Towner

Towner the contemporary art museum
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Towner is the award-winning contemporary art museum for South
East England.

We present major exhibitions of UK and international contemporary
art – and as a museum, we also have a nationally significant collection of art
from across the ages. The Towner Collection is best known for its modern British art, in particular the work of Eric Ravilious.

We put you - the visitor - at the heart of what we do. Our staff are always happy to stop and talk with you!

We are recognised for our award winning development and activity programmes, including a variety of events for all ages (many of which are free - including our family drop-in sessions at weekends and school holidays).

Venue Type:

Gallery, Museum

Opening hours

Tue-Sun 10.00-18.00
Bank Holiday Mondays 10.00-18.00

Admission charges

Free entry to gallery and all exhibitions (except one paying exhibition per year).
Many events are free - please see event details for information.

Discounts

  • Museums Association
Getting there

There are excellent public transport links to Towner, including direct rail links from London, Brighton and the rest of the South East.

Towner is a 10 minute walk (or 5 minute taxi ride) from the station. Follow Gildredge Road to the end, then cross over South Street and Furness Road to College Road. Towner is situated at the end of the road on the left, at the junction between College and Carlisle Roads.

Driving from London, take the A23 from London, A27 to Eastbourne and then A2270 towards the town centre & seafront. At the roundabout on Upperton Road (which the A2270 turns into), take the second exit on to Grove Road. At the end of Grove Road take a left down South Street; turn right and immediately left on to College Road. Towner is at the end of College Road.

See our website for rail and bus links.

Additional info

Towner has a gift shop and cafe bar with balcony and stunning views over the South Downs.

Towner is accessible to all - please visit our website to see how we can help meet your access requirements.

We offer free tours of the building and galleries at 11.30am each day. You can also book a group tour for 10 or more people at a time convenient for you, for £2.50 per person. More in-depth Collection Store tours take place on the last consecutive Saturday and Sunday of every month.

An internationally renowned collection of around 4000 historical, modern and contemporary works. The Towner Collection is best known for its modern British art – including the broadest body of work by Eric Ravilious (1903-1942), and works by Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell and other artists of the Bloomsbury Group (who were notable conscientious objectors).

The Towner Collection also has strengths in landscapes, abstract works and a growing strand of international contemporary art.

Collection details

Archives, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Film and Media, Design

Key artists and exhibits

  • Eric Ravilious - extensive holdings - watercolours (including Cuckmere Haven, Downs in Winter), woodcuts & ceramics
  • Duncan Grant - Berwick Church designs
  • Vanessa Bell - Berwick Church designs
  • 20th century British artists including Christopher Wood; Edward Bawden; Henry Moore; Paul Nash; Victor Pasmore; Alfred Wallis; David Bomberg
  • William Nicholson - Judd's Farm
  • William Gear - various holdings
  • Picasso etchings
  • International contemporary artists including Julian Opie; Olafur Eliasson; Tacita Dean; Anya Gallaccio; Wolfgang Tillmans; Grayson Perry
  • Olafur Eliassion - The Forked Forest Path
  • Tacita Dean - The Green Ray
  • Wolfgang Tillmans - End of Land I
  • Grayson Perry - Map of Nowhere
  • Anya Gallaccio - Preserve
  • Historic artists - Albrecht Durer; Joseph Wright of Derby; Thomas Sydney Cooper; Joseph van Aken; Thomas Jones
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

East Sussex Open 2015

  • 11 July — 20 September 2015 *on now

An open application exhibition bringing together the best artists and makers from across the East Sussex region – from Rye to Eastbourne to Brighton & Hove.

Joining our Head of Contemporary Programmes, Sanna Moore, on the 2015 judging panel includes guest selectors Jonathan Watkins, Director of Ikon Gallery, Birmingham and London-based video artist Saskia Olde Wolbers. Olde Wolbers has shown extensively around the world and her work Trailer (2005) was recently exhibited in Towner’s Twixt Two Worlds exhibition.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly

Website

http://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/east-sussex-open-2015/

William Gear's piece 'Composition Blue Centre'

William Gear: The Painter that Britain Forgot

  • 18 July — 27 September 2015 *on now

In the centenary of his birth, Towner is delighted to present a major retrospective of the work of William Gear, one of the leading abstract British painters of his generation. William Gear, The painter that Britain forgot traces the influence and prolific output of a now little-known painter who was associated with CoBrA in the 1940s, and produced some of the most radical and controversial compositions of the 1950s.

