Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art

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

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
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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.
Image from Kate Hawkins for The Decorator and the Thief exhibition

The Decorator and The Thief (...)

  • 30 January — 16 May 2015 *on now

The Decorator and the Thief (...) convenes work from the Arts Council Collection alongside newly commissioned works that explore the intersection between art, design and craft. Design agency CommonRoom have been invited to accent the gallery with artist designed wallpaper and work by Yelena Popova will provide a critical lens for thinking through issues of visibility, labour and value.

In the essay It's Hard to find a Good Lamp (1993) the artist Donald Judd responded to the challenges of designing furniture with the refrain that design is a form of "visible reasonableness". By extension, can we see art as unreasonable? Do we value beauty over function, ideas over intuition? Can good design be dysfunctional? A newly commissioned text will accompany the exhibition. Ultimately, The Decorator and the Thief (...) asks us to consider the importance of collecting and how issues of taste, questions of judgement and ideas around beauty are ideologically bound.

As part of the group exhibition The Decorator and The Thief (...), the Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art and National Glass Centre present an off-site show at the Priestman Gallery at Sunderland University. The show extends the thematic concerns of the NGCA exhibition with a series of newly commissioned works. Including artist-designed wallpaper, sculpture, fabric, writing and film, the artists have been invited to explore the promiscuity between art, design and craft.

Suitable for


Man with a large green tattoo on the back of a shaved head

The Caravan Gallery: extra{ordinary} – Photographs of Britain by The Caravan Gallery

  • 6 March — 1 May 2015 *on now

In March 2015, artists The Caravan Gallery will reveal work citywide across Sunderland in conjunction with both a major exhibition of their work at Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, and a new study of the city, the Pride of Place Project. The project is the first installment of a national tour across the length and breadth of the UK throughout 2015 and 2016, encompassing many of the countryʼs galleries and photographic venues including Impressions Gallery, Bradford; Ffotogallery's Diffusion Festival, Cardiff; Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art; Museum of Lancashire, Preston; and Solent Showcase, Southampton.

The Caravan Gallery document the unseen aspects of the way we live now. For fifteen years their work has examined those practices of daily life, places or spaces, and processes of social change that the mainstream media frequently overlook. Alongside a major new exhibition, extra{ordinary}, that represents a distillation of their observations from over a decade and a half, the Pride of Place Project brings the artists into direct contact with the public to learn about secret parts of the cities they visit. The Caravan Galleryʼs photographic practice is based on travel - near and far. The artists re-appropriate what has been called ʻthe touristʼs gazeʼ to see spaces, places and people that are seldom visited or thought worthy of ʻtouristicʼ attention. The sites and sights that the artists document are often precisely those beneath a threshold of visibility. Like the very best travel writing, their work opens our eyes to those things already beneath our feet. Their work might be said to echo the approach taken by author Ignacio Vidal-Folch in his book ʻBarcelona: Secret Museumʼ. For Williams and Teasdale, the city itself is a kind of museum - a place of secret treasures - where one finds wonder, astonishment, moments of grace, and unexpected beauty. Yet this museum is itself a ʻsecretʼ

The Caravan Gallery is a collaboration between artists and photographers Jan Williams and Chris Teasdale, who use photography to document what they call the "reality and surreality" of the everyday. Founded in 2000, The Caravan Gallery is a mobile gallery run by Williams and Teasdale housed in a 1969 mustard coloured caravan. The venue has travelled thousands of miles putting contemporary art to unexpected locations and tens of thousands of people.

Suitable for

  • Any age
Drawing of a hand

Cornelia Baltes - Turner

  • 5 June — 18 July 2015

The Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art are pleased to announce ‘Turner’, a solo exhibition by Cornelia Baltes. The London and Berlin based artist will present a series of new paintings and site-specific murals around Sunderland City Library and Arts Centre. Taking the spectator on a journey throughout the building towards the gallery on the top floor, the exhibition extends Baltes’ often witty and deceptively simple paintings in the context of the multi-use public space that the NGCA is situated in.

Baltes sees her paintings as protagonists, implicating the spectator and in turn shifting the gallery into a type of stage. Significantly, Baltes extends the parameters of painting, with content spilling over the frame and onto the surrounding wall. The notion of the discrete object is resisted as canvases are moulded and shaped, surfaces cut and folded to amplify their physical properties. While Baltes’ work portrays a disparate iconography her work is marked by a playful economy and astute understanding of colour.

Cornelia Baltes (B. 1978, Moenchengladbach, DE) Baltes received an MFA in Fine Art from Slade School of Fine Art, London (2011). Recent solo exhibitions include DREI, Cologne and Limoncello, London (both 2013). Recent group exhibitions include Museum Folkwang, Essen (2013) and Kunsthalle Nurnberg (2014). Baltes is currently based in Berlin and London and is represented by Limoncello, London and DREI, Cologne.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Inside a car

Beatriz Olabarrieta - Plot Bunny

  • 5 June — 11 July 2015

The NGCA is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Beatriz Olabarrieta, the artist's first institutional show in the UK. The Spanish born, London based artist will be creating a series of site-specific sculptures that will act as a catalyst for newly commissioned texts over the duration of the exhibition. By inviting figures from a variety of disciplines including art, architecture, theatre and TV the artist will give a range of disparate voices to her assemblages.

Central to the exhibition is Olabarrieta's intention to explore how language lives both inside and around objects. The sculptures will simultaneously shift the material aspects of the gallery architecture and operate as furniture or platforms where the writers are tasked as performers. The exhibition will culminate in a series of events with each component becoming an ensemble, transforming the exhibition space into a stage.

Beatriz Olabarrieta (B.1979 Bilbao, Spain) received an MFA from the Royal College of Art in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include 'Shifty-Show (A Performance with Five Voice Overs)' at Cell Project Space, London (2014). Recent group exhibitions include 'X-Operative' at Wysing Centre, Cambridge (2013) and 'Last Night' at Parallel Oaxaca presented at Material Art Fair, Mexico (2015). Olabarrieta will be undertaking the Platform residency at Site Gallery in Sheffield later in 2015. The artist is represented by MOT International, London and Brussels.

The project has been kindly supported by The NewBridge Project, Newcastle.

Suitable for

  • Any age