modern art

Hastings Contemporary to champion modern art in South East England

Article: David Styles | Image: © Hastings Contemporary

A rebranding exercise on the South East coast of England is now complete, with the refurbished Hastings Contemporary, formerly the Jerwood Gallery, set to open its doors to the public this weekend.

Hastings Contemporary will officially open on 6th July, and is looking to build on the seven years of work undertaken by the team operating its predecessor, the Jerwood Gallery.

One marked change is already evident in the form of a new, expanded curatorial programme, which it is hoped will deliver a stronger commitment to painting as a medium; while maintaining the Jerwood’s focus on modern and contemporary art.

The Jerwood Gallery, which opened in 2012, was visited by more than 300,000 people before being closed down in preparation to pass on the mantle to the newly-formed Hastings Contemporary.

A key aim for the new gallery, once it becomes established, is to strike new industry partnerships in order to build on several previous collaborations between the Jerwood and the likes of Tate, Royal Academy and National Gallery.

We are thrilled at the prospect of inviting ever wider audiences to come and experience art by the sea

Liz Gilmore, Director, Hastings Contemporary
The gallery's Director, Liz Gilmore, explore the exhibition space prior to opening © Hastings Contemporary

Liz Gilmore, Director of Hastings Contemporary, stated: “Our programme will take advantage of the entire building, and we are thrilled at the prospect of inviting ever wider audiences to come and experience art by the sea. We are delighted to have secured a generous donation in support of the opening of Hastings Contemporary.”

Gilmore says Arts Council England “enabled a remarkable institution to come to life” and the organisation’s Executive Director for East and South East England, Hedley Swain, noted: “The opportunity for everyone to access, enjoy and be inspired by great art and culture is hugely important to the Arts Council. We recognise the huge contribution that has been made by the Jerwood Foundation and the ongoing commitment of Hastings Borough Council to develop the town’s cultural offer.

“Hastings Contemporary has a key role to play in continuing to build on this, ensuring that both the local community and visitors to the town can enjoy great art. This is an important moment for the gallery, and I look forward to seeing it going from strength to strength.”

The exhibitions to mark the rebranded gallery’s launch will feature new works by painters Tal R, Roy Oxlade, and David Bomberg. Also part of the relaunch, Hastings Contemporary’s Artist Patron, Sir Quentin Blake, will present a series of new drawings.

Blake says he “could never have imagined, many years ago when I bought my ancient house in Hastings, that one day there would be an art gallery a few minutes’ walk away at the end of the street; brilliantly contemporary, but at the same time harmonising with its unique site on The Stade.”