AN INFLUENTIAL touring exhibition which is being held in Leeds for the first time in 25 years is being hailed as a major boost to the city’s artistic credentials.
Artists are chosen on the grounds of their contribution to art in this country over the last five years - making the event a vital measure of where contemporary art in the UK is now.
It is over a generation since Leeds last hosted the British Art Show, which in 1990 exhibited artists such as Rachel Whiteread and Cornelia Parker, and it returns ahead of the city’s bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2023.
Coun Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council, said: “It’s an absolute privilege for Leeds to be hosting an event as prestigious as the British Art Show and an ambitious statement about our credentials as a city that celebrates and promotes art and culture.
“It’s been 25 years since we last hosted this event and in that time our city’s art scene has grown and flourished in so many new and exciting ways.”
Twenty-six of the 42 artists selected for the touring exhibition, at Leeds Art Gallery, organised by Hayward Touring, have produced new works for the event which will also visit Edinburgh, Norwich and Southampton. Leeds is famous for being where artist Damien Hirst grew up and the touring show gives artists unprecedented exposure - when it was last held in 2010/2011 it attracted over 420,000 visitors.
The British Art Show 8 sees artists including Rachel Maclean and James Richards, using performance, film, sculpture, installation, painting and design. It opens tomorrow and runs until January 10 next year.