city under five themes: Re-Wild, Play, Share, Make Space and Trust.

In Covid-19 2020, the festival will combine in-person events with social-distancing measures in place, and a wide range of online workshops, exhibition seminars and talks.

Look out for workshops bringing together homeless people and architects to work on solutions for housing; sessions on innovation and rule-breaking; an exhibition inspired by a York printing firm; discussions on community art and planning and city trails designed by individual York citizens. Go to yorkdesignweek.com for full details.

Utterly Rutterly: Barrie Rutter’s solo show will combine tall tales, anecdotes, poetry and prose

Barrie’s back: An Evening With Barrie Rutter, The Holbeck, Jenkinson Lawn, Holbeck, Leeds, November 7, 7.15pm

BARRIE Rutter OBE is to return to the stage for the first time since his successful treatment for throat cancer.

The Hull-born titan of northern theatre, now 73, will perform his one-man show at The Holbeck,  home to the Slung Low theatre company in Leeds. The Saturday night of tall tales and anecdotes, poetry and prose will be a fundraiser for the installation of a new lift at the south Leeds community base, the oldest social club in the country.

“I’m absolutely thrilled at the invitation from Alan Lane and his team at Slung Low to perform at The Holbeck,” says Rutter. “What goes on in there is truly inspirational and I’m delighted support this wonderful venue.” 

Meet the Godbers: Jane, Martha, John and Elizabeth

Family business of the autumn: John Godber Company in Sunny Side Up, in The Round, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, October 28 to 31; Hull Truck Theatre, November 17 to 22

THE waiting for Godber’s new play is over. The world premiere of the ground-breaking former Hull Truck artistic director’s Sunny Side Up! will be a family affair, starring John Godber, his wife Jane Thornton and daughter Martha, with daughter Elizabeth doing the stage management.

Written and directed by Godber, the humorous and moving Sunny Side Up! depicts a struggling Yorkshire coast B&B and the people who run it. “Join proprietors Barney, Cath and Tina as they share their stories of awkward clients, snooty relatives and eggs over easy in this seaside rollercoaster that digs into what our ‘staycations’ are all about,” invites John.

Showtime for Anton du Beke and Erin Boag at York Barbican…but not until 2022

Looking ahead to 2021/2022: Dance shows at the treble at York Barbican

STRICTLY Come Dancing’s glittering weekend return to BBC One was a reminder that regular professionals Anton du Beke, Giovanni Pernice, Graziano di Prima, Aljaz Škorjanec and Janette Manrara are all booked to play York Barbican sometime over the rainbow, Killjoy Covid permitting.

Ballroom couple Anton & Erin’s: Showtime celebration of Astaire, Rogers, Sinatra, Garland, Chaplin, Minnelli, Bassey, Tom Jones and Elton John has moved from February 19 2021 to February 18 2022.

Aljaz and Graziano’s Here Comes The Boys show with former Strictly pro Pasha Kovalev has switched to June 30 2021; Aljaz and Janette’s Remembering The Oscars is now booked in for April 21 2021, and Giovanni’s This Is Me! is in the diary for March 17 next year.

Brydon and band: Rob Brydon will add song to laughter in next year’s new tour show

News just in: Rob Brydon in An Evening Of Song & Laughter, York Barbican, April 14 2021

WOULD I lie to you? Actor, comedian, impressionist, presenter and holiday-advert enthusiast Rob Brydon is to play with a band in York. It’s…true!

Yes, Brydon and his eight-piece band will take to the road next year for 20 dates with his new show, Rob Brydon: A Night of Songs & Laughter, visiting York Barbican on April 14 on his second tour to combine songs and music with his trademark wit and comedy. Expect Brydon interpretations varying from fellow Welshman Tom Jones to Tom Waits, Guys And Dolls to Elvis Presley.

The 5ft 7inch Brydon last appeared at York Barbican for two nights of his improvised stand-up show, I Am Standing Up, in October 2017. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

York Mediale embraces city community to the max for second digital arts festival

People We Love: Video portraits focused on people filmed looking at a photograph of someone they love, at York Minster for York Mediale

EXIT York Mediale, the biennial festival launched in 2018. Re-enter York Mediale, recalibrated as a charity to create and deliver a year-round programme of digital arts events across the city.

What’s more, in response to the reaction to the debut programme two years ago, the international new media arts organisation will place a greater emphasis on working closely with York artists, young people and neighbourhoods.

In keeping with the wider arts industry, Covid-19 has had its killjoy impact on York Mediale 2020, although the festival retains its opening date of Wednesday, October 21.

“Prior to Covid, we were planning around 23 projects, but then the world changed,” says creative director Tom Higham. “We’ve had to re-structure our organisation and pivot how we go forward. We lost some funding and suddenly things that we had confirmed and things that were nearly over the line were off.

“We lost £70,000 straightaway, sponsor conversations were dead in the water and venues closed in the lockdown. But we did some speculating and reflecting, and we’ve managed to continue pursuing the small number of projects that would work for now.”

Tom Higham: Creative director of York Mediale

York Mediale 2.0 comprises six new commissions in the form of five world premieres and one UK premiere, in a festival now running from Wednesday into the New Year, whether in York neighbourhoods, online or at two cultural landmarks, York Minster and York Art Gallery.

By comparison, the first Mediale in 2018 was “the largest media arts festival in the UK”, drawing 65,000 people to cutting-edge events over ten days in celebration of York’s status as Britain’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.

Festival number one, being new, attracted the support of City of York Council, Make It York, Science City and both York universities. This time, the key funding has come from Arts Council England in a rise from £100,00 to £284,000.

“That is a vote of confidence, backing the second festival where we’ve had to create a new model to succeed in this new world,” says Tom, defining a festival that will feature artists’ installations and interactive performances, engaging audiences both in person and digitally.

“Initially, as the new kid on the block, it takes a while to build trust and make connections  and to get under the skin of the city,  but the projects that sought to connect with the communities, like the Inspired Youth film-making project, went very well.”

Rachel Goodyear’s Limina: “Offering a glimpse into the psyche and fragments of the unconscious”

Tom continues: “The projects where we engage with parts of the city are much more honest and not forced, so this time it will be a festival focusing on how we connect with our loved ones, our community, nature and culture: themes that are prevalent and poignant in society now after months of lockdown and isolation.

“We looked closely at the works already submitted and worked to develop the pieces that would most closely examine these extraordinary times, picking out the ones that were safe to do and that people would engage with.

“All of these projects resonated with us at the start of 2020 but we could never have imagined how they could develop to so beautifully reflect our worries, hopes and relationships to our communities.”

The possibilities may have narrowed for York Mediale 2020, but that has not dampened Tom’s enthusiasm for festival number two. “The way we can do it amid the pandemic is to develop projects that are outdoors or online…not in dark places with electronic music, like last time,” he says.

“The positive spin is that maybe the dramatic shutdown that has affected the arts allows for a re-set in terms of who makes it, who it’s for and what is possible. It’s a jolt of DIY-ness that’s good for creativity. It strips the ‘bull’ out of what you’re doing and why.

Kit Monkman: York artist and filmmaker bringing a passion project to fruition for York Mediale 2020

“I think people are looking to build on the possibilities of Zoom to do something more creative with what is possible, and York Mediale can do that.”

Among those taking part in the festival will be Marshmallow Laser Feast, fresh from their show at the Saatchi Gallery in London; composer, musician and producer Elizabeth Bernholz, better known as Gazelle Twin, and Kit Monkman’s York arts collective, KMA, whose installations have transformed public spaces, from London’s Trafalgar Square to Shanghai’s Bund.

York Mediale 2020 audiences can discover how the human body is hardwired, synchronised and inextricably linked to nature; experiment with a new form of performance; and explore the invisible transaction between a person and a piece of art and how WhatsApp has shaped communities for the Covid generation at this year’s “diverse, digitally engaged and mentally stimulating” event.

Full details on Absent Sitters (October 21 to 25, online), Good Neighbours, in Layerthorpe, York (October 21 to 25), Human Nature’s triptych of installations at York Art Gallery (October 21 to January 24, York Art Gallery) and KMA’s People We Love, at York Minster (November 2 to 29) can be found at yorkmediale.com.

“Taking on fewer projects but with a longer shelf-life is the way forward for York Mediale, picking the right project, doing them rigorously, and then they can go on to other cities,” says Tom.

“Trying to develop projects like that is surely the longer-term vision for York Mediale, not being a receiving festival, not just inviting artists into the city, but doing something that’s in-depth, engaging with what’s already here and then taking it elsewhere too with the stamp of Made In York.