The exhibition runs in parallel to A Radical View: William Gear as Curator 1958 - 1964 (9 May – 31 August), which explores Gear’s tenure as curator at Towner during which time he established their now acclaimed collection, acquiring works by major British abstract artists of the 1950s and 1960s including Sandra Blow, Alan Davie, Roger Hilton and Ceri Richards.

William Gear, The painter that Britain forgot draws together around 80 works representing the different phases of Gear’s oeuvre: from the pen and ink drawings and early experiments in colour of his emerging style in the 1930s and 1940s, to the radical, near-monochrome and block abstractions of the 1950s, to a mature, yet playful exuberance in the 1960s and beyond. Whilst many of the titles of the work are abstract – Composition Interior, Composition Blue Centre and Composition October – others clearly allude to their subject matter; Christmas Tree, Grey Trunks, Summer Fete and Footballers. Central to the show is Autumn Landscape, a work that caused a public outcry when awarded the Festival of Britain Purchase Prize in 1951. The exhibition also presents Gear as printmaker; he was the first British artist to present screenprints as works of fine art.

Growing up in a Scottish mining community in Fife, Gear’s early talent for drawing was encouraged and after studying at Edinburgh College of Art, he spent significant time in Paris working with Fernand Legér. He travelled widely during the war, including a stint with the ‘Monuments Men’, but returned to Paris in 1947. After meeting the artists of the avant-garde CoBrA movement Gear exhibited with them in Amsterdam and Paris in 1949. In the same year his work was shown in New York at the Betty Parsons Gallery, alongside Jackson Pollock. He returned to live in the UK from 1950 exhibiting in London and internationally, including at the 1954 Venice Biennale.

William Gear, The painter that Britain forgot is a collaboration with City Arts Centre, Edinburgh, the city where Gear studied, and Towner, Eastbourne where he was curator, and has works on loan from the National Gallery of Scotland; Royal Academy, London; and Tate. Following Towner, Gear was appointed Head of Fine Art at Birmingham College of Art, where he became an important part of the city’s cultural and artistic life, mentoring and encouraging young artists while continuing his own experimental works.

William Gear a new book about the artist’s life by art critic Andrew Lambirth is published by Sansom & Co in July 2015.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Admission

£7 with Gift Aid/£6/£5 conc./£3.50 Art Fund members
Free entry to Towner members, carers and under 16s

Website

http://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/william-gear-1915-1997-the-painter-that-britain-forgot/

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Alan Davie's SeaGate

A Radical View: William Gear as Curator 1958–64

  • 9 May — 31 August 2015 *on now

Highlights from A Radical View include paintings such as Ceri Richard’s Poissons d’Or (1963), Edward Wadsworth’s Bronze Ballet (1940), Alan Davie Sea Gate (1960), Ivon Hitchens’ Evening Sky Over Hills (1957), and Edward Burra’s Soldiers’ Backs (1942).

Suitable for

  • Any age

Website

http://www.townereastbourne.org.uk/exhibition/a-radical-view-william-gear-as-curator-1958-64/

Getting there

There are excellent public transport links to Towner, including direct rail links from London, Brighton and the rest of the South East.

Towner is a 10 minute walk (or 5 minute taxi ride) from the station. Follow Gildredge Road to the end, then cross over South Street and Furness Road to College Road. Towner is situated at the end of the road on the left, at the junction between College and Carlisle Roads.

Driving from London, take the A23 from London, A27 to Eastbourne and then A2270 towards the town centre & seafront. At the roundabout on Upperton Road (which the A2270 turns into), take the second exit on to Grove Road. At the end of Grove Road take a left down South Street; turn right and immediately left on to College Road. Towner is at the end of College Road.

See our website for rail and bus links.

Towner
Devonshire Park
College Road
Eastbourne
East Sussex
BN21 4JJ
England

Website

Towner website

www.townereastbourne.org.uk

E-mail

towner@eastbourne.gov.uk

Telephone

General Enquiries

01323 434660

Front Desk / Event Bookings

01323 434670

Venue Hire / Membership

01323 434682

Fax

01323 434699

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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