Creative Review, December issue 2013
9 January - 7 February 2014
Newton, Bonington and Waverley buildings
Monday – Friday: 10 am – 5 pm
Saturday: 11 am – 4 pm
Art and Design alumni exhibit together for Since 1843: In the Making
Celebrating its 170th anniversary, the School of Art & Design brought together more than 100 artworks from Art and Design alumni to illustrate the impact of the School on the visual arts and creative industries nationally and internationally.
The School of Art & Design started life as the Nottingham Government School of Design in 1843 and was one of several institutions set up by the Government to improve the design skills of industrial workers.
The exhibition, held in several buildings on the university’s City site, featured canvasses by one of the School’s earliest local students, Dame Laura Knight, who gained a place in 1890 at just 13 and went on to become the first woman to be elected to the Royal Academy.
The historic drawing, painting and sculptural work from archives, and private collections of artists who studied here in the early days of the School, contrasted with some of the very latest in contemporary and digital visual arts, fashion, textiles, photography and moving image from more recent alumni.
Work on show included Turner Prize winning artist Simon Starling, Sexy Beast film director Jonathan Glazer and comic actor Paul Kaye. They were joined by artists such as St Pancras ‘clouds’ artists Lucy Orta; top rock music photographer Andy Earl; British Art duo Noble and Webster; founder of fashion brand All Saints, Stuart Trevor; fashion designers Pearce Fionda; artists Mat Collishaw, Jon Burgerman and Rob Ryan to name but a few.
The opening event of the show on 8 January 2014 was attended by an audience of almost 800, comprising many of the exhibitors, their friends and families, alumni of the School, regional dignitaries and professional contacts from right across the creative industries.
Amongst the attendees were exhibitors Hazel and Keith Albarn, who met at the School whilst studying art in the 1960s, and have both enjoyed creative careers as visual artists and art teachers over past decades. They are also the parents of musician, and Blur and Gorillaz vocalist, Damon Albarn, who joined them for the event. Damon said a few impromptu words to the crowd at the end of the formal opening speeches, along with actor and comedian Paul Kaye, who studied Theatre Design at NTU in the 1980s.
Damon talked about seeing the college where his parents had met and then dealt with a queue of students (and older people) who wanted his autograph; Paul Kaye admiringly described his theatre design tutor, the late Malcolm Griffiths, whom, he recalled, was a great influence and dressed head-to-toe in red to reflect his politics.
In tribute to Waverley, the first bespoke art building of the School dating back to the 19th century, Textile Design alumna Frances Quinn, winner of the BBC’s 2013 Great British Bake Off programme, baked a cake modeled on the building’s distinctive clock tower.
Ann Priest, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University and Head of the College of Art, Design and the Built Environment, said: “This fantastic opening exhibition is an important reminder of the quality and influence of Nottingham’s creative output and a testament to the unique nature of our community of artists, practitioners and scholars.
“The exhibition is the first of a year of events which will be celebrating the heritage and history of the School of Art & Design; we are proud that our Alumni have contributed significantly here in the UK and internationally. And over the coming months these events will act as a framework to set an agenda for our future.”
Since 1843: In the Making: Official Opening Event, 8 Jan 2014 (click on YouTube link below video to view at optimum resolution)
Opening Event: a student's perspective (click on YouTube link below video to view at optimum resolution)
Since 1843: In the Making - Audio Guide
The first Bonington Gallery podcast takes the form of an audio guide for the Since 1843: In the Making exhibition – narrated by Professor Terry Shave and Associate Dean, Julie Pinches.