Autumn Art Lecture Series 2019 - Sculpture and The City

Until recently, the sculptural arts have dominated the squares and public spaces of the city. This has never been an easy task. Such places put art in a difficult position: hard to avoid but open to attack. Some find the statue a source of delight while for others it represents a challenge to be contested. Indifference has also plagued this public art form. More recently, other more interactive interventions have usurped its role. Understanding public sculpture requires a multi-disciplinary approach. Political, social, historical and aesthetic issues are all at stake. This year’s Autumn Art Lectures touch on all these areas and aim to make us think not just about the past of public sculpture, but also its possible future.

All of the lectures will start at 6.30 pm and take place in the Wills Memorial Building, Queen's Road, BS8 1RJ.

Further information and booking for each lecture is available.


Sculpture in the City: In conversation with Luke Jerram‌

29 Oct

6.30 pm, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ

Luke Jerram, Installation artist

Luke's multidisciplinary practice involves the creation of sculptures, installations and live arts projects. His work has an international audience, but it is also rooted here in Bristol. He will discuss the place of sculpture in his artistic practice as well as the role of the artist in the public realm. How can the traditional public medium of sculpture compete with dynamic interventions like ‘Park and Slide’? What kind of relationships exist between artist and community? Is public art always political? How are public arts – sculpture and other interventions – shaped by the character of particular places?

Luke will be in conversation with Georgina Bolton - Bristol based Public Art Producer and Curator specialising in public realm projects. People and place are at the heart of Georgina’s Producing approach, having brought to life public realm projects with local communities across challenging heritage sites, parks, castles, beaches, fields and forests in previous roles at Situations, Trust New Art, The Architecture Centre and The Watershed amongst others. Georgina is a proud board member of Terrestrial UK, an Associate Lecturer on University of West of England’s MA/MFA Curating course and is currently Bristol City Council’s Officer for Public Art. Tweet @george_bolton

Luke will be on hand to sign books following the lecture, so do bring along your copies.

Image credit: © Ocean Pavilion, courtesy of Luke Jerram

Booking is required

Revisiting 'City Sculpture Project' (1972)

5 Nov

6.30 pm, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ

Dr Jon Wood, Independent Curator and Art Historian.

Sculpture was talk of the town in Britain in the summer of 1972. It was being discussed and debated, written about and reviewed, regularly appearing in regional and national newspapers, as photographs were circulated up and down the country. This was due to the City Sculpture Project, a hugely ambitious scheme that commissioned large-scale contemporary sculptures and installed them for six months across eight cities that year: Sheffield, Liverpool, Birmingham, Newcastle, Cambridge, Southampton, Cardiff and Plymouth.

The project was funded by the Peter Stuyvesant Foundation and the Arts Council. It was the brainchild of Jeremy Rees and coordinated by his colleague Anthony Stokes. Based at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, where Rees was director, both men worked hard to bring sculptures and sites together, liaising not only with sculptors and local authorities.

This talk revisits the ‘City Sculpture Project’ looking at the works again and arguing that it marked a fascinating moment in the history of public sculpture in Britain and within the field of public art and urban space more generally. It was concerned with finding busy and central urban locations for a new kind of contemporary, largely abstract sculpture that was disconnected from older, more traditional commemorative rationales and removed from the associative imagery of the monument.

Image credit: Jon Wood

Booking is required.

Outside the White Cube: On Public Sculpture Projects

12 Nov

6.30 pm, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ

Dr Britta Peters, Artistic Director at Urbane Künste Ruhr, Germany

The Skulptur Projekte at Munster is the sculptural equivalent of the Venice Biennale or the documenta exhibitions at Kassel. It has been held every 10 years since 1977 and has hosted works by sculptors such as Carl Andre, Richard Long, Mark Wallinger and Jeremy Deller. Britta Peters curated the event in 2017. Peters will not only talk about the impact of the Skulptur Projekte 2017 but will also introduce the significance of public sculpture in the context of her new role as the artistic director of Urbane Künste Ruhr, a decentralised institution for contemporary art in the Ruhr region of Germany that is responsible for art projects, exhibitions and events in public spaces. She has developed a new approach to public sculpture projects in this context – the ‘Ruhr Ding’ – that takes on major contemporary themes, such as climate change. In May/June 2019, the theme was Territories, an exhibition that examined the role that territory plays in forming identity, an issue of particular resonance in what may very well be the year of Brexit.

Image credit: © Henning Rogge / Urbane Künste Ruhr

Booking is required

Temporary Sculpture: Testing places

19 Nov

6.30 pm Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ

Charles Quick, Professor of Public Art Practice, School of Art, Design and Fashion, University of Central Lancashire

In 2003, Professor Charles Quick co-founded In Certain Places, a curatorial partnership based at the University of Central Lancashire, Preston. Through interdisciplinary projects, the partnership has worked with artists to question, test, disrupt and shape the places in their city. As curators, they see their role as that of brokering connections between people and places. They investigate the ways in which artists generate new understandings of particular places and instigate change, by engaging with the complexities of place in creative and critical ways. These projects span a range of art forms and include temporary public art works, architectural commissions, artist residencies, public talks, discussions, events and publications. Whilst locally specific, these activities connect with wider issues of art practice and place. Professor Quick will reflect in particular on the role of temporary sculptures in engaging local communities.   

Charles Quick is a Professor of Public Art Practice at the University of Central Lancashire with over 40 years’ experience as a teacher, artist/researcher and curator in the public realm. He has contributed permanent and temporary arts projects to cities across the United Kingdom. ’In Certain Places’ has been presented in venues such as Modern Art Oxford; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism / Architecture, Hong Kong; and the Venice Biennial of Architecture.

Image credit: © Harris Flights Research Design and Charles Quick

Booking is required.

Off the Plinth: Episodes in the History of Public Sculpture (A round table chaired by Professor Tim Cole)‌

26 Nov

6.30 pm, Wills Memorial Building, Queen’s Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ

Throughout its history public sculpture has been wielded as a tool in the hands of power. The medium of sculpture has not only been used to generate a durable public presence for powerful individuals, but has also endowed abstract political concepts with physical form – think of the Statue of Liberty. In other words, statues and memorials can be used to shape and control the contested narratives of both the present and the past. As a result, when these narratives are challenged, it is often sculptural objects that become targets in the resulting conflict. In this roundtable, three speakers will present three moments in the history of public sculpture, moments – in part – of crisis. Bryan Ward-Perkins will take us back to the fate of sculpture at the end of the Roman Empire in relation to the major research project, The Last Statues of Rome. Stacy Boldrick will carry us forward to the iconoclastic defacement and destruction of statues in the English Reformation. Finally, Ekow Eshun will consider the place of the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, a public context full of the visual imagery of imperial power.

Panelists are:

Booking is required.