Arts Council Collection


National Partners Programme

Towner Art Gallery; Birmingham Museums Trust; National Museums Liverpool; and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
Image credit: Towner Art Gallery; Birmingham Museums Trust; National Museums Liverpool; and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.

As part of the Arts Council Collection's 70th Anniversary celebrations, the National Partners Programme will see four major galleries outside London,  Birmingham Museums Trust, Walker Art Gallery National Museums Liverpool, Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Towner Gallery, Eastbourne working together to  curate, host, and share a series of exciting and innovative new exhibitions drawn from the Arts Council Collection.
Between now and June 2019 we’ll be working with each of the partner venues to present –a wide programme of activity, ranging from original exhibitions featuring work from the Collection to the development of educational and digital initiatives to make the Arts Council Collection even more  accessible to audiences across the UK.
The National Partners Programme aims to extend the Arts Council Collection’s reach to new and existing communities, whilst also allowing the National Partner galleries to strengthen their relationship with the Collection and with the artists it features.
Below is a selection of exhibition highlights planned for the next 12 months with further details and exhibitions to be announced shortly.
The National Partners Programme is supported by Arts Council England and Southbank Centre, London.
Arts Council Collection
National Partners Programme

The Walker Art Gallery

Kaput by Benedict Drew
Image credit: Christine Borland, Simbodies Eargirl (2009), Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist.
Mark Leckey: ZOO LOGIC
9 September 2016 - 26 February 2017
Leckey’s 70th Anniversary Arts Council Collection commission FEELINTHECAT features as part of this exhibition celebrating the Turner Prize winning artist’s long-standing interest in moving image and broadcast technology, and specifically in Felix the Cat.
Benedict Drew: KAPUT
28 October 2016 - 26 February 2017
Acquired by the Arts Council Collection only this year, Drew’s ambitious installation KAPUT, 2015, reflects on society’s uncertain relationship with technology to create an immersive, psychedelic environment which combines moving image, audio and sculptural elements.
Looking North
28 October 2016 - 26 February 2017
This group exhibition brings together a selection of recent acquisitions from the Arts Council Collection by artists with a strong connection to the North West. Includes work by Liverpool-based artists Joe Fletcher Orr, Jason Thompson and Paul Rooney as well as work by Mary Griffiths and Jesse Wine.
24 March 2017 - 18 June 2017 
Including work by Hiraki Sawa and Garth Evans, this exhibition considers how artists have investigated subjects such as truth, the everyday or ordinary, and material and psychological transparency. Walker Art Gallery will be adding works to the original show and exploring further the multiple themes of transparency introduced in the exhibition’s first incarnation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park in 2016.
Coming Out
28 July 2017 – 5 November 2017
The Walker Art Gallery will mark the 50th anniversary of the partial decriminalisation of male homosexual acts in England and Wales (1967 Sexual Offences Act) with a major exhibition drawn from both the Arts Council Collection and the Walker’s own collection. The show will bring together a diverse range of artists who have used their work to explore sexuality and gender identity since 1967.

