Wolverhampton to host British Art Show 9 next year after Covid-19 delays to touring exhibition

A prestigious art exhibition which tours the UK is set to arrive in Wolverhampton next year after it was delayed due to Covid-19.

Alberta Whittle, Celestial Meditations II, 2017. Courtesy of Alberta Whittle and Copperfield, London. Copyright: the artist.
Alberta Whittle, Celestial Meditations II, 2017. Courtesy of Alberta Whittle and Copperfield, London. Copyright: the artist.

British Art Show 9 – the biggest touring exhibition of contemporary art in the UK – was set to open in the city in March this year.

But now it will open in Aberdeen in July this year and will take place in Wolverhampton between January 22 and April 10, 2022.

It comes after organisers consulted with all the cities involved in the tour over dates being rescheduled due to the impact of the virus.

Wolverhampton Council leader Councillor Ian Brookfield said: "It’s unfortunate and unavoidable that British Art Show 9 has been moved back to early next year but the safety of our residents and visitors to our city is paramount.

"We’re looking forward to hosting this prestigious event more than ever. It will bring talented artists to various locations across Wolverhampton including the Art Gallery and the University’s School of Art.

"The exhibition will be a great way to kick off 2022, a year which will see world class events coming to the city including the Commonwealth Games, Wolverhampton Literature Festival and big-name gigs at our newly refurbished Civic Halls.

"It also gives everyone something exiting to look forward to as better and brighter times are ahead of us following the pandemic."

The British Art Show is widely recognised as a significant marker of recent developments in contemporary art, unrivalled in its scope and national reach, and has a track record of attracting a high volume of visitors to its touring cities. British Art Show 8 attracted over 300,000 visitors in its tour of four cities from October 2015 to January 2017.

Maggie Ayliffe, head of Wolverhampton School of Art, said: "We are thrilled to announce our hosting of the delayed first UK leg of British Art Show 9, when we will safely welcome visitors to our iconic Wolverhampton School of Art.

"The experiences and frustrations of the last year have made it even more important to host an event like the British Art Show that enables conversations with the artists and giving a voice to the most pressing concerns of our times. We can’t wait to begin that here in Wolverhampton."

The exhibition showcases work by more than 40 artists in Britain over the past five years – covering themes healing, care and reparative history; tactics for togetherness; and imagining new futures.

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