Colin Wiggins, the Gallery’s former Head of Education and Special Projects Curator, and Priyesh Mistry, Associate Curator of Contemporary and Modern Projects, explore how contemporary artists have responded to our collection since the 1980s.
This conversation provides a comprehensive account of the National Gallery's contemporary developments, offering first-hand insights into the growth and expansion of the Artist-in-Residence programme. We hear about the struggles faced by artists such as Paula Rego, Michael Landy, Nalini Malani and Rosalind Nashashibi, as well as their eventual successes, revealing the transformative nature of this initiative.
The discussion delves into the programme's history and its significant impact on the participating artists. It also examines how these artists challenge and provide fresh perspectives on the National Gallery and its paintings.
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Background of the programme
Throughout our history, the National Gallery has placed practicing artists in a pivotal role and artists from all corners of the globe have drawn inspiration from the collection.
From 1980 to 1989, the National Gallery organised an Artist-in-Residence programme in collaboration with the Arts Council. Artists at the early stage of their careers were invited to work in the National Gallery’s artists’ studio for about six months. Nine artists such as Maggi Hambling, Hughie O'Donoghue, June Redfern participated in the Artist-in-Residence programme and also donated a work from their residency to the National Gallery’s History Collection.
The Associate Artist Scheme (1990-2016) enabled leading contemporary artists to work with the National Gallery’s collection. They were given a studio in the National Gallery for between one and three years. They were invited to make a new work in response to the collection. The programme was designed to demonstrate the continuing inspiration of the Gallery’s collection.
These programmes and their resulting exhibitions have been a vibrant and integral part of the Gallery since 1980s. And now expanding the vision with the latest residency initiatives, our new programmes cater to artists at various stages in their careers and include the National Gallery Contemporary Fellowship and the National Gallery Artist in Residence.
The National Gallery Modern and Contemporary Programme is supported by