The York Mediale 2020 logo

“Our responsibility as a comparatively small, new festival structurally is to find ways to push boundaries of technology and art.

“Like it has for all of us, this year has been grim, but to be able to focus on what we think we’re good at, fitting in with pushing our vision of the city, has been positive. The opportunity to be a bit more truthful with ourselves, to go where the energy and projects are in the city, to do that with artists from York that share our belief, that is progress.”

York Mediale 2020 highlights

Absent Sitters, online, October 21 to 25

GAZELLE Twin, a vital contemporary voice in the UK electronic music scene, collaborates with York artist and filmmaker Kit Monkman and Ben Eyes and Jez Wells from the University of York music department to experiment with a new form of performance in Absent Sitters.

In this intimate, shared event, you will be guided by a “performer medium” to investigate what is live performance in 2020? The audience, participating via video call, will become part of an online audio-visual experience that examines the power of “collective imagination” and the importance of “presence/absence” in a live event. “Are we live? Can we connect? Who are you?” it asks.

“The culmination of Absent Sitters will take place on London’s South Bank in Summer 2021 at the Royal Festival Hall with the BBC Concert Orchestra,” reveals Tom Higham.

Good Neighbours, in Layerthorpe, York, October 21 to 25

Good Neighbours: Micro-politics of communities and a weirdly familiar fictional documentary walk. Picture: Kgabo Mametja and Koos Groenewald

GOOD Neighbours, from Amsterdam’s Affect Lab – interactive artist Klasien van de Zandschulp and researcher Natalie Dixon – is based on research into the micro-politics of communities and the increase in WhatsApp neighbourhood watch groups through lockdown.

Individual audience members will use their own mobile devices as they immerse themselves in a weirdly familiar fictional documentary walk alongside live performance, co-ordinated by Lydia Cottrell, in the Layerthorpe area of York.

“In this time of Black Lives Matter, living under lockdown and communities delivering to the vulnerable, Good Neighbours is a long-term study of how communities work,” says Tom. “It’s gone from village halls and pubs to WhatsApp neighbourhood watch groups.”

Absent Sitters: Online audio-visual experience that examines the power of “collective imagination”

Human Nature, at York Art Gallery, October 21 to January 24 2021

THIS triptych of installations under the banner of Human Nature is jointly curated by York Mediale and York Museums Trust, uniting for an ambitious show at York Art Gallery as a centrepiece of York Mediale 2020.

Embers And The Giants, a short film by Canadian media artist Kelly Richardson, makes its UK premiere, exploring human intervention through thousands of tiny drones mimicking a natural spectacle, suggesting a time when we will need to amplify nature in order to convince the public of its worth.

The Tides Within Us is a new commission from immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser Feast that looks at the journey of oxygen from lungs to the heart and body in a series of installations that echo the ecosystem within nature. 

Fine artist Rachel Goodyear continues her exploration of animation-based work with Limina, a series of animations supported by her intricate drawings, each responding to an untitled sculpture from York Art Gallery’s collection; all offering a glimpse into the psyche and fragments of the unconscious.

Seeing, by Rachel Goodyear, inspired by the York Art Gallery collection

People We Love, at York Minster, November 2 to 29

THIS  new commission from Kit Monkman’s York creative collective KMA will be positioned in the York Minster Nave, where a new temporary “congregation” will be made up of a collection of five large high-definition screens, showing video portraits focused on people that have been filmed looking at a photograph of someone they love.

The viewer will not know who is being looked at but will experience the emotion on the face projected on screen before them, interpreting each unspoken story in People We Love

Visitors can add their story to the installation as a pop-up booth will be on-site, ready to capture the love stories of the city without the need for words.

“People We Love is a passion project for Kit that he’s been talking about for ten years,” says Tom. “It’s a love letter to the citizens of York by the best media artist in the city. It’s for the people of York, by the people of York, but I think it’s a project that will continue to travel the world after York.  

“I’ve been talking to Kit since 2016 about the seeds of what he’d like to do next, as KMA had not done a project for a few years and this was the one he wanted to do and then take to the world.”

More people from People We Love: On show at York Minster in November

Quiet reigns as Kaiser Chiefs’ smash hit York Art Gallery exhibition wins award

A Quiet moment: Kaiser Chiefs, minus Ricky Wilson, who was ill that day, launch When All Is Quiet, their ground-breaking collaborative exhibition with York Art Gallery, in December 2018. Picture: Charlotte Graham

OH my god, Leeds indie rock band band Kaiser Chiefs’ collaboration with York Art Gallery has hit the top spot in the prestigious Museums + Heritage Awards.

The cutting-edge exhibition When All Is Quiet: Kaiser Chiefs In Conversation With York Art Gallery won the Partnership of the Year Award at a Covid-enforced virtual ceremony, broadcast on M + H Awards’ Facebook and YouTube channels on Tuesday night.

The Kaisers’ audio-visual show drew more than 25,000 people to its run in the Madsen Galleries from December 2018 to March 2019.

At the invitation of York Art Gallery curators, the Leeds band took on the pioneering challenge of exploring the boundaries between art and music, using the gallery collections as a starting point.

Anna Preedy, director of the annual Museums + Heritage Awards, said of the award-winning exhibition: “Collaboration is increasingly important and here we have a project which is the definition of a true partnership, achieving something which neither York Art Gallery nor Kaiser Chiefs could not have done on their own.

From Riot to Quiet: Kaiser Chiefs swap raucous gigs for contemplative art in York Art Gallery. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

“Their collaborative project, When All Is Quiet, was bold in its creativity and hugely inspiring – a very worthy winner.”

Reyahn King, chief executive of York Museums Trust, said: “We’re thrilled to have won this award. The exhibition was bold and brave in its approach, with our curators and Kaiser Chiefs working closely to create a unique experience which presented our collections in new and innovative ways.

“It was fantastic to work in partnership with them on the project and to create something which proved so popular with a wide range of audiences.”

Suitably upbeat Kaiser Chiefs drummer Vijay Mistry enthused: “Wow! Thanks so much for this award; it’s really greatly received, especially at this challenging time. “We knew that we had created something unique and special and it’s amazing for that to have been recognised. Huge thanks to York Art Gallery for the collaboration and massive thanks to everyone involved; your contributions were priceless.”

York Art Gallery and Kaiser Chiefs were shortlisted for the Partnership of the Year Award alongside: Royal Collections Trust, Barber Institute of Fine Arts and University of Birmingham; Lichfield Cathedral; Oxford University Gardens, Libraries and Museums (GLAM) and Iffley Academy Partnership and National Galleries Scotland and North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership.

Riot of colour: Kaiser Chiefs’ Nick “Peanut” Baines, Vijay Mistry, Simon Rix and Andrew White bestride their When All Is Quiet exhibition at York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

What exactly was in the When All Is Quiet: Kaiser Chiefs In Conversation With York Art Gallery exhibition?

YORK Art Gallery invited Kaiser Chiefs to work with curators to re-examine the gallery’s collections, with a brief to explore the boundaries between art and music in an experimental way designed to appeal to a wide range of audiences.  

Using their position as musicians as a starting point, the band delved deep into the Exhibition Square gallery’s Fine Art collections and paired paintings with a Set List of songs inspired by the art.

Visitors were then able to view the artworks, while listening to songs chosen by the Leeds band.

Tuning in: A York Art Gallery visitor listens to Mercury Rev’s The Dark Is Rising, matched by Kaiser Chiefs to Jack Butler Yeats’s That We May Never Meet Again. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

Kaiser Chiefs also brought together works by sound artists that had resonated with them while travelling. Among them were Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet, Mark Leckey’s short filmFiorucci Made Me Hardcore and Elizabeth Price’s Turner Prize-winning work The Woolworth’s Choir Of 1979.

Inspired to design their own art installation, the Kaisers used light, colour and lyrics from the songs on the Set List to create Silent Gig, an immersive environment that offered visitors a reconfigured experience of a live music show and its elements but without sound.

When All Is Quiet increased visitor numbers by 39 per cent, by comparison with the same period the year before. Overall, more than 25,000 people visited during what is a traditionally quiet time of year for York Art Gallery, with more than 45 per cent of viewers being aged 18 to 44, an increase of nearly 15 per cent on the 2018 average.

