WEST YORKSHIRE.- The Hepworth Wakefield
launched its second year of contemporary exhibitions this summer with an exhibition featuring Luke Fowler, Turner Prize nominee 2012.
In 2010 The Hepworth Wakefield, Wolverhampton Art Gallery and Film and Video Umbrella were awarded the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award for Museums: commission to collect. Thanks to this generous investment, The Poor Stockinger, Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott by Luke Fowler has been commissioned and will be co-acquired for the permanent collections of both institutions.
Simon Wallis, Director of The Hepworth Wakefield said: Were delighted to launch our second year at The Hepworth Wakefield thanks to the Contemporary Art Society Annual Award, a newly commissioned film work, which will remain in our permanent collection by Turner Prize 2012 nominee, Luke Fowler.
Opened on Saturday 23 June and running until Sunday 14 October, the exhibition features new works by the artist and is part of the London 2012 Festival, a spectacular 12-week nationwide celebration, running from 21 June until 9 September 2012, bringing together leading artists from across the world with the very best from the UK.
The Poor Stockinger, the Luddite Cropper and the Deluded Followers of Joanna Southcott focuses on the work of the Marxist historian Edward Palmer-Thompson, who, from 1946 (at the age of 24), was employed by the Workers Education Association (WEA) to teach literature and social history to adults in the industrial towns of the West Riding. These classes provided education to people who had been historically unable to access a university education.
E.P. Thompson became synonymous with the discipline of cultural studies that emerged in Post-War Britain, along with fellow northern socialists Raymond Williams and Richard Hoggart. Pertinently, Fowlers commission will be shown in parallel with the gallerys new major collection rehang Post-War British Sculpture and Painting.
Fowlers film explores the issues that were at stake for progressive educationalists. Like E.P. Thompson, many desired to use their teaching to create revolutionaries and pursue the original WEA values of delivering a socially purposeful education. The film captures a moment of optimism, in which E.P. Thompsons ideas for progressive education came together with those of the West Riding and its existing tradition of political resistance and activism.
The film draws together archival material from television, the University of Leeds department of Extra-Mural Studies and the Workers Education Association. These archival documents are set against present-day film footage and sounds gathered on location in the former West Riding region of Yorkshire.
In realising this new commission, Fowler has worked in collaboration with acclaimed American independent filmmaker Peter Hutton and Yorkshire-born writer/filmmaker George Clark. The film will premiere at The Hepworth Wakefield this summer, before touring to Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
Simon Wallis, Director, The Hepworth Wakefield commented: Luke Fowler is a fascinating artist and commissioning this new work for The Hepworth Wakefield collection is the perfect way for the collection to grow again and continue the citys progressive approach to collecting contemporary art, as it did in the past with Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore.
Paul Hobson, Director, Contemporary Art Society commented: "Museums face challenging times, and with the support of the Sfumato Foundation we act as a conduit for highly strategic philanthropy to strengthen curatorial capacity in museums and support new works by artists entering public collections for local audiences no matter where they live. We look forward to seeing this exciting collaboration.