MACC to GAC and Back: Four Curatorial Interventions

'MACC to GAC and Back: Four Curatorial Interventions' is a series of displays in April and May 2011 which mark the culmination of a collaborative research project.

MACC to GAC and Back: Four Curatorial Interventions (April - May 2011)

Three of the displays will run at the Government Art Collection headquarters, with an additional off-site exhibition at the Cass Gallery, at The Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Media and Design, London Metropolitan University.

Featured artists will include Layla Curtis, Jeremy Deller, Julian Opie, Gillian Wearing and Rachel Whiteread.

Each exhibition will be accompanied by a publication and the curators of the shows will take part in a special Q&A session on the 25th May.

Exhibitions to be held at the Government Art Collection
Queen’s Yard, 179A Tottenham Court Road, London W1T 7PA

Free. Booking essential: 
T: 020 7580 9120 E:
For further information:

Reflections – curated by Clementina Cosco

5 – 8 and 11 – 14 April
12.00 – 18.00 pm

At the heart of this exhibition stands the powerful image of water – the Jungian archetype of the unconscious – which carries with it a sense of completeness, of unrelenting circularity, of a full, if not fully disclosed, meaning, whose essence parallels the display itself.

One, No One and One Hundred Thousand – curated by Francesca Sarno

27 – 28 April and 4 – 6 May
12.00 – 18.00 pm

This selection of historical and contemporary artworks from the GAC ranges from 16th century prints to contemporary video pieces, sculptures and photographs. The display investigates the centrality of the human body in the definition of identity, engaging with the construction of characters as a means of self-representation. Disguise, fashion and performance are juxtaposed in an ironic montage in which historical and fictional characters are merged, creating a newly invented identity for the works in the collection.

The Devil’s Acre – curated by Will Cooper

Museum at Night weekend on 
14 – 15 May, then 18 – 20, 26 – 27 May 2011 
12.00 – 18.00 pm

The show takes a new approach to a selection of works from the GAC, presenting them alongside fictionalised exhibition labels conceived by writer and critic Sally O’Reilly. These fictions create an absurd narrative around works that have, traditionally, been used to decorate the walls of Britain’s governmental offices and embassies. This ambitious, playful and challenging exhibition applies a new and fresh narrative to the works within the collection, picking up on seemingly irrelevant details and turning them on their head.

Exhibtion at the Cass Gallery
London Metropolitan University, 41-71 Commercial Road, London E1 1LA
Free. Further information: 
T: 07913717999 

The Cult of the Difficult – curated by Susanna Bianchini and Habda Rashid

10 May – 3 June 2011, Monday – Friday
12.00 am – 18.00 pm

This off-site show examines some of the contemporary works in the GAC, highlighting acquisition strategies such as site-specificity and commissioning. A selected group of contemporary artists, who are included in the GAC, are invited to re-engage with their Collection works. Although these desired artworks are absent – located elsewhere – the display creates a space for each artist’s further inquiry into their works held in the GAC.

Read more here:

Notes to editors:

MACC to GAC and Back includes works by: Layla Curtis, Jeremy Deller, Andrew Grassie, Langlands and Bell, Hew Locke, Julian Opie, Gillian Wearing, Eva Weinmayr, Rachel Whiteread, Bedwyr Williams, John Wood and Paul Harrison.

MACC to GAC and Back
Q&A – Wednesday 25 May at 6:30 pm at the Frederick Parker Chair Collection, London Metropolitan University, 41 -71 Commercial Road London E1 1LA. Limited seats, RSVP to
The curators in conversation answer questions about the practicalities of curating in relation to the organised shows at the GAC.

A publication designed by Supanova accompanies each show and will be available at the venues.

The Government Art Collection (GAC) is a working collection and has been since the British Government began to collect works of art to display in 1898. Over the years the collection has expanded and nowadays contains over 13,500 works of art, mainly by British artists ranging from the 16th century to the present day. Works from the Collection are displayed in the offices and reception rooms of several hundred major British Government buildings in the United Kingdom and around the world. Thousands of people visit these buildings every year and therefore the works of art themselves play a vital role in helping to promote British art and artists.

The Government Art Collection’s first exhibition in a public gallery opens at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, on 3 June 2011. There will be five separate displays running until 2 September 2012; admission is free.

MA Curating the Contemporary is a professional course, devised and taught by London Metropolitan Universitywith Whitechapel Gallery. Through direct involvement in the life cycle of the gallery, students acquire the key skills and knowledge of curatorial practice as well as an informed understanding of the contemporary visual arts.