Got it licked: Kaiser Chiefs, in tandem with York Art Gallery, win the Partnership of the Year Award at the Museums + Heritage Awards

Charles Hutchinson’s guided tour of When All Is Quiet, in conversation with Kaiser Chiefs members Simon Rix and Vijay Mistry. First appeared in The Press, York, on December 14 2018. Courtesy of The Press, York

MOVE over Andy Warhol. Here comes the new Pop Art in the form of When All Is Quiet, Kaiser Chiefs In Conversation With York Art Gallery.

Using their position as pop musicians as a starting point, the chart-topping Leeds band have co-curated an experimental exhibition, the first of its kind.

“We are not artists, we are musicians, and so we’ve chosen to use this opportunity to work with the gallery to explore sound as a medium – our medium – and to open that up further for us and for the viewer/listener,” said the Kaisers en masse. “To stretch ourselves, to explore the edges between music and art, creation and performance.”

Band members Simon Rix, Vijay Mistry, Nick “Peanut” Baines and Andrew White attended Thursday’s launch (13/12/2018) but singer Ricky Wilson was absent through illness, although plans are afoot for Wilson to “do something” in January. Watch this space.

Working in tandem with York Art Gallery staff, Kaiser Chiefs have created an exhibition with three interlinking elements. Firstly, they have brought together works by internationally regarded sound artists Janet Cardiff, Mark Leckey and 2012 Turner Prize-winning Elizabeth Price, who have inspired the Kaisers to look at sound in new ways.

Exhibition centre-piece: Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet in the central Madsen Gallery at York Art Gallery. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

The main gallery space has been given over to Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet, which allows you to walk through an oval of speakers to hear a reworking of Thomas Tallis’s Elizabethan work Spem In Alium Nunquam Habui, from the singers’ perspective, as witnessed through 40 individual speakers, one for each voice from the Salisbury Cathedral Choir in 2001.

The band selected Cardiff’s sound installation on account of its relevance to how they hear their own music while performing: “an all-encompassing space of sound”, as they put it.

Secondly, in the Kaiser Chiefs Take Over York Art Gallery’s Collection room, the Kaisers have chosen 11 artworks from York Art Gallery’s collections, spanning 1798 to 2013, from LS Lowry and John Hoyland to Jack Butler Yeats and Bridget Riley, and an accompanying Set List song to be heard on a headset while looking at the picture.

Along with the likes of The Kinks, Kavinsky, Mercury Rev and Super Furry Animals is the 2011 Kaiser Chiefs song that gave the exhibition its title, When All Is Quiet, here bonded with Leeds artist Rebecca Appleby’s Sketch For The Disrupted Expectation.

Thirdly, the band have commissioned a new installation, Silent Gig, that uses light and colour and projected lyrics from the Set List songs to create an immersive environment to offer visitors a reconfigured experience of a live music show, without sound.

Take a bow, Kaiser Chiefs’ lighting designer Rob Sinclair, who also worked his magic on David Byrne’s American Utopia Tour show, as seen at Leeds First Direct Arena on October 21 [2018]. Utilising 73 lights and two tons of equipment, it took two days to build and three days to light, but its silence will certainly be a conversation piece.

Kaiser Chiefs’ Nick “Peanut” Baines, Vijay Mistry, Simon Rix and Andrew White in the Silent Gig installation at York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

“The feeling of euphoria at a gig can come just as much from the production as the song,” says Simon Rix.

Look out for a black door – last seen floating in an ocean in the My Life promo – from a series of Kaiser Chiefs pop videos and Sarah Graham’s Kaisers Rock!, the original cover artwork for the Kaisers’ 2012 album, Souvenir, loaned by owner Marc Macintosh Watson after he heard about the York show.

“We were making our new album [Duck, subsequently released in July 2019] and this exhibition at the same time and the exhibition won the race by a long stretch,” said bassist Simon Rix at Thursday’s launch.

He and drummer Vijay Mistry have taken the leading roles in putting the exhibition together, although all the band have played a part, participating in project meetings with senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram, while dynamic Scottish design company Acme Studios were commissioned by the gallery for the exhibition’s marketing, branding and merchandising, such as T-shirts, mugs and posters.

“When you come into York Art Gallery, the show’s branding runs throughout the gallery, all taken from the band’s own identity,” says Beatrice.

Dr Beatrice Bertram: York Art Gallery senior curator, who held project meetings with Kaiser Chiefs band members for When All Is Quiet

We found it difficult trying to talk about the show while it was taking shape, as it was hard to visualise how it would turn out, rather like I can find it difficult to talk about our albums before they’re finished, but it’s come together really well, all the little details,” says Simon.

“We had initially started looking at the gallery’s archives but were overwhelmed by the sheer body of work,” recalls Vijay.

“We thought, if we look through them all, they’re probably won’t be a show until 2030,” recalls Simon.

Instead, they drew up a long list of possibilities for the Kaiser Chiefs Take Over York Art Gallery’s Collection space, finally settling on the 11. “‘Yorkshireness’ and ‘Northernness’ were important to us, as a Yorkshire band, so that’s why we picked out Turner’s Fountains Abbey work and Lowry too, as we wanted to represent northern art,” says Simon.

“I’m most proud of linking Jack Butler Yeats’s That We May Never Meet Again with Mercury Rev’s The Dark Is Rising,” says Vijay. “I had that piece of music in my head when I looked at the painting, but I’d never owned a Mercury Rev record; I just knew the instrumental version; I sang it, but no-one recognised it, but then suddenly I thought, ‘It could be Mercury Rev’…and I found it!”

The Kaisers were particularly keen to give a give a first northern exposure to Janet Cardiff’s The Forty Part Motet. “Hearing voices through 40 speakers is an experience you can’t find anywhere else,” says Simon. “You can’t set up 40 speakers in your living room, but we thought it was a really contemporary sound installation that you could place at the heat of a gallery.” Best heard, by the way, when all around is quiet.

Rebecca Appleby’s Sketch For The Disrupted Expectation, paired by Kaiser Chiefs with…Kaiser Chiefs’ exhibition title song When All Is Quiet

The Set List

KAISER Chiefs’ “set list” of songs chosen in response to works from York Art Gallery’s collection that reference creation, production or performance were:

Bridget Riley’s Study 4 for Painting With Two Verticals, paired with Julia Holter’s Sea Calls Me Home

L S Lowry’s The Bandstand, Peel Park, Salford; The Kinks’ The Village Green Preservation Society

John Golding’s H.19 (Canticle); The Beach Boys’ Caroline No

Jack Butler Yeats’s That We May Never Meet Again; Mercury Rev’s The Dark Is Rising

Oliver Bevan’s Flickering Grid II; Super Furry Animals’ Pan Ddaw’r Wawr

JMW Turner’s The Dormitory and Transept of Fountains Abbey – Evening; Talking Heads’ Love – Building On Fire

Peter Leonard Donnelly’s Red Plot; Kavinsky’s Nightcall

Malcolm Hughes’s Study No 3; Plastic Bertrand’s Ca Plane Pour Moi

John Hoyland’s Pact; The Cure’s A Forest

Bryan Wynter’s Under Mars; Adam & The Ants’ Prince Charming

Rebecca Appleby’s Sketch For The Disrupted Expectation; Kaiser Chiefs’ When All Is Quiet

Picture the green scene: Kaiser Chiefs line up in shadow play to promote their exhibition at York Art Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Will you dig it all as York Mediale, the digital media arts festival, seeks a cutting edge?

“We want to explore how we connect with loved ones, with our community, with nature and with our culture,” says Tom Higham, York Mediale’s creative director

YORK Mediale returns next month to deliver ambitious and cutting-edge digital arts projects inspired by and reacting to 2020.

For its second iteration, the international new media arts organisation has lined up six new commissions, five being world premieres, the other, a UK premiere.

Running from October 21 into the New Year, the programme of events will take place in York neighbourhoods, online and at two cultural landmarks, York Minster and York Art Gallery.

The first York Mediale in 2018 was the largest media arts festival in Britain, drawing an audience of 65,000 to diverse digital-rooted events over ten days, celebrating York as the UK’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.

The Coronavirus pandemic has led York Mediale to forego the original 2020 festival dates of October 21 to 25, instead “pivoting from a biennial festival to a charity creating and delivering a year-round programme of exceptional digital arts events, embedded in and enriching the creative life of the city of York and beyond”.

In a progression from the 2018 debut, this will involve working closely with York artists, young people and neighbourhoods.

Themes of love, nature and community – particularly poignant at this time following months of lockdown and isolation – will run through artists’ installations and interactive performance, engaging audiences both in person and digitally.

