News - 06 October 2014

Museums, Galleries and Artists Create a Modern Grand Tour For England

Galleries, museums and a stately home across Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire − Nottingham Contemporary, Chatsworth, Derby Museums and The Harley Gallery, Welbeck − have joined together to create a contemporary reinterpretation of The Grand Tour.

With a focus on attracting visitors and growing cultural tourism, the project will feature unique artistic and architectural riches of the region, presented over two seasons, July-September 2015 and March-June 2016.

Contemporary artists Pablo Bronstein, Turner Prize-winner Simon Starling, Rose English, Peter Blake and architect Rem Koolhaas, have been invited to create and present work for the Grand Tour.

Taking its name from the formative cultural experience of the 18th century gentleman, this modern day Grand Tour will reveal hidden treasures from private collections, juxtaposing them with contemporary art exhibitions across the four venues so that they are seen in a new light.  A number of pieces from the Baroque and Enlightenment periods of the collections at Derby Museums, Chatsworth and Welbeck, which until now have been housed out of sight, will go on display to the public.

Experience Nottinghamshire and Visit Peak District and Derbyshire will be working closely with the four venues to encourage new visitors to the region. The Grand Tour is a groundbreaking example of cultural tourism that will showcase the region’s astonishing wealth of art, architecture and landscape to a new generation of local, national and international visitors.

Funding for The Grand Tour was awarded to Nottingham Contemporary as part of the joint Arts Council England and VisitEngland Cultural Destinations programme, which supports arts and cultural organisations to work with the tourism sector to deliver projects that aim to maximize the impact arts and culture has on local economies, with further support from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.

Alex Farquharson, Director of Nottingham Contemporary, said: “The Grand Tour played a major role in shaping the world-famous art collections, architecture and landscape of this region. Grand Tourists transformed British taste by bringing home with them a fascination with the culture of the ancient world, and its influence on the artistic innovations of the day. Our own Grand Tour builds on this history through exhilarating encounters between leading contemporary artists and these world-class collections. Contemporary art will shed a new light on the cultural riches of the region through a new Grand Tour that is completely of its time.”

Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “We know that art and culture are amongst the top reasons tourists choose to visit England. We offer world class museums and galleries as well as celebrated theatres and orchestras. Arts Council and VisitEngland’s investment through the Cultural Destinations programme is supporting arts organisations to work in partnership with the local tourism sector, to really make the most of England’s superb cultural offer. This contemporary interpretation of the Grand Tour will offer visitors to the East Midlands a fascinating experience of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, giving them a great opportunity to discover hidden collections and great modern art.”

James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland, said: “As one of a number of projects aimed at driving local economic growth through developing the arts and cultural offering in England, The Grand Tour is a welcome and innovative addition to the Cultural Destinations programme. It is fantastic to see these local museums, galleries and artists come together with the two destination management organisations to enhance the cultural and visitor appeal of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.”

Pablo Bronstein at Nottingham Contemporary and Chatsworth This unique collaboration sees Pablo Bronstein work with and in response to the extraordinary collections at Chatsworth.  Bronstein will curate an exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary, displaying historical items from Chatsworth at the contemporary art gallery alongside a range of his original drawings.  Delft porcelain, 17th and 18th century silverware, Old Master drawings and paintings, furniture and sculpture from the Devonshire Collection at Chatsworth will be exhibited across the four galleries at Nottingham Contemporary.

Bronstein has been commissioned to make a series of new work in wide-ranging media in response to Chatsworth and its historic collection, which will be displayed in Chatsworth’s New Gallery. The artist will also curate a selection of Old Master drawings from the Devonshire Collection, alongside a new drawing of his own in the Old Master Drawings Cabinet.

Rem Koolhaas at The Harley Gallery, Welbeck This is a rare chance to see part of Koolhaas’ exhibition Elements of Architecture at the grand country estate that influenced the work.  Elements of Architecture explores the vast underground ballroom and tunnels at Welbeck, which were built by the 5th Duke of Portland in the 19th century, presenting theories about this mythologized architecture through film and photography. The work looks at the fundamentals that make up any building, and was part of Koolhaas’ acclaimed exhibition as curator of the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014.  Koolhaas described the work as his own grand tour of architecture.

The Joseph Wright Collection, Derby Museums As part The Grand Tour, the new Joseph Wright Institute in Derby Museum and Art Gallery will present Wright Revealed – an insight into the restoration and conservation of the works of Joseph Wright of Derby, one of Britain’s most popular artists.

ONLINE PHOTO GALLERY: The Grand Tour Season One, July – September 2015

The Grand Tour Season Two, March – July 2016

Simon Starling at Nottingham Contemporary and Derby Museums Derby Museums will present an exhibition dedicated to Joseph Wright of Derby’s formative years in Italy, alongside work by Simon Starling. To coincide with the Derby exhibition, Nottingham Contemporary will present a major exhibition of work by Simon Starling building on his fascination with the interrelationships between culture, industry and the natural world, like Wright before him.

The opening of the new Harley Gallery at Welbeck The new gallery will house changing displays of The Portland Collection, one of the country’s great aristocratic art collections, much of which has never been on public display before. Highlights include one of the finest collections of miniatures, English portraiture, silverware and equestrian art, many of which were amassed by the family when travelling on their own Grand Tours.

Peter Blake at the Harley Gallery Blake will curate a display of miniatures from The Portland Collection, which has one of the largest and most significant privately owned collections of miniatures in the country.  The display will be accompanied by an exhibition of collages from Blake’s The World Tour series.

Rose English at the Harley Gallery Rose English, a seminal figure in British performance art, will present a selected retrospective of her work, focusing on equestrian culture, together with new work.  The selection will be inspired by William Cavendish, who was a leading figure in horsemanship in the 17th century and built the first riding school at Welbeck.

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