Friday, July 24, 2009

Ant Macari: "Rank: Picturing The Social Order 1615-2009" Grundy Art Gallery, Blackpool, UK

Picturing the social order 1516-2009

25 July - 12 September 2009

Who do we think 'we' are? 'Rank' asks: how have we imagined the shape of our society? It is the first ever exhibition to examine how British artists - and many others - have represented the shape of their society from the Renaissance to the present. It brings together nearly 100 contributors, placing masterpieces from
almost all England's national collections - the British Library, Tate, British Museum, V&A and Arts Council Collection - next to images made for the urban poor
from the Working Class Movement Library, and those for Victorian middle-class collectors from libraries and archives. 'Rank' reveals the shape of our society
through objects from different social strata, as well as representations of 'ranks', 'classes', 'orders' and 'estates'.

WP Frith's 'Derby Day', shows what was described as "a gathering clearly subversive of the proper distinctions which should always in a well-governed country exist between class and class." 'Rank' mixes objects which occupy different positions in our hierarchy of images. It also juxtaposes works by some of the
greatest names in British art with new research from academic experts and public agencies, so that pictures of our myths and stereotypes of our national life sit
alongside those based on hard fact. All seek to visualise the ways in which our societies are and have been ordered and classified.

The exhibition is organised by Nothern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, and is accompanied by a 144 page fully illustrated catalogue with essays by the journalist Polly Toynbee, historian Professor Keith Wrightson, geographer Professor Daniel Dorling, and sociologist Gordon Fyfe.

Grundy Art Gallery
Queen Street

Grundy is open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Bank Holidays during exhibitions July to September, 11am - 4pm. Closed Sundays


Ant Macari

The Heresy of the Free Spirit

Ink pen on wall
2m x 2m
Commissioned for 'Rank' Leeds City Art Gallery. Courtesy of the artist and Workplace Gallery, UK