Leading artists in their field from across the world have created work for York, such as Marshmallow Laser Feast, fresh from their show at the Saatchi Gallery in London; composer, musician and producer Elizabeth Bernholz, otherwise known as the artist Gazelle Twin, and arts collective KMA, whose installations have transformed numerous public spaces, from London’s Trafalgar Square to Shanghai’s Bund.

The York community is being encouraged to take part, so today the Mediale team is launching two calls for participation. Firstly, Mediale is calling out for 50 members of the public to feature in a piece that will serve as a memento for the times we live in.

Secondly, in collaboration with York’s Guild of Media Arts and nine other UNESCO Creative Cities of Media Arts, Mediale is launching a call-out to York artists, worth £2,500.

Tom Higham, York Mediale’s creative director for the  2018 festival and now the 2020 one too, says: “York Mediale is a place where, through digital arts, we can explore, challenge and reflect on our lives.

“Plans for this year’s Mediale were well underway as the pandemic took hold. That we’re able to work with artists and producers to create an event at all is something we’re really proud of.”

Mediale planned “as best it could” for what it knew would be a different type of event. “We looked closely at the works already submitted and worked to develop the pieces that would most closely examine these extraordinary times,” says Tom.

“We wanted to explore how we connect with loved ones, with our community, with nature and with our culture. We have been developing projects around those themes, and we’re excited to now present a series of works.

“All of these projects resonated with us at the start of 2020 but we could never have imagined how they could develop to so beautifully reflect our worries, hopes and relationships to our communities.”

York artist and filmmaker Kit Monkman: Collaborating with Gazelle Twin and University of York Music Department for Absent Sitters, an online event at York Mediale 2020

York Mediale audiences will discover how the human body is hardwired, synchronised and inextricably linked to nature; experiment with a new form of performance, and explore the invisible transaction between a person and a piece of art and how WhatsApp has shaped communities for the COVID generation at this year’s “diverse, digitally engaged and mentally stimulating event”.

What digital delights are upcoming in York Mediale 2020-2021?

People We Love, November 2 to 29 at York MInster

THIS commission from creative collective KMA will be positioned in the Minster nave, where a new temporary “congregation” will be made up of a collection of five large high-definition screens, showing a series of video portraits focused on people that have been filmed looking at a photograph of someone they love.

The viewer will not know who is being looked at but will experience the emotion on the face projected on screen before them, interpreting each unspoken story.  

Visitors can add their story to the installation as a pop-up booth will be on-site, ready to capture the love stories of the city without the need for words.

Human Nature, October 21 to January 24 2021 at York Art Gallery

A TRIPTYCH of installations under the banner of Human Nature, curated by York Mediale and York Museums Trust, comes together as a centrepiece of York Mediale 2020 in a “hugely ambitious show”.

Embers And The Giants, a short film by Canadian media artist Kelly Richardson, makes its UK premiere, exploring human intervention through thousands of tiny drones mimicking a natural spectacle, suggesting a time when we will need to amplify nature in order to convince the public of its worth.

The Tides Within Us, a commission from immersive art collective Marshmallow Laser East, looks at the journey of oxygen from lungs to the heart and body in a series of installations that echoes the ecosystem within nature. 

Fine artist Rachel Goodyear presents Limina, a series of animations supported by her intricate drawings, in response to an untitled sculpture from York Art Gallery’s collection; all offering a glimpse into the psyche and fragments of the unconscious.

Absent Sitters, October 21 to 25, online

GAZELLE Twin, billed as “one of the UK’s most vital contemporary voices in electronic music”,  collaborates with York artist and filmmaker Kit Monkman and the University of York Music Department to experiment with a new form of performance.

In this intimate, shared event, you will be guided by a “performer medium” to investigate what is live performance in 2020? The audience, contributing via video call, will become part of an online audio-visual experience that examines the power of “collective imagination” and the importance of “presence/absence” in a live event. Are we live? Can we connect? Who are you? Questions, questions, questions.

Good Neighbours, October 21 to 25, The Groves, York

GOOD Neighbours, from Amsterdam’s affect lab – interactive artist Klasien van de Zandschulp and researcher Natalie Dixon – is based on research into the micro-politics of communities and the increase in WhatsApp neighbourhood watch groups through lockdown.

Individual audience members will use their own mobile devices as they immerse themselves in a weirdly familiar fictional documentary walk alongside live performance, taking place in The Groves area of York.

What exactly is York Mediale?

York Mediale is an international media arts organisation that celebrates York as the UK’s first and only UNESCO Creative City of Media Arts.  The independent arts charity was founded in 2014 to mark that designation.

As well as bringing new commissions from leading artists to the city for each festival, Mediale provides opportunities for the best emerging talents to showcase their art. Through incorporating technologies into their works, artists of all kinds will challenge, provoke, interrogate and celebrate our cities, our landscapes, our lives.

York Art Gallery unmasks Your Art Gallery and Views of York and Yorkshire as first exhibitions of masked-up summer return

York Art Gallery senior curator Beatrice Bertram stands by Richard Jack’s Return To The Front, Victoria Railway Station, on its return to the exhibition frontline for Your Art Gallery. All piictures: Anthony Chappel Ross

YORK Art Gallery had to curtail the Miller’s tale of Pop Art book covers in its ground-floor galleries when Covid-19 brought a sorry end to son of York Harland Miller’s homecoming show.

Those galleries have opened once more, however, Miller’s York, So Good They Named It Once making way for a celebration, or two celebrations, of the YAG collections from August 20.

Senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram has chosen the works for Views of York & Yorkshire, ranging from L S Lowry’s Clifford’s Tower to a dozen newly conserved works, courtesy of the Friends of York Art Gallery, never seen on public display previously.

As the second exhibition title Your Art Gallery: Paintings Chosen By You would suggest, you have indeed made the choices from “some of York Art Gallery’s most well-known paintings” for the walls and floor of the two side Madsen galleries .

Beatrice Bertram with a selection of works depicting York Minster in the Views of York & Yorkshire exhibition

More precisely, more than 400 people took part in an online poll, when choosing ten works from 20, Parmigianino’s Portrait Of A Man Reading A Book(c.1530), Richard Jack’s Return To The Front, Victoria Railway Station(1916) and Barbara Hepworth’s drawing Surgeon Waiting (1948) among them.

William Etty, the 18th century York artist whose statue greets visitors in Exhibition Square, inevitably features too. “We always have to show Etty! We have the largest repository of his works in the world,” says Beatrice.

Other favourites were selected through a week of five head-to-head clashes on Twitter and by a Friends of York Art Gallery online poll.

To qualify for selection, the works must have been in storage, returned from a loan elsewhere or not been shown for a number of years; none of them being on display when the gallery was closed for the lockdown.

Sarah Steel, marketing and communications officer at York Museums Trust, with Catherine Davenant, 1656-69, by Artist unknown

The poll and Twitter choices are complemented by artworks with chronological or thematic links, alongside new YAG acquisitions by John Atkinson Grimshaw (Liverpool Docks At Night) and Scarborough artist Jade Montserrat, plus some of the gallery’s Twitter #CuratorBattle contenders in lockdown, most notably Grayson Perry’s ceramic, Melanie. 

Explaining the philosophy behind the linking exhibitions, Beatrice says: “These exhibitions were a perfect chance to engage with our audience, as having to close the gallery from March to August was so frustrating when we so want to connect with our visitors.

“To celebrate the reopening of York Art Gallery, we wanted to showcase our rich collection by bringing artworks out of store. These two new exhibitions do just that.

“We hope visitors enjoy viewing the beautiful topographical landscapes of Yorkshire and admiring the paintings which they voted for display in Your Art Gallery: Paintings Chosen by You.

Millie Carroll, York Museums Trust’s digital communications officer, stands beside Parmigianino‘s Portrait Of A Man Reading A Book (circa 1530)

“Thank you so much to everyone who got involved, and for telling us why the works you chose resonated with you by writing labels. We’ve loved reading your submissions – variously heartfelt, humorous, perceptive and poignant – and it’s made the curation of the show a wonderful experience. We hope visitors will enjoy these personal accounts as much as we did.” 

Involving the public in curating a show was “innovative, fun and hugely enjoyable, both for those who took part and for us,” says Beatrice. “It’s been incredibly rewarding and revealing to read people’s comments on their choices, expressing their feelings, how a particular work resonated with them, how they connected with them.

