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Evoluon 2 (crop 1)

Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968

Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968

Science and technology exhibition, Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968
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Mural in the Furnished Room, Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
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Taiwan 1 (crop 1)

Sketch of exhibition layout,
National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan, 1986-88
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Taiwan 1 (crop 1)
Britain Can Make It 2 (crop 1)

Tea Bar, Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
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Interior view,
National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan, 1986-88
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Exhibition 1

Construction of exhibition space,
Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
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Exhibition 1
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Interior view,
National Museum of Natural Science, Taiwan, 1986-88
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Taiwan 3 (crop 1)
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President Ford, Robert Staples, and Barbara Fahs Charles
with model of the "Levitating White House," for the Ford Museum, 1980
Staples & Charles

B&BwFord
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Sketch of Australia section,
Commonwealth Institute, London, c. 1961
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Fashions Hall, Britain Can Make It, V&A, London, 1946
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Gallery view of The Senster,
Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968
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Installation view, Photography and the City,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, 1968
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Evoluon, Eindhoven, 1968
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‘A rather “fresh” smell of paint’: wartime exhibitions at the Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle

 

Harriet Atkinson
 Harriet Atkinson
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 4
Topic starter  

Laia - thank you for a really fascinating paper on the wartime Laing! It's so interesting seeing the coverage of the installation of MOI's Poison Gas in that location - I have been researching MOI exhibitions and have images of that exhibition's installation elsewhere (many at Charing Cross station) but hadn't seen it at the Laing - and find it so fascinating how those MOI exhibitions were subtly reinterpreted when they were re-sited around the country. The material about the Ashington group shows at Laing was also fascinating. Again, I've seen images of earlier installations (eg when they were working with Mass Obs in the 1930s at Benham Grove) but not at the Laing site. I was also intrigued by the Stevenson curatorial handover from father to son!

As you can tell, I haven't any insightful questions to ask (although the luxury of this format is that something might suddenly strike me over the next few days! So I'll come back to you if I do). But just to say thanks again and all best, Harriet


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Annebella Pollen
 Annebella Pollen
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 18
 

Dear Laia, Just to add another appreciative comment about your presentation to add to Harriet’s. I enjoyed seeing the Ashington Miners featured. Many of these paintings are now decorating the walls of William Feaver’s house!

A practical question: I was struck by the enormous workload of running exhibitions for a mere 15 days (I think you said) especially with skeleton staffing. If 5000 people a day were coming, clearly this was a strategy that worked but I can’t help reflect on the differences to today’s practices where exhibitions typically run for much longer. What was the reason, do you know? 

Thanks again for a great talk. 


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Laia Anguix
 Laia Anguix
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 2
 
Posted by: @h-atkinson

Laia - thank you for a really fascinating paper on the wartime Laing! It's so interesting seeing the coverage of the installation of MOI's Poison Gas in that location - I have been researching MOI exhibitions and have images of that exhibition's installation elsewhere (many at Charing Cross station) but hadn't seen it at the Laing - and find it so fascinating how those MOI exhibitions were subtly reinterpreted when they were re-sited around the country. The material about the Ashington group shows at Laing was also fascinating. Again, I've seen images of earlier installations (eg when they were working with Mass Obs in the 1930s at Benham Grove) but not at the Laing site. I was also intrigued by the Stevenson curatorial handover from father to son!

As you can tell, I haven't any insightful questions to ask (although the luxury of this format is that something might suddenly strike me over the next few days! So I'll come back to you if I do). But just to say thanks again and all best, Harriet

Thank you so much for your feedback, Harriet! I'm glad you enjoyed the paper. I was also fascinated by the different reinterpretations of the MOI's exhibitions in regional galleries around the country, as well as by the curators' varied reactions towards them. Whilst Stevenson seemed happy to host these displays at the Laing, curators at other regional galleries opposed them vehemently. I guess that these different attitudes may also explain the different reinterpretations of the installations, have you found any example? As you may have noticed, I'm very interested in how curators shaped the history of museums! And indeed, the Stevensons are a great example of this: between father and son, the family ran the gallery for over 80 years.

Regarding the Ashington group, the Laing had already hosted what I believe was their first major show (after the one at the Hatton) in 1938. Before that, Stevenson had already visited the members’ exhibitions at Ashington and guided the group on tours of the Laing's watercolour collection. It's a fascinating topic!

Thanks again for your appreciation and all the best, 

Laia


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Laia Anguix
 Laia Anguix
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 2
 

Dear Annebella,

Thank you very much for your positive feedback, I really appreciate it. Regarding your question, I guess that there was a combination of factors behind the decision to host such a huge number of exhibitions. According to Pearson (Museums in the Second World War: Curators, Culture and Change. 2017), regional art galleries were more or less forced to accept war-themed exhibitions such as the ones designed by the MOI. These were touring displays that had to visit several cities within a short timeframe, before the message that they were intended to transmit to audiences became outdated. The Laing exhibition space was really small and these displays occupied it most of the time. However, at the same time, Stevenson did not want to renounce to the Laing's original scope as an art gallery. Therefore, he used every empty calendar slot available to display whatever art-related materials he had within reach: prints, watercolours, other small works that had not been sheltered away, or the loans that he managed to obtain from local artists or from CEMA. Then, once a new official war-themed exhibition arrived, he had to quickly rearrange the galleries to give them priority, as requested by the Government. There may be other reasons, such as avoiding criticisms, because influential citizens in Newcastle had been very critical to the fact that the Laing stayed open during WWI. I guess that Stevenson wanted to avoid repeating this situation, so he made great efforts to prove that the gallery was 'useful'. Troubled times for art galleries, indeed!

Thank you again and best wishes,

Laia

 


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Annebella Pollen
 Annebella Pollen
Joined: 1 year ago
Posts: 18
 

@laianguix Fascinating, thank you!


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