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Revealed: Government Art Collection opens at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 17 November 2012 - 24 February 2013

  • Date: 21 November 2012
  • Area: Midlands
Revealed: Government Art Collection

Revealed: Government Art Collection.

A fascinating exhibition unveiling some of the most prominent works from the Government Art Collection opens at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery 16 November 2012.

Revealed will be the first time that these works, usually displayed in British Government buildings across the world, have been united under one roof and Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery has been chosen as the first venue outside London to display this intriguing exhibition. The exhibition will clearly tell the remarkable story of the Government Art Collection and includes important works by such distinguished artists as Edward Lear, L.S. Lowry, John Piper, Walter Sickert, Vanessa Bell, Bridget Riley, Grayson Perry, Callum Innes, Tracey Emin and Hurvin Anderson.


Across the five distinct themes of the exhibition, an individual or group of selectors will focus on a particular theme or aspect of the Collection.


  • A group of ministers, diplomats and senior civil servants, including former Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Head of M16 Sir John Sawers, have selected works for the theme At Work, casting a light on the intriguing role that art plays in politics and diplomacy.


  • Artist Cornelia Parker selected Richard of York Gave Battle In Vain presenting over 70 works arranged as a colour spectrum and hung en masse in the style of a 19th century art salon. Giving rise to some curious juxtapositions – old Masters rubbing shoulders with Young British Artists – Parker’s stunning array allows visitors to see familiar works in a new light, while creating new meanings for many others.


  • Simon Schama’s theme, Travelling Light, cast the international cultural and political commentator in the role of explorer, picking up on the excitement and trepidation experienced by an artist when setting out on a journey, yet never quite capturing it all.


  • In 12 from No 10 a group of 10 Downing Street staff, including personal assistants, cleaners and facility managers, chose a favourite works of art from the many that have been on display in this historic London building over the years.


  • The GAC’s commissioning role is the focus for Commissions: Now and Then. Over the past 60 years, the GAC has commissioned art for new or refurbished government buildings in the UK and abroad. Central to this theme and to coincide with the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, is a new interactive commission by Mel Brimfield.


This touring exhibition will also be accompanied by The Story of the Government Art Collection in which rare items from the Collection’s archives will be on display. Many of the works have fascinating stories attached and have provided a backdrop to some of the key events in British history for more than a Century. 

Read more on the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery website.