The Otolith Group
Herbert James Draper
Jean Michel Wicker
George Wallace Jardine
William Lionel Whyllie
Aquatopia. The imaginary of the ocean deep is a major exhibition of contemporary and historic art that explores how the ocean deep has been imagined across cultures and through time. The Small Collections Room displays "Trade Secrets", rare archive materials from ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles, founded in 1952.
The imaginary of the ocean deep
20 Jul 2013 - 22 Sep 2013
Curated by Alex Farquharson
Ninety percent of the earth’s oceans remain unexplored. Science knows outer space better than the ocean deep. Scores of “new” species, weirder than any fiction, are found each time a submersible descends to the ocean’s deepest trenches.
In the absence of knowledge the deep is a site where imagination has full rein. The ocean has always bred monsters, and like outer space has been a setting for science fiction since Jules Verne. But unlike outer space, the oceans are part of our own planet – and by extension a part of us too.
Throughout recorded history the deep has been the site of shared myths, subconscious fears and unnamed desires. Aquatopia, then, is less about the ocean as it actually is – it is about how it lives in our heads.
This major exhibition brings together over 150 contemporary and historic artworks that explore how the deep has been imagined through time and across cultures. Sea monsters, sirens, sperm whales, giant squids, octopi, submarines, drowned sailors and shipwrecks are all portrayed here by many of art history’s “greats” JMW Turner, Odilon Redon, Hokusai, Barbara Hepworth and Oskar Kokoshka among them. Steve Claydon, Wangechi Mutu, Juergen Teller, Alex Bag, Christian Holstad and Mikhail Karikis are some of the many celebrated contemporary artists amongst whose oceanic – inspired artworks are shown here too.
The exhibition is a collaboration with Tate St Ives in Cornwall, where it will be shown from October 2013 to January 2014.
The imaginary oceans these artworks explore represent both the limits of our knowledge and the crossing of existential thresholds. Oceans are places of metamorphosis where “we suffer a sea change into something rich and strange”, according to Shakespeare in the Tempest.
Our wild imaginings about the ocean aren’t simply escapist. The ocean is the keeper of political histories that continually resurface in the present day. Ocean myths both ancient and contemporary have been shaped by conquest and colonialism, and by the tide
of gender politics too.
Some of the world’s great literature draws on the ocean, and Aquatopia has strong links with literature too. Books it refers to include The Odyssey, The Tempest, The Ancient Mariner, Moby Dick and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Allusions to this great tradition of maritime literature can be found in many of the art works. The exhibition catalogue, published in partnership with Tate, contains both classic literary texts and essays by leading contemporary thinkers on the sea.
Aquatopia begins in Nottingham, the city furthest from the coast, but at the centre of an island nation whose history has been shaped by its relationship to the sea. In October it will travel to Tate St Ives, our partners in this exhibition, whose galleries overlook a relentless surf.
Artists include: Ant Farm, Alex Bag & Ethan Kramer, Hernan Bas, John Bellany, Guy Ben-Ner, Ashley Bickerton, Rudolf & Leopold Blaschka, Marcel Broodthaers, Bernard Buffet, Spartacus Chetwynd, Steven Claydon, Angela Cockayne & Philip Hoare, David Cox the Elder, Liz Craft, Dorothy Cross, Salvador Dali, Francis Danby, Alan Davie, Mark Dion, Mati Diop, Gustave Doré, Dee Ferris, Lucian Freud, Vidya Gastaldon & Jean-Michel Wicker, Ernst Haeckel, Barbara Hepworth, Katsushika Hokusai, Christian Holstad, Herbert James Draper, Mikhail Karikis, Oskar Kokoschka, Utagawa Kuniyoshi, Sean Landers, William Lionel Wyllie, Andrea Mantegna, Ana Mendieta, Madsen Mompremier, Wangechi Mutu, Willem Ormea, The Otolith Group, Jean Painlevé, Eric Ravilious, Odilon Redon, Germaine Richier, Henry Scott Tuke, Shimabuku, Simon Starling, Ricky Swallow, Juergen Teller, Wolfgang Tillmans, JMW Turner, Marcel Van Eeden, Alfred Wallis, Edward Wadsworth, George Wallace Jardine, Karl Weschke, Jennifer West, Hannah Wilke, Frantz Zephirin
Press Trip: 19th July 2013
ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives
20 Jul 2013 - 04 Aug 2013
The Small Collections Room
Curated by David Evans Frantz
The Small Collections Room displays rare archive materials from ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives in Los Angeles. Founded in 1952, ONE is the oldest collection of its kind in the world and the oldest archive LGBTQ organisation in the US.
The Cabinets will be filled with an eclectic display of materials from the archives. These include artworks and personal papers, some never seen before, by poet and painter Sidney Bronstein (1921–1967). Bronstein worked in Los Angeles from the 1950s onwards where he became actively involved in the city’s gay life. He drew and painted portraits of muscle-bound men in uniform who he met while cruising downtown Los Angeles. He meticulously recorded information about these encounters with servicemen in a 1950s accountants’ ledger, which was later used in the controversial studies on human sexual behaviour carried out by Dr. Alfred Kinsey. While given very few opportunities to exhibit his work, Bronstein continued to paint throughout his life.
Bronstein was also an early volunteer at ONE Magazine, the first widely distributed magazine for homosexuals in the US – a landmark publication recognized internationally by the LGBTQ activist community. For years issues were sold hand-to-hand, and for many ONE was the only connection to a wider gay community during the repressive McCarthy era in the United States. Copies of ONE Magazine and selfpublished zines from ONE will be on display. Radical topics include Are Homosexuals Reds? (1953), Are Homosexuals Neurotics (1955), Men who Find Lesbians Desirable (1959), Homosexual Marriage? (1953) and The Homosexual Villain (1955), authored by the journalist and novelist Normal Mailer.
Sheet music from the Collection of Ralph W. Judd, who gathered materials reflecting America’s changing sensibility toward cross-dressing in the 20th century, is also on display. With over 1000 different scores, titles include songs such as My Regular Girl is a Regular Feller, I Only Want a Buddy... Not a Sweetheart and I Want a Girl (Just like the Girl that Married Dear Old Dad). The display will also include a number of materials related to Julian Eltinge, a well-known female impersonator who performed in American vaudeville performances and was one of the highest paid actors during the early 20th century.
David Evans Frantz is Curator of ONE National Gay & Lesbian Archives, Los Angeles
Lynn Hanna or Vicky Godfrey on 0115 948 9763 / 0115 948 9750 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday 19 July 20136.30pm - 11pmFree, booking required...
Weekday Cross, Nottingham
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Sunday 11am - 5pm