Yorkshire Teenagers Curate New Art Exhibition At Ryedale Gallery

By Narelle Doe | 16 January 2008
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A photograph of a group of teenagers standing outside a modern art gallery.

The young curators from Malton School, North Yorkshire.

Teenagers in North Yorkshire have taken charge of The Ryedale Gallery’s latest exhibition.

A group of 17 and 18-year-old students from Malton School, North Yorkshire, have curated and organised the project, Unit 5, which takes its title from the A Level art curriculum. The exhibition opens on 26 January and runs until 9 March 2008.

Developed by the Ryedale Folk Museum in North Yorkshire, and in collaboration with the renowned Arts Council Collection, Unit 5 shows contemporary sculpture in a North Yorkshire beauty spot.

Chloe Hill, one of the young curators, said: “Teenagers are seen in society to be rebellious, and to break the boundaries of trust and I feel this range of sculptures show that. All the sculptures relate with everyday objects that maybe seen as rebelling, and forbidden. No teenager can be seen as a goody-two shoes right?”

A photograph of a large garden gnome, covered in cigarettes.

Willy by Sarah Lucas. © the artist. Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London

With the help of project partners, the students negotiated the curatorial process, selecting the content of the exhibition and managing a real budget. Mentor professionals advised them on research, selection, installation and marketing of a public exhibition.

The project, funded by Arts Council England, Yorkshire, is the brainchild of Andy Dalton, Gallery manager at the Museum. It is a partnership between the Arts Council Collection, Malton School in North Yorkshire and the Ryedale Folk Museum.

Andy said: “The intention of the project is to offer these young curators an opportunity to experience the process of mounting a professional quality exhibition of contemporary sculpture, and to help them realise their ideas outside the classroom in a professional environment."

“Seeing this group of students open their minds to the challenging nature of the art, and grow in the confidence that they could present their ideas to others has been the most rewarding aspect of the whole exercise.”

A photograph of an oversized pizza delivery bike in a warehouse.

Enlarged Pizza Delivery Bike by Elizabeth Wright. © the artist. Arts Council Collection, Hayward Gallery, London

The show will expose the local audience to the work of artists rarely seen outside of the larger cities. The range of sculpture in the exhibition demonstrates the continuing commitment of the Arts Council Collection to collecting and exhibiting works by younger artists and its ability to reach even the remotest parts of the country through its extensive programme of loans.

“Unit 5 is an imaginative, serious and dynamic initiative and I am delighted that we are able to collaborate with Ryedale Folk Museum in this way," said Caroline Douglas, Head of the Arts Council Collection.

“By comparison with other national collections, the Arts Council Collection is a youthful collection, having been founded only 60 years ago; it has always reflected the energy and innovation of the arts in this country, and this project provides an opportunity for a group of young people to extend their knowledge of contemporary art and the processes involved in making an exhibition.”

Contemporary sculpture from the Arts Council Collection – which boasts the largest loan collection of British post-war art in the world - will be featured in the exhibition.

The students selected a mix of surprising and challenging work from both established and up and coming artists: a garden gnome covered with Marlboro Light cigarettes by Sarah Lucas; an enlarged pizza delivery bike by Elizabeth Wright; a marble sculpture spelling ‘Heroin Kills’ by artists Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan; a tattooed form by Edward Lipski; and an intricate decorative work by Cathy De Monchaux.

Another student, Ellie Brown, said: “The fact that we are housing a pig skin, letters spelling out heroin, and a huge pizza delivery moped in the North Yorkshire Moors is rebelling against the art work that a lot of Yorkshire people are used to, such as watercolour paintings of Whitby.”

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