“It was noticeable how they were drawn to works depicting nature, or depicting gatherings or live performances, such as L S Lowry’s The Bandstand, Peel Park, Salford, because of wanting to experience the buzz of a performance again.

“They were looking to works from wartime too, connecting with another time of terrifying, unprecedented change, and the surgeon’s mask in Barbara Hepworth’s Surgeon Waiting struck a chord because of Coronavirus.”

Wakefield and St Ives artist Barbara Hepworth’s Surgeon Waiting: selected for the Your Art Gallery exhibition

Summing up her reaction to the selections, Beatrice says: “While there were some I expected them to choose, there were surprises too. All the women artists went through from the choices, which I was particularly pleased to see.”

Aside from the public choices, Beatrice is keen to highlight the York Art Gallery acquisitions on show, such as a series of works by Jade Montserrat (born 1987) acquired through the Contemporary Art Society in 2020.

“We’re always looking at our collections policy, always seeking to achieve a more diverse representation, though that doesn’t preclude the Grimshaw acquisition, because we’re also always looking out for great works too.

“Jade Montserrat is a contemporary artist, whose work is inspired by growing up in Scarborough. She’s brave, bold and fearless and we’re excited that she’s represented in our collection.”

Eye to eye: Millie Carroll glances at Bryan Kneale‘s 1958 portrait of Sir Herbert Read. Copyright: Bryan Kneale

Look out too for a work with a new attribution: St John The Baptist, now accredited to the 17th century Flemish artist Hendrik de Somer. “Art Detective have come up with a very persuasive attribution for that painting,” says Beatrice. “There are not many examples of his work in this country, so that’s exciting.”

In the central Madsen gallery is the Views of York & Yorkshire exhibition of city, country and coast: Beatrice Bertram’s choices of topographical paintings and works on paper, the latter selected with her exhibition assistant, Genevieve Stegner-Freitag, the Friends of York Art Gallery MA Research Scholar.

Works on show span William Marlow’s The Old Ouse Bridge, York, painted in 1763, to Ed Kluz’s View Of Exhibition Square, York, from 2012. At the heart of the show is York Art Gallery’s W.A. Evelyn Collection, donated to the gallery in 1931 from the estate of philanthropist Dr William Arthur Evelyn (1860-1935).

As his collection of 1,500 prints, watercolours, drawings and engravings focused on York and Yorkshire, the gallery has since added further works of York and beyond the city walls, expanding the collection to 4,000, aided by the Evelyn Award annual competition that elicited new works too.

Grayson Perry’s 2014 ceramic Melanie, one of York Art Gallery’s Twitter #CuratorBattle contenders in lockdown. Copyright: Grayson Perry

Among the highlights is the gallery acquisition on show for the first time, Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding’s Rivaulx Abbey. Shouldn’t that be Rievaulx Abbey? “Artistic licence!” says Beatrice.

Along with works by JMW Turner (Fountains Abbey), Letitia Marion Hamilton, John Piper, Thomas Rowlandson, Ethel Walker and Joseph Alfred Terry,  Grinton artist Michael Bilton’s Approaching Storm Over Calver Hill leaps out too.

“Combining canvas, oil, enamel and paper, it shows a disused quarry with post-industrial marks and pits from former lead mines, and by using different materials, Bilton makes it look like it’s constantly moving, and you can really feel like a storm is approaching,” says Beatrice.

Exhibition assistant Genevieve set to work on selecting 12 works from the Evelyn Collection for conservation. “For the most part, the prints were in pretty good condition but not exhibitable but with the Friends’ help, 12 have been restored that had never been exhibited before,” she says.

Senior curator Beatrice Bertram brushing up on York artist William Etty’s Monkbar, York ( (circa 1832-43)

“I was looking for works that were not only in good condition but also works from the same period, the mid-19th century, in three specific genres: Picturesque, Realist and Topographical.”

Genevieve, from Washington DC, is studying on the Art History programme at the University of York, arriving in the city last September, when her first experiences had an impact on her subsequent choices for restoration being dominated by York Minster (or York Cathedral, as several works call Europe’s largest Gothic cathedral building).

“The first thing I did when I came to York was to view the Minster. I’d seen pictures before, but we just don’t have buildings like that in the United States,” she says. “To see living history is so powerful, and I then wanted to pick out works in different genres that treat that history very differently.

“One of the nice things about the timing of working on the show is that it coincided with people not being able to go into the city since the March lockdown and that makes our appreciation of the Minster really come alive.”

Millie Carroll, in silhouette, with John Varley’s Children Swimming Under The Old Ouse Bridge, York (1805), left, and L S Lowry’s Clifford’s Tower, York (1952-53). Copyright: The Estate of L S Lowry

Now, once more we can appreciate that history, that architecture, the city’s art collections, in person, as Beatrice acknowledges: “The real pleasure is to be able to show the public engagement in the gallery, becoming the curation voice of an exhibition, resonating with our current times,” she says.

“We’ve missed our audience so much, and it’s lovely for everyone to be able to stand close to artworks again, to breathe art in again. There’s no replacement for that experience.”

York Art Gallery has introduced free admission to its permanent collections, with timed tickets available at yorkartgallery.org.uk, and a Pay As You Feel initiative for Views of York & Yorkshire and Your Own Gallery, recommending a sum of £3, £5 or £7. Please note, booking is essential, along with the wearing of a mask or facial covering.

“We are in a challenging financial situation, as is every gallery in the country, so we would welcome contributions on a Pay As You Feel basis,” says Beatrice. “We are excited to be open again and to present exhibitions, but if we are going to be able to keep doing this, we shall have to fund-raise.”

Storm brewing: A masked-up Millie Carroll adds to the swirl of colours in Michael Bilton’s 1998 work Approaching Storm over Calver Hill. Copyright: Michael Bilton

VIEWS of York & Yorkshire and Your Art Gallery have opened against the backdrop of York Museums Trust warning that it would “run out of cash in January 2021”, if more financial support were not forthcoming.

The trust runs York Art Gallery, York Castle Museum, the Yorkshire Museum and York St Mary’s but revealed in a report to the City of York Council executive last week that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about an “immediate financial threat to YMT’s continued existence”.

So much so that the trustees have registered a serious incident report with the Charities Commission, placing all four at risk of closure after the Coronavirus lockdown led to a “drastic loss of income at the very start of the peak visitor season”, leaving the trust facing a £1.54m deficit. 

At present, the city council provides £300,000 a year to the trust. The report, however, states the trust requires funding support of £1.35m this year and up to £600,000 in 2021 to ensure the visitor attractions remain open and the trust collections continue to be looked after.

The council has proposed to write a letter of guarantee, promising to provide the trust with up to £1.95m of the funds needed. One factor in what sum the councillors might agree will be whether the trust receives Government funding from the Culture Recovery Fund for cultural organisations to cover October 2020 to March 31 2021. The deadline for applications is September 5.

New dates set for Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years pots show at York Art Gallery

Let’s celebrate! You can put a date in your 2021 diary for Grayson Perry’s Cocktail Party (1989) at CoCA, York Art Gallery, every day from May 28 to September 5. Picture: copyright Grayson Perry/Victoria Miro

GRAYSON Perry’s Covid-crocked exhibition of “lost pots” at York Art Gallery will now run from May 28 to September 5 2021.

This major new display of Perry’s earliest works, Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years, will be showcased in the Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA).

Developed by the Holburne Museum in Bath, the touring exhibition is the first to celebrate Perry’s earliest forays into the art world, reintroducing the “explosive and creative works” he made between 1982 and 1994.

The 70 works have been crowd-sourced through a national public appeal, resulting in these “lost pots” being assembled for display together for the first time since they were made.

“This show has been such a joy to put together,” said Perry, when the show was first announced. “I’m really looking forward to seeing these early works again, many of which I have not seen since the Eighties.

“It’s as near as I will ever get to meeting myself as a young man, an angrier, priapic me with huge energy but a much smaller wardrobe.”

The Pre-Therapy Years show should have been the centre of attention at CoCA from June 12 to September 20 this year, but the Coronavirus pandemic intervened.

2003 Turner Prize winner Perry, meanwhile, kept himself busy by launching Grayson’s Art Club, his pledge to “battle the boredom” of the lockdown through art, in a six-part series on Channel 4 from April 27 that attracted a million viewers a week.

From his London workshop, the 60-year-old Essex transvestite artist, potter, broadcaster and writer took viewers on a journey of artistic discovery in themed shows designed to “encourage you to make your own work in the new normal of isolation”.

Now, Perry devotees can look to the horizon, awaiting the arrival of his pots in York next May.

