Image Untitled by Luise Kimme, 1972, Newcastle © Arnolfini Gallery
Out There: Our Post-War Public Art opens at Historic England’s Bessie Surtees House on Thursday 8th September, with the exhibition shining a light on the sculptures and structures created by pioneering artists between 1945 and 1985. It follows the story of public art through modern Britain in a fascinating exploration.
From the sculptures at Newcastle University and Civic Centre to the Apollo Pavilion at Peterlee, Out There will celebrate England’s wonderful yet often-overlooked national collection of public art, with each piece an interesting story in itself. Highlighting lost works and more, this is a captivating collection that will need to be seen.
The ideal of bringing art out of the galleries and into the public realm was something post-war Britain aimed for, and these pieces all form part of that. The exhibition opening will coincide with the announcement of new listings, and therefore protection, of public art, continuing the work that Historic England has been doing to assess 20th-century sculpture across England. In January, Historic England announced the new listing of over 40 works of post-war public art, including The Miner by Arthur Fleischmann in St Helens, Rosewall by Barbara Hepworth in Chesterfield, Derbyshire and Untitled [Listening] by Antony Gormley in Maygrove Peace Park, London – the first statue by Gormley to be listed. With talks and tours to follow, this is immensely accessible art shown as it was meant to be.