SHOWCASE: Hatton Gallery Offsite Commission

Applications deadline: 5pm, Monday 2nd May 2016
Artist’s fee £4,000. Production budget £10,000.


Call for artists to create a new demountable art installation, touring to three cultural locations in the North East.


Context
The Hatton Gallery has received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England to develop a programme of offsite activity whilst the gallery is closed for significant redevelopment, from March 2016 to September 2017. During this closure period, the Hatton will run an artistic programme in the region, inviting audiences to engage with the gallery’s collection and history through a newly commissioned work of art, and encouraging visits to the refurbished gallery once reopened.


The brief
We are inviting expressions of interest to create a major new art installation which creatively showcases the Hatton Gallery’s collection, and references its important history in the development of installation art and exhibition design (see Background below). This will involve getting to know the Hatton collection, choosing works of interest in collaboration with Hatton Gallery curatorial staff, and devising an innovative way to present the collection through reproductions (NB original collection objects cannot be included in the artwork). The commission is intended to engage audiences by allowing them to enter into the installation and interact with the reproduction artworks on show.

The artwork will tour to outdoor locations around the region, so must have some form of demountable structure. It will be sited in areas of public thoroughfare near three selected cultural venues, so must be appropriate for open-air conditions. Following the ‘expression of interests’ stage (deadline, 5pm, Monday 2nd May 2016), the shortlisted artists will work in liaison with an architect to devise a suitable demountable structure for the installation.
The total budget for the production of the artwork is £10,000, which must include all production costs (e.g. materials, technical support, structural build, cost of reproducing collection works etc.). The selected artist will receive a fee of £4000, plus expenses for site-visits and install period.

Background
Whilst teaching in Newcastle University’s Fine Art department in the 1950s, Richard Hamilton and Victor Pasmore pioneered a new way of designing exhibitions. They used various types of modular hanging systems – grid structures in which a kit of panels could be arranged and rearranged to create different layouts. The most famous examples of these were Man, Machine and Motion, 1955 (which comprised thirty modular steel frames, in which photographic images were clipped in thematic groups) and an Exhibit, 1957, (which was constructed out of sheets of coloured Perspex suspended in a grid formation which the visitor could walk through). The intention was to give visitors the opportunity ‘to generate their own compositions’. In addition to these innovations made by Pasmore and Hamilton, another key work in the Hatton collection is Kurt Schwitters’ Merz Barn Wall, one of the only surviving fragments of Schwitters’ three immersive Merzbau constructions made between 1923 and 1948. All of these early examples of spatial artworks related to the Hatton were influential precursors to installation art, and this commission is intended to respond to that legacy.

Collections focus
The new art installation must reference and/or represent the Hatton collections in some innovative way, for instance, by the use of surrogates or reproductions of works in the collection, whether digital or physical. For the ‘expressions of interest’ stage, please refer primarily to the online catalogue www.hattongallery.org.uk/collections. However, essential questions about the collection can be directed to hatton.offsite@twmuseums.org.uk. Shortlisted artists will then be offered store-visits and specialist collections advice to support the development of their full proposals.

Intended outcomes
We want the commissioned artwork to:
- Be an innovative work of art in its own right
- Represent the Hatton collection in an innovative way
- Offer an engaging insight into the gallery’s history, especially in terms of exhibition design and installation art
- Have a participatory or interactive element, for instance, using some form of modular system to invite the public to make their own compositions within the work (see Background)
- Inspire people to visit the Hatton Gallery once reopened

How to apply
Application deadline: Monday 2nd May 2016, 5pm
To apply, please send a single PDF with a file size of no more than 1MB to hatton.offsite@twmuseums.org.uk

The PDF application should include:
- An ‘expression of interest’ (of no more than 1000 words) outlining your approach to the project, including your initial thoughts on the following points:
o How the artwork will meet the project aims (see Intended outcomes above)
o Examples of some works from the Hatton Collection that you are interested in responding to (please see online catalogue www.hattongallery.org.uk/collections)
o How the artwork will be publicly accessed and be suitable for open-air conditions (e.g. will it be securely left in-situ overnight or demounted? NB. This can be further
developed in liaison with the architect after shortlisting. Hatton Gallery staff will be available to set up and pack down the work, and to invigilate during the day)
- A preliminary budget briefly outlining how you will use the production budget of £10,000
- Up to 5 low-resolution images of previous work
- An up-to-date artistic CV

Please send applications to hatton.offsite@twmuseums.org.uk before the application deadline of 5pm on Monday 2nd May 2016.

Shortlisting and selection process
Each expression of interest will be assessed by the selection panel to determine:
- How well the proposed approach meets the project aims and intended outcomes
- How innovative and exciting the proposal is
- Feasibility within timescale and budget
- The skills and experience of the artist

Following the expression of interests, a shortlist of artists will be invited to develop full proposals in liaison with Hatton curatorial staff and a consultant architect. Each artist will be given a fee of £800 to develop their proposals, which will be shown in an exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery opening in July 2016. Shortlisted artists will also receive up to £200 per site-visit for travel and accommodation expenses. During the exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery the public will be invited to vote on which proposal they prefer based on various criteria. The ultimate decision will be made by the selection panel, taking into account the public feedback, and the successful artist will be announced in August 2016.

Timescale
Application deadline: 5pm, Monday 2nd May 2016
Shortlist notified: May 2016
Exhibition of shortlisted proposals: Opening July 2016
Successful artist notified: August 2016
Project development/build/install: August – December 2016
Commission tours regional cultural venues: January – July 2017

Contact
If you have any questions about the application process please contact Madeleine Kennedy on hatton.offsite@twmuseums.org.uk