“It’s as near as I will ever get to meeting myself as a young man, an angrier, priapic me,” says Grayson Perry of reacquainting himself with his “lost pots” in The Pre-Therapy Years exhibition

Dr Helen Walsh, York Museums Trust’s curator of ceramics, says: “We are delighted to be showcasing the ground-breaking early works of such a renowned and influential artist.

“It is fascinating to see how his craft has progressed and evolved since he began working as an artist. His early ceramic works show that the distinctive style, themes and characters have always been central in his decoration.

“To be able to bring these works together for public display, many of which are usually hidden away in private collections, is absolutely thrilling.

“We are very much looking forward to seeing Grayson Perry’s ceramic works displayed in the beautiful Centre of Ceramic Art alongside our own collection of British studio ceramics.”

The exhibition will shine a light on Perry’s experimentation and exploration of the potential of pottery to address radical issues and human stories. The 70 works will provide an opportunity to enjoy his clever, playful and politically engaged perspective on the world as these often challenging and explicit pieces reveal his early steps towards becoming a compelling commentator on contemporary society.

Explaining how the exhibition came together, curator Catrin Jones says: “When we proposed the exhibition, Grayson responded really positively because, he said, ‘no-one knows where those works are’. So, we asked the public and were absolutely overwhelmed by the response.

“What followed was an extraordinary process of rediscovery as we were contacted by collectors, enthusiasts and friends, who collectively held over 150 of his early works.”

The first task was to process photos of the pots, plates and drawings that arrived in the inbox. “We asked all sorts of questions about the works and where they came from,” says Catrin. “We logged all the pottery marks and provenance information, as well as the wonderful stories of how their owner came to have a genuine Grayson Perry.”

Catrin and her team then sat down with Perry to look through the “extraordinary and varied” selection of artworks. “It was during this process that Grayson remarked that seeing the works again was a powerful reminder of his ‘pre-therapy years’,” she recalls.

Grayson Perry’s Melanie, one of his Three Graces, first exhibited in York at CoCA and now in York Art Gallery’s Your Own Gallery show

What can visitors look forward to seeing from next May. The Pre-Therapy Years begins with Perry’s early collaged sketchbooks, experimental films and sculptures, capturing his move into using ceramics as his primary medium.

From his first plate, Kinky Sex (1983), to his early vases made in the mid-80s, Perry riffed on British vernacular traditions to create a language of his own.

The themes of his later work – fetishism, gender, class, his home county of Essex and the vagaries of the art world – appear in these early works, marked by their urgent energy.

Although much of his output consisted of vases and plates, Perry’s early experiments with form demonstrate the variety of shapes he produced: Toby jugs, perfume bottles, porringers, funeral urns and gargoyle heads.

The Pre-Therapy Years begins in 1982, when Perry was first working as an artist and then charts his progress to the mid-1990s, when he became established in the mainstream London art scene.

After completing his art degree at Portsmouth in 1982, Perry had moved to London, where he lived in a Camden squat with singer Marilyn and the Welsh conceptual artist Cerith Wyn Evans, collectively enjoying creative freedom while sharing limited resources.

During these early years, Grayson encountered the Neo Naturists, a group of freewheeling performance artists, whose visual and creative approach would have a profound impact on his work.

Consequently, the exhibition provides a snapshot of a very British time and place, revealing the transition of Grayson’s style.

He progresses from playful riffs on historic art, such as old Staffordshire pottery, along with crowns (the mixed-media Crown Of Penii, 1982) and thrones (Saint Diana, Let Them Eat S**t, 1984 – inspired by his fascination with Princess Diana) into a style that is patently his own. His plates and vases become rich with detail that tell tales of our times and experiences, such as 1989’s Cocktail Party.

Much of the iconography of Perry’s output has an angry, post-punk, deeply ironic leaning, combining cosy imagery with shocking sexual or political content.

In its Familiarity Golden, one of two “everywoman” tapestries from Grayson Perry’s The Essex Tapestries: The Life Of Julie Cope, went on display from February 2020 at Nunnington Hall

Many of the works displayed in The Pre-Therapy Years tell a very personal story for Perry, particularly in the evolution of Claire, who first appeared in the early 1980s, inspired by such powerful women as television newsreaders and Princess Diana, rather than the exuberant child-like figure Perry created after her “coming out” party in 2000.

To accompany the rediscovery of Perry’s artworks, the Holburne Museum is illustrating the exhibition with photos and snapshots of the era, again sharing hitherto unseen glimpses of Perry as he journeyed from angry, ironic young artist to one of British art’s best-loved figures.

CoCA first exhibited a Grayson Perry ceramic, Melanie, in July 2015 as its centrepiece talking point after York Art Gallery’s £8 million transformation.

Melanie is one of three women from his Three Graces work, joined by Georgina and Sarah in the Miss Plus Size Competition.

“First seen in Grayson’s Who Are You? documentary, Melanie is a voluptuous figurative piece with a strong narrative that discusses the changing view of  what constitutes feminine beauty,” said curator of ceramics Helen Walsh on its arrival.

Perry commented on his Three Graces: “In the history of sculpture, female forms such as these were often seen as fertility goddesses to be prayed to for children and plentiful harvests. Nowadays, we are more likely to see a growing health problem.”

Melanie is now featuring in York Art Gallery’s re-opening exhibition, Your Art Gallery – Paintings Chosen By You, on show since August 20, with timed tickets available at yorkartgallery.org.uk. Admission is free although you are asked to Pay As You Feel, with suggested payments of £3, £5 or £7.

In May 2014, accompanied by his childhood teddy bear Alan Measles, Perry opened the Meet The Museums Bears special event in the York Museum Gardens in full transvestite regalia as part of York Museums Trust’s contribution to the Connect 10 Museums At Night national celebration.

Earlier this year, from February 8, Perry’s Stitching The Past Together tapestries went on show at Nunnington Hall, near Helmsley. Out went the National Trust country house’s 17th century Verdure tapestries for conservation work; in came a pair of Grayson’s typically colourful and thought-provoking Essex House Tapestries: The Life Of Julie Cope (2015).

Hanging in an historic setting for the first time, in the Nunnington Hall drawing room, this brace of large-scale, striking works tells the story of Julie Cope, a fictitious Essex “everywoman” created by the irreverent Chelmsford-born Perry.

NEWSFLASH

GRAYSON Perry and his wife, author, psychotherapist and broadcaster Philippa Perry, are to make a second Channel 4 series of Grayson’s Art Club in 2021.

“I’m so pleased and proud Art Club is coming back,” he says.”It’s a joyful team effort with the stars being the artists who send in their wonderful works and tell us their stories. Of course, it’s not principally about art, it’s a celebration of life.”

Hepworth, Hockney, Riley, Etty, Spencer…who will YOU choose for Your Art Gallery?

Surgeon Waiting, by Barbara Hepworth, one of the paintings in the York Art Gallery collection being put to a public vote for the Your Art Gallery exhibition from August 20. Artwork copyright: Bowness, Hepworth Estate.. Picture: York Museums Trust

YORK Art Gallery is inviting you to choose the paintings you love and have missed the most during lockdown to feature in a new exhibition from August 20.

From Barbara Hepworth to Henri Fantin-Latour, Paul Nash to Bridget Riley, Your Art Gallery – Paintings Chosen By You will showcase a selection of works from the Exhibition Square gallery’s rich collection of paintings, voted for by the public, alongside further works chosen through Twitter polls.

There will be an opportunity too to write short labels for the painting you like the most, with the favourite responses being printed and displayed next to the work itself.

To choose your favourite works, visit yorkartgallery.org.uk and click on the Your Art Gallery – Paintings Chosen By You page. You can then rate the paintings from one to five stars, and those that prove the most popular will be included in the show. The deadline to make your choices is next Wednesday, July 29.

The Twitter polls are up and running already, beginning on Monday (July 20) and ending today (July 24). Each day, two paintings are pitched into battle against each other from 5pm for you to make your choice.

Clifford’s Tower, York, 1952-53, by L S Lowry, chosen by senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram for the Views of York & Yorkshire exhibition at York Art Gallery. © The Estate of L S Lowry. Picture: York Museums Trust

Senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram says: “We’re really excited to be re-opening our galleries and welcoming people back to come and see the wonderful art in our collections. 

“We thought what better way to re-open than by giving our audiences the opportunity to choose the paintings they want to see. We hope as many people as possible will vote for their favourites through the online survey or the Twitter polls and also write a few words about one specific work, telling us why it means so much to them.

