Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art

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Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art presents changing exhibitions of new work by emerging and established artists from the UK and abroad, bringing key new works of art of our time to new audiences. The gallery runs a programme of talks, tours, education activities, workshops and artists residencies, providing a range of different opportunities for people to engage with the visual arts in an imaginative and inspiring way.

Venue Type:


Opening hours

Monday / Tuesday / Thursday / Friday 9.30 - 5.00
Wednesday late opening 9.30 - 7.00
Saturday 10.00 - 4.00

Closed: Sundays

Admission charges


Collection details

Architecture, Design, Fine Art, Photography

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Man looking at artifacts in a museum archive

Crab Walk

  • 30 October 2015 — 20 February 2016 *on now

The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art (NGCA) is proud to announce the group show Crab Walk, curated by Ned McConnell and NGCA curator George Vasey. The exhibition travels from KARST in Plymouth, where it was presented earlier this year. While using the original show, Breakin' Up is Hard to Do, as a template, Crab Walk expands on it by introducing two new artists and further commissions as well as a brand new title. Crab Walk is a straight translation of the German phrase Krebsgang and was coined by the German writer Günter Grass to describe the urgent need to "look backwards to be able to move forwards". The exhibition formalises this term through a variety of curatorial approaches that perform a type of institutional archaeology. Documentation of previous exhibitions, archival material and memories of the building from staff and the public will be collated in a free newspaper that will be dispersed throughout the city. By creating a polyphonic history of the space, the show will counter the typical neutrality afforded white cube art galleries, excavating personal, as well as social narratives.

Crab Walk will present new work in a range of media, including sculpture, audio, film and painting that elide historical and contemporary motifs to explore different temporal registers. The starting point for the project came out of a discussion about the current state of Kazimir Malevich's Black Square (1915). The painting's previously pristine surface is now covered in a filigree of tiny cracks; it is literally and metaphorically breaking up. This entropy reveals a tension between the object and the image, between the cosmetic and immanent. Malevich's refusal for figurative and symbolic content was intended as a ground zero for art and - for Modernism in general - the start of a new world order. The painting's current state of decay reveals it to be an object in motion, dramatizing the shifting conditions of cultural production and reception over the last 100 years. The selection of artists and their subsequent presentation resists the traditional idea of a group exhibition. If Black Square was intended as a type of full stop, then Crab Walk proposes it to be more like a comma. The exhibition is part of an expansive and on-going conversation, and will be accompanied by a range of events, talks and readings.

Nicolas Deshayes, Alex Dordoy, Jennifer Douglas, Patrick Hough, Philomene Pirecki, Marie Toseland, Sally Troughton, Rosalind McLachlan & design work by Tom Merrell

The project has been kindly supported by KARST, Sunderland City Council and Arts Council England.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art
City Library and Arts Centre
Fawcett Street
Tyne and Wear



Alistair Robinson, Programme Director

Kathryn Brame, Marketing Officer


0191 561 1235


0191 561 5950

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