The grand re-opening of Hayward Gallery

‘I first visited the Hayward Gallery when I was about 14 years old and I must have been back several times a year, every year, since then, so you can safely say it has been a part of the my cultural life for nearly half a century. It means a great deal to me: it has helped shape who I am as an artist and as a person’ David Batchelor (British artist)

A fine example of Brutalist architecture, the Hayward Gallery (opened in summer 1968) sits proudly on London’s South Bank. Its presence in the capital’s cultural ecology over the past half-a-century certainly cannot be underestimated. (Joanna Drew was the founding Director and the building was designed by British architect, Norman Engleback). One of its priorities was to be home to the expansive Arts Council Collection, which it still proudly does to this day.

The Hayward’s cultural vision has, crucially, remained influential and salient over the decades by presenting some of the world’s most exciting, cutting-edge art. Since the late-1960s, exhibitions of work by iconic artists such as Paul Klee, Francis Bacon, Bridget Riley, and Antony Gormley (among so many others) have graced the handsome concrete spaces of the gallery. In recent years it’s the gallery’s current Director, Ralph Rugoff who has championed an even more ambitious exhibitions programme to critical acclaim. (Rugoff, incidentally, has been appointed Artistic Director of the 2019 Venice Biennale).

Closed since September 2015 for a multi-million pound renovation project, the Hayward opens it’s doors again to the public on 25th January 2018. It’s a big deal and there’s much anticipation, not least because the grand opening exhibition is a major retrospective of pioneering German photographer, Andreas Gursky. The luxurious accompanying catalogue is due to land any day now and we’re fully expecting it to be one of our most popular books in years.

‘I’m thrilled that we will reopen Hayward Gallery with an exhibition by an artist who has created some of the most visually compelling images of his generation.’ — Ralph Rugoff on the work of Andreas Gursky.

Hayward Gallery has been with us from the very beginning of our work as a distributor of contemporary visual arts books (over 20 years ago). We are privileged to work so closely in partnership with the gallery and when a new Hayward book is published, it’s always exciting: whether the it’s created on the occasion of a show as part of the exhibitions programme, or to accompany a curated ‘touring show’ comprising a specially selection from the Arts Council Collection. Over the years, Hayward publications have consistently been some of our best sellers. You can browse the impressive backlist, and surely find something that inspires you.

So, what else is new from Hayward Gallery? Well, in synergy with it’s 50th anniversary we can expect the imminent arrival of a special anthology of essays collected over the years from past exhibitions in, Fifty Years of Great Art Writing. It’s also reassuring to know that the conviviality and broadness of the Hayward’s reach begins this year with the On Paper exhibition (gleaned from the Arts Council Collection) which is touring the UK through until spring next year. The big summer show is a showcase of the work of contemporary South Korean mixed-media artist Lee Bul, and her catalogue will be available to coincide with it.

So, let’s look forward to the next fifty years of great art. Happy 50th birthday, Hayward Gallery!

Posted on 19th January 2018
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