“We can’t wait to see which choices you make in what will be a truly fascinating exhibition of work curated by you.”

The online vote will involve 20 of the “most famous and popular works from the gallery’s permanent collection”, but none of them on display prior to lockdown, from L S Lowry to David Hockney; William Etty to fellow York artist Albert Moore.

The ten most popular works from the poll will feature in the show, with accompanying labels written by voters. The winners will be announced online on July 30.

“We can’t wait to see which choices you make in what will be a truly fascinating exhibition of work curated by you,” says York Art Gallery senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram

These works and the Twitter top five will be shown alongside five paintings chosen by the Friends of York Art Gallery from ten works, as well as a new John Atkinson Grimshaw acquisition and curators’ favourites.

Several entries by the gallery into York Museums Trust’s Curator Battles on Twitter, run throughout lockdown, also will be included.

A second show will open on August 20 too, Views of York & Yorkshire, curated by Dr Bertram for the central Madsen Gallery.

Much-loved paintings and works on paper depicting York and the surrounding countryside will go on show. L S Lowry’s Clifford’s Tower, William Etty’s Monk Bar, York, William Marlow’s The Old Ouse Bridge and Michael Angelo Rooker’s Layerthorpe Postern, York, present contrasting views of the heart of the city.

Ethel Walker’s Robin Hood’s Bay In Winter, J M W Turner’s The Dormitory and Transept of Fountains Abbey  Evening and Joseph Alfred Terry’s Underhill Farm, Sleights, capture picturesque rural and coastal scenes beyond the city walls.

The Old Ouse Bridge, by William Marlow, 1758-1768, from the upcoming Views of York & Yorkshire exhibition. Picture: York Art Gallery,.

The Friends of York Art Gallery have provided the funding for the conservation of prints of York Minster dating from the first half of the 19th century, now to be displayed for the first time, revealing shifting perspectives of the cathedral. 

Look out, too, for a new acquisition, Rievaulx Abbey by Yorkshire-born artist Anthony Vandyke Copley Fielding. “We acquired it last year and have been waiting for the perfect opportunity to display it,” says Beatrice.

“The city of York and the beautiful coast and countryside beyond have long been a source of inspiration for artists,” she adds. “We wanted to mark our re-opening with an exhibition of some of our most famous topographical scenes, such as L.S. Lowry’s striking painting of Clifford’s Tower, which York Art Gallery commissioned for the Evelyn Award in 1952. 

“Thanks to the Friends of York Art Gallery, we’re able to showcase a selection of characterful watercolours and prints by artists including John Varley, Thomas Rowlandson and Thomas Shotter Boys, which illustrate York Minster and its environs during the first half of the 19th century. 

“Collectively, the artworks featured in the show paint a picture of the city and its locale from 1758 to the present day – peaceful vistas which have an enduring resonance during these turbulent, challenging times.” 

Bi-, by Harland Miller, 2017, taking up residency in the Burton Gallery at York Art Gallery after featuring in his Covid-curtailed York, So Good They Named It Once show

Beatrice stresses: “We may have been closed but the work here hasn’t stopped, and we saw these two exhibitions as an opportunity to think about the past, present and future of collecting.

“We did have to look at our programming for when we would re-open as there were shows that were due to go ahead, such as Bloom [for the York flower festival], that had to be cancelled, and due to the complexity of so many loans, we couldn’t seek to extend the run of Harland Miller’s very successful York, So Good They Named It Once show.

“The good news is that Bi-, his 2017 work from that show, will continue to be shown, in the Burton Gallery, and we’ll have some Harland Miller retail available, which we’ll be deciding by August 1.”

The Gillian Lowndes: At The Edge exhibition will resume in the Centre of Ceramic Art, where the run of the Children Curate show in the Anthony Shaw Space is being extended too. The Aesthetica Art Prize show will remain in situ until next spring in the Upper North Gallery.

Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years should have been the ceramics highlight of the CoCA summer, but the June 12 to September 20 run was crocked by Covid’s intervention.

“We’re still hoping to host that exhibition down the line, with further details to come,” promises Beatrice.

Cocktail Party, 1989, by Grayson Perry, from The Pre-Therapy Years show that should have been running at CoCA, York Art Gallery, from June 12, but now will be re-scheduled. Picture: Victoria Miro

The Pre-Therapy Years brings together 70 Perry early works made between 1982 and 1994, now re-united through a “crowd-sourced” public appeal that will put these “lost pots” on display for the first time since they were made. Themes to be found in his later work – fetishism, gender, class, his home county of Essex and the vagaries of the art world – appear in these nascent pieces, suffused with kinetic energy.

For more information on the new displays and how to visit, with booking required, go to yorkartgallery.org.uk. 

The 20 works that must be whittled down to ten in the public vote:

Barbara Hepworth, Surgeon Waiting, 1948, oil and graphite on paper

Albert Joseph Moore, A Venus, 1869, oil on canvas

Richard Jack, The Return To The Front, Victoria Railway Station, 1916, oil on canvas

Spencer Gore, The Balcony At The Alhambra, 1911-1912, oil on canvas

Paul Nash, Winter Sea, 1925-1937, oil on canvas

Bridget Riley, Study 4 for Painting With Two Verticals, 2004, watercolour

Stanley Spencer, The Deposition and Rolling Away Of The Stone, 1956, oil on canvas

Heading for Your Art Gallery….or not? Egyptian Head Disappearing Into Descending Clouds, oil on canvas, by David Hockney

Barbara McKenzie-Smith, The Bird Cage, unknown date, oil on canvas

Giovanni Antonio Burrini, Diana And Endymion, 1681-1691, oil on canvas

Alfred Walter Bayes, Day Dreams, 1902-1903, oil on canvas

Henry Scott Tuke, The Misses Santley, 1880, oil on canvas

Paul Maitland, Cheyne Walk In Sunshine, 1887-1888, oil on canvas

David Bomberg, The Bath, 1922, oil on canvas

L S Lowry, The Bandstand, Peel Park, Salford, 1931, oil on canvas

Bernardo Cavallino, St Agatha, 1635-1645, oil on canvas

Henri Fantin-Latour, White Roses, 1875, oil on canvas

David Hockney, Egyptian Head Disappearing Into Descending Clouds, 1961, oil on canvas

Harold Gilman, Beechwood Gloucestershire, 1914-1919, oil on canvas

William Etty, Venus And Cupid, c.1830, oil on canvas

Eugene-Gabriel Isabey, Boat In A Storm, 1851-1857, oil on canvas

York Art Gallery removes entry charge to entice visitors when re-opening on August 1

Amanda, by Karen Winship, from Our Heroes Welcome, the first new exhibition at York Art Gallery when it re-opens on August 1

YORK Art Gallery is scrapping compulsory entry charges when it re-opens its doors on August 1, in the spirit of Yorkshire Day and the Yorkshire creed of “pay nowt”.

York Museums Trust, the charity that runs the Exhibition Square gallery, is to trial new ways of opening in response to the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic shutdown in March

The trust hopes that by doing away with the “barrier” of admission charges, a higher number and increased diversity of visitors will help to support the gallery through donations and buying tickets for special exhibitions.

If successful, this new policy will allow the trust to continue to offer free entry to its permanent collections, Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA) and Aesthetica Art Prize exhibition throughout the year.

Initially, the gallery will be free in support of the citywide Our Heroes Welcome Campaign. From August 20, the permanent collections, CoCA and Aesthetica Art Prize show will be free to all, while two new exhibitions, Views of York & Yorkshire and Your Art Gallery: Paintings Chosen ByYou, will introduce a new paying concept of Pay As You Feel with suggested amounts.

Should the model prove financially viable, a set charge would apply for larger special exhibitions in the future, similar to other galleries around the country.

Surgeon Waiting, by Barbara Hepworth, one of the paintings in the York Art Gallery collection being put to a public vote for the Your Art Gallery exhibition from August 20. Artwork copyright: Bowness, Hepworth Estate.. Picture: York Museums Trust

Reyahn King, chief executive of York Museums Trust, says: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge financial impact on many different organisations, including museums and galleries.

“For York Museums Trust, who are so dependent on visitor admissions, it has meant we are having to look at new ways of working to engage with audiences and also remain financially viable.

“We know that having an admission charge at the gallery was a barrier for many potential visitors. We hope that, by removing the entry charge, more people will be encouraged to come and see our wonderful collections and support us through donations and buying tickets to our special exhibitions at this incredibly challenging time. We need your support more than ever.”