Birmingham Museums Trust

Rachel Maclean – Feed Me
Image credit: Rachel Maclean, Feed Me (2015) Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella (FVU) and Hayward Touring for British Art Show 8. Supported by Arts Council England and Creative Scotland.
Night in the Museum: Ryan Gander Curates the Arts Council Collection
26 November 2016 – 12 February 2017
An Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition
This major new touring exhibition brings together the work of over thirty artists from the Arts Council Collection plus loans from other major UK institutions and private lenders. Artists included are Angela Bulloch, Patrick Caulfield, Jacob Epstein, Roger Hiorns and Henry Moore. The exhibition also features Ryan Gander’s new commission for the Arts Council Collection, As old as time itself, slept alone, 2016.
I Want! I Want! - Art & Technology
01 April 2017 – 30 September 2017
A curated selection from the Arts Council Collection with key loans from other major collections, this exhibition will present the work of contemporary artists working with new technologies. Taking its title from a print of the same name by visionary artist William Blake, the exhibition will feature work by artists including Rachel Maclean, Julian Opie, Ed Atkins, Rose Finn-Kelcey, Toby Ziegler, Cao Fei, Paul Pfeiffer and Thomson and Craighead.
Coming Out
November 2017 – February 2018
Birmingham Museums is delighted to be collaborating with The Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool to bring Coming Out to Birmingham in Autumn 2017. This exhibition will include work by David Hockney, Gilbert and George, Sarah Lucas, Gillian Wearing and Andy Warhol. A community-led series of activities, reflections and art creation will engage with a broad spectrum of sexuality, orientation and gender.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Tracey Emin
Image credit: Tracey Emin, Why I never became a dancer (1995), Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © the artist.
01 April 2016 – 25 June 2017
There has long been an intimate and complex relationship between sculpture and architecture, with many artists operating at and around this boundary. Curated from the Arts Council Collection, this exhibition explores ways in which artists have incorporated architecture into their practice – from embedding work into the fabric of the gallery, to using architectural features as material for sculpture, and reflecting on how the body inhabits built spaces. 
Tread Softly
27 May 2016 – 3 September 2017
‘Tread Softly’ presents works from the Arts Council Collection that explore and lay bare the process of finding a place in the world, of growing up, of the difficulties and joys inherent in youth. This selection sees artists, including Tracey Emin, Bedwyr Williams, Mona Hatoum, Mary Kelly, Susan Hiller and Permindar Kaur, variedly setting recollections of fleeting tenderness, nostalgia and unfettered imagination against the sudden and often painful ingress of the adult world.
Occasional Geometries: Rana Begum Curates the Arts Council Collection
15 July - 29 October 2017
Rana Begum is guest curator of a new exhibition from the Arts Council Collection as part of the National Partners Programme. Born in Sylhet, Bangladesh, in 1977 and now living in London where she studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design and the Slade School, Begum has established an international practice creating immaculately conceived and constructed abstract installations, which challenge the distinction between two and three-dimensional practice, sculpture and painting. With an exceptional understanding of composition, form and colour, Begum will curate a unique selection from the 8,000 works held in the Arts Council Collection alongside work by exciting young artists active in the UK. An artist book will accompany the exhibition.

Towner Art Gallery

David Batchelor, Festdella (2006)
Image credit: David Batchelor, Festdella (2006), Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London. © the artist. Gift of the artist and Hayward Gallery; commissioned by the Hayward Gallery as the inaugural Christmas Lights project, 2006.
One Day, Something Happens
15 October 2016 – 8 January 2017
An Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition
One Day, Something Happens explores the everyday theatricality of the body. The artists in this exhibition approach figuration in very different ways and the people they depict are both imaginary characters and real people. Jennifer Higgie’s fascinating selection of works from the Arts Council Collection, as well as works from Towner’s Collection, teases out common themes across the decades: work, introspection and individuality, joy and loneliness. Featuring works by artists ranging from Walter Sickert, Lucian Freud and David Hockney to Rose Wylie, Steven Claydon and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.
A Certain Kind of Light
21 January 2017 - 07 May 2017
Bringing together works from the Arts Council Collection, alongside works from Towner’s own collection, A Certain Kind of Light explores how artists have responded to the materiality and idea of light, through the work of a wide range of artists from LS Lowry to Rachael Whiteread and Peter Lanyon to Anya Gallacio.
Now Today, Tomorrow and Always: Art and Popular Culture
22 July – 08 October 2017
This exhibition of works selected from the Arts Council Collection will explore visual art's ongoing engagement with popular culture and how its ability to entertain, seduce but also confound us forms part of its continuing appeal to artists. Featuring work by artists including Phil Collins, Jeremy Deller, Mario Rossi and Anthea Hamilton the exhibition will consider highly idiosyncratic manifestations of how popular culture, its surprising combinations of images, materials and words, have influenced recent contemporary art.