3/08/2016 — 13/08/2016
The Legacy of Seaside Moderne
Event: 3 August. 5.30 - 7.30pm. 'The Legacy of Seaside Moderne' - Jenny Steele invites Fred Gray, Emeritus Professor and author of 'Designing the Seaside', Blackpool and Fylde Historian, Ted Lightbown, and Architectural Photographer Stephen Marland, to share their research related to Seaside Moderne architecture. Steele will also present research and artwork from her project, 'Looking Back|Moving Forwards'.
Presentations will be followed by a conversation and Q+A. The event is free and refreshments will be provided.
An Architecture of Joy, an exhibition of new work by artist Jenny Steele, considers the legacy of inter-War ‘Seaside Moderne’ architecture, such as the Midland Hotel in Morecambe and Pleasure Beach Casino in Blackpool, built during the 1930s leisure boom in Britain. Turning the Grundy’s Rotunda Gallery into a stage-set of sorts, incorporating abstracted and repeated motifs drawn from the period, the artist revives the utopian optimism and restorative properties of seaside leisure.
During 2015, Jenny Steele researched into existing examples of Seaside Moderne architecture in the North West of England and Scotland by site visits, researching related documents and drawings in the RIBA and V&A archives, and conversations with local historians and inhabitants.
Image: Jenny Steele, 2016, Courtesy of the artist
1/09/2016 — 7/01/2017
The Charged Line
NEON: The Charged Line is an exciting new survey show, bringing together works by artists who have utilised neon in their practices since the pioneers of conceptual art in the 1960s. The exhibition explores how artists since then have examined the physical properties of a light designed to be seen rather than illuminate.
The exhibition will see the galleries turned into a narrative of rooms, each bringing together different sets of aesthetic concerns and ideas. Gallery One will explore the relationship between sign, text and language, drawing on key early examples from the 1960s, whilst later galleries explore how certain artists have worked with neon as a drawn line, an amplification of the two dimensional, and an investigation of the space between drawing and sculpture.
The exhibition will also look at how certain artists working after the Light and Space Movement have employed neon to create minimal and perceptual forms and environments.
Image: Joseph Kosuth ‘Neon’ (1965), courtesy the artist
1/09/2016 — 7/01/2017
Illuminations Archive Exhibition
Our exhibition title 'The Charged Line' refers not only to the scientific properties of the neon but also its cultural history, tracing a lineage closely associated with Blackpool. Achieved by passing an electrical current through different noble gasses, the phosphorescence of neon was first discovered in 1898, with the process subsequently patented by Georges Claude in 1915. In Britain, Blackpool was one of the first places to show neon in the early 1930s, after it became widely used first in Paris, then in Los Angeles and New York, with the ‘Claudgen’ company designing a series of neons as part of its annual ‘Illuminations’ held in the town.
Running concurrently with NEON: The Charged Line, the Grundy is exhibiting images of original designs for 1930s neon Illuminations, taken from Blackpool’s unique and historic archive of working drawings, which extends across the Twentieth Century. These early designs will be shown in a parallel display in the gallery’s upstairs rotunda gallery.