From August 1, York Art Gallery will be open from 11am to 4pm, five days a week, from Wednesdays to Sundays. From tomorrow (July 23), visitors will need to book their free timed tickets online at yorkartgallery.org.uk, where they also can discover more about the new exhibitions and the changes made by the trust to “ensure a safe and relaxing visit”.

The first new exhibition to be launched at York Art Gallery will be York artist Karen Winship’s tribute to the “tireless and selfless work of NHS workers” in a series of portraits painted during the Covid-19 lockdown. 

On show from August 1, as part of Our Heroes Welcome, Winship’s 11 works depict NHS workers from across England and Ireland as they tell their stories of working on the front line, caring for those struck by the virus. 

Clifford’s Tower, York, 1952-53, by L S Lowry, chosen by senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram for the Views of York & Yorkshire exhibition at York Art Gallery. © The Estate of L S Lowry. Picture: York Museums Trust

Stories of those working or volunteering in other essential services during the pandemic will be told too as the gallery invites the public to nominate their own heroes to enable “York to say thank-you to all of the essential workers”.

Two exhibitions to mark the re-opening will open on August 20: Views of York & Yorkshire and Your Art Gallery – Paintings Chosen By You.

Curated by senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram, Views of York & Yorkshire will bring together 35 much-loved paintings and works on paper depicting York and the surrounding countryside.

Artists such as L.S. Lowry, Letitia Marion Hamilton and John Piper present contrasting views of the heart of the city, while newly conserved prints of York Minster dating from the first half of the 19th century will be displayed for the first time, revealing shifting perspectives of the cathedral.

Works by Ethel Walker, J.M.W. Turner and Joseph Alfred Terry, among others, capture picturesque rural and coastal scenes beyond the city walls.

For Your Art Gallery – Paintings Chosen By You, York Art Gallery invites you to choose the paintings you love and have missed most during lockdown.

Dr Beatrice Bertram: Choosing 35 works for the Views of York & Yorkshire, on show at York Art Gallery from August 20

From Barbara Hepworth to Albert Moore, Paul Nash to Bridget Riley, works will be selected from the gallery’s rich collection of paintings, not on display at present, in a public vote, complemented by further works chosen through Twitter polls.

You are invited to write short labels for the painting you like the most, with the favourite responses being printed and displayed next to the work itself.

To choose your favourite works, visit yorkartgallery.org.uk and click on the Your Art Gallery – Paintings Chosen by You page.

York Castle Museum, at the Eye of York, will re-open too from August 1, offering  visitors a “unique perspective” on its displays and collections through a series of guided tours. For more information and to book tickets from tomorrow, go to: yorkcastlemuseum.org.uk.

One tour will invite you to take a stroll through the Victorian York street of Kirkgate. “See the shops, sample the wares and hear all about its fascinating history from one of our experts as you wander the cobbled streets as part of one of the new socially distanced tours taking place at the museum,” the invitation reads.

A second tour will offer a glimpse of life in the cells of York Castle Prison, while a longer, more in-depth tour will explore the museum’s fashion and textile collections.

The tours will take place from August 1 and then on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, between 11am and 3:30pm. Please note, tickets must be booked in advance.

I predict a Quiet hurrah as Kaiser Chiefs’ York Art Gallery show rises again online

Kaiser Chiefs, minus Ricky Wilson, at the launch of their York Art Gallery exhibition in December 2018

KAISER Chiefs’ pop-meets-art exhibition at York Art Gallery can be enjoyed all over again online.

The Leeds indie rock band collaborated with senior curator Beatrice Bertram in 2018 to create When All Is Quiet, an innovative show that “explored the liminal spaces between art and sound, sensation and perception, and creation and performance”.

For the December 14 2018 to March 10 2019 run, Kaiser Chiefs hand-picked 11 paintings from York Art Gallery’s collection to show alongside a selection of songs by contemporary musicians and sound artists that have influenced their practice directly.

Dr Beatrice Bertram: Co-curator of the Kaiser Chiefs’ exhibition at York Art Gallery



You can listen to the Spotify playlist at: open.spotify.com/playlist/0Vs2kvg5xcPV8Pnna3l66d?si=NV1iSHX8QLavG_GMDveA5A.

The exhibition featured work by Peter Donnelly; Bryan Winter; John Hoyland; Jack Butler Yeats; Malcolm Edward Hughes; Oliver Bevan; John Golding; L. S. Lowry; J. M. W. Turner, Rebecca Appleby and Bridget Riley.

The chance to “re-visit” When All Is Quiet: The Kaiser Chiefs in Conversation with York Art Gallery comes courtesy of Art UK at @artukdotorg.

Kaiser Chiefs should have been playing their Forest Live gig at Dalby Forest on Friday (June 26), but the Covid-19 pandemic intervened.

No re-opening for Harland Miller’s Pelican dust covers at York Art Gallery. End of story

Not coming back: Harland Miller’s York, So Good They Named It Once exhibition, featuring his mock Penguin dust jackets, is now a closed book. The end.

ALAS, here is not-so-good news on Harland Miller’s Coronavirus-stymied exhibition, York, So Good They Named It Once, at York Art Gallery.

Government pandemic strictures meant the show ground to a halt little over a month into its run from February 14 to May 31, and now confirmation has come that there will be no second life in Miller’s home city for the tragi-comic Pop artist’s biggest-ever solo exhibition, once the gallery re-opens.

Tentative exploratory discussions had been held with exhibition partners White Cube, his London agents. However, today York Art Gallery announced: “Unfortunately, because of the complexities of arranging an exhibition of this kind, it has not been possible to extend the run of the show. 

“The team at York Art Gallery are working hard behind the scenes to bring you fantastic, thought-provoking and inspiring art when we reopen in the coming months. More details of these exhibitions and events will be published on our website and social media very soon.”

Today should have marked the opening of Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years in the Exhibition Square gallery’s Centre of Ceramic Art (CoCA): a show of the earliest works and “lost pots” by the Turner Prize-winning, transvestite Essex artist, potter, writer and broadcaster, latterly the host of Channel 4’s “boredom-busting” lockdown art-making series, Grayson’s Art Club.

Cocktail Party 1989, copyright Grayson Perry/Victoria Miro, from the Grayson Perry: The Pre-Therapy Years exhibition, whose opening at CoCA, York Art Gallery, was in the diary for June 12 2020

Talks are “on-going” with York Museums Trust’s exhibition partners over what may happen to Perry’s show, not least because The Pre-Therapy Years is scheduled to move on to other venues.

Whenever it hopefully does still run in York, Perry’s show assembles lost creations for gallery display for the first time, not least 70 ceramics crowd-sourced after a national public appeal: a cause for celebration for the Royal Academician Perry.

“This show has been such a joy to put together, I am really looking forward to seeing these early works again, many of which I have not seen since the Eighties,” he says. “It is as near as I will ever get to meeting myself as a young man; an angrier, priapic me with huge energy but a much smaller wardrobe.”

Watch this space for news of the fate of Perry’s pots and indeed the delayed progress of the Richard III portrait from the National Portrait Gallery to the Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens.

Harland Miller’s York, So Good They Named It Once was four years in the talking and curating, bringing together his best-known series, the Penguin Book Covers and the Pelican Bad Weather Paintings, complemented by his Letter Paintings and new works.

Harland Miller’s Who Cares Wins (2020): Raised £1.25 million for Covid-19 frontline carers from sales of 250 prints. Copyright: Hatrland Miller/White Cube

At the heart of a show full of deadpan humour and one-liners were works referring directly to the 56-year-old artist’s relationship with York, the city where he was born and grew up before moving to London, as well as making wider reference to the culture and geography of Yorkshire as a whole.

“If you’re wondering why I’m wearing dark glasses inside in February,” he said at the launch, “It’s because these works are so bright!”

Alas, York Art Gallery went dark, shut down as Coronavirus took hold. In April, Miller revealed he was “nursing mercifully mild symptoms of Covid-19”, coinciding with White Cube selling all 250 editions of his print, Who Cares Wins (2020), created in the familiar style of his mock Penguin dust covers, for £5,000 each, raising £1.25 million in under 24 hours for carers working on the pandemic frontline.

Sale proceeds have been donated to the National Emergencies Trust in Britain, the New York Community Trust and HandsOn Hong Kong. Part of the UK funds have gone to the York Teaching Hospital Charity to support NHS staff in hospitals across Yorkshire – a positive ending to this particular Miller’s tale.