Shifting Ground at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
A major exhibition examining aspects of Irish art of the last 50 years through the eyes of five noted critics and commentators opens to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art on Friday 10 November. Shifting Ground: Selected Works of Irish Art 1950-2000 has been selected by Bruce Arnold, Dorothy Walker, Oliver Dowling, Medb Ruane and Caoimhín MacGiolla Léith, each of whom were invited to apply their own criteria to identifying key works in each of the five decades. The exhibition comprises over 60 paintings, sculptures, photographs, drawings, multi-media and installation works by some of Ireland’s best-known artists including Jack B Yeats, Patrick Hennessy, William Scott, Barrie Cooke, Robert Ballagh, Felim Egan, Brian Maguire, Dorothy Cross, James Coleman, Willie Doherty, Siobhán Hapaska and many others. Shifting Ground is presented in association with The Irish Times.
The overall intention of Shifting Ground is to present, in the millennium year, a speculative rather than a definitive survey of Irish art, and to articulate the shifting ground of the Irish context within which art was made and seen during the second half of the 20th century. It is hoped that the exhibition will also create a debate about the artists and works selected and serve to place today’s confident Irish art practice in the context of art activity in the post-war period.
The question of identity has been an important consideration in the choice of artists. The exhibition includes works by artists such as Sean Scully and Michael Craig Martin who, although born in Ireland, lived and worked mainly or entirely abroad and by artists like Stephen McKenna who, while born outside Ireland, developed aspects of their practice within and made a significant contribution to Irish art of the period.
Commenting on the exhibition IMMA’s Director, Declan McGonagle, said:
“Shifting Ground presents an opportunity for people to see how recent contemporary Irish art, which is gaining increasing international attention, relates to Irish art of the second half of the 20th century. The exhibition brings together key works of this period and presents various readings of Irish art in order to generate debate and discussion, challenging the idea of a single authoritative viewpoint.”
The selectors are all respected commentators who have had a varied involvement in the Irish art context over the past 50 years – Bruce Arnold and Dorothy Walker as art critics and writers, Oliver Dowling, formerly as a gallery owner and currently as Visual Arts Officer of the Art Council, Medb Ruane as critic and Caoimhín MacGiolla Léith as a writer and critic.
On Friday 24 November at 12noon Declan McGonagle, Director, IMMA, chairs a discussion with the selectors in the Lecture Room, National Museum of Ireland – Collins Barracks. Admission is free, booking essential.
The exhibition is accompanied by an illustrated publication, with essays by the selectors, looking at Irish art in the period 1950 to 2000. Price £9.95.
Shifting Ground continues until 18 February 2000.
Admission is free.
Opening hours: Tue – Sat 10.00am – 5.30pm
Sun, Bank Holidays 12 noon – 5.30pm
and 27-30 December
23 – 26 December
For further information and colour and black and white images please contact Philomena Byrne or Monica Cullinane at Tel : +353 1 612 9900,
Fax : +353 1 612 9999
26 October 2000
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