New exhibition takes a trail through The Bowes Museum
By Stuart Laundy - Senior Reporter
A NEW exhibition organised by the innovative Bowes Centre for Art, Craft and Design will take the form of a trail through the museum.
It is the culmination of a six-month project which began with an invitation to artists to bid for one of just ten commissions.
The successful artists were then challenged to come up with something inspired by the collections, building or immediate environment of The Bowes Museum.
Dubbed the #Untitled10 challenge, those chosen to take part ranged from a contemporary dancer and musician to a neon artist and jeweller.
Matthew Read, director of the Bowes Centre, said the project had thrown up some interesting results, one of which will result in sounds being heard in the museum’s music room for the first time.
He said one artist had chosen to focus on the health of Josephine Bowes, which deteriorated during the museum’s construction to the extent that she took to bathing in potassium sulphide baths laced with sulphuric acid.
Photographer Richard Glynn, meanwhile, delved into the museum’s archives to put together a street-front montage of houses in Middleton-in-Teesdale in the 1960s.
Newcastle-based Eliot Smith has come up with a new dance work called In Plain Movement which, he says, has been inspired by the museum, its founders, the building and the collections housed there.
With nothing like #Untitled10 ever tried before at the museum, Mr Read said he was “incredibly interested” in feedback once the exhibition opens.
Mr Read will be running daily tours of the exhibition throughout its ten week run, which will also feature a live performance on In Plain Movement, by Mr Smith, early next year.
“It’s been an incredible process. When the artists move into their space, it will transform that space,” he said.
“It’s very much an experimental process. The big question is how does the museum react to it – and I can’t answer that yet. There is a bit of a quizzical look about it and that is understandable. Does it bring in more visitors? Let’s see if the social media followers turn into physical visitors.”
Mr Read said the exhibition would also add to the museum’s winter offer.
“The Bowes Museum has done very well with blockbuster summer exhibitions. What happens in the dark winter months?
“If we can build a stronger winter constituency, then when it comes to spring, we have go some momentum.”
#Untitled10 opens on Thursday, November 8, and runs until January 10 next year.