Following the latest Government guidance, Kettle’s Yard House and Gallery is temporarily closed to help protect visitors, staff and the wider community. If you have booked a ticket for a future date we will be in touch as soon as the situation is clear.
House, galleries, café and shop:
+44 (0)1223 748 100
by Andrew Nairne OBE, Director of Kettle’s Yard
For me art is not a static thing which you briefly behold and enjoy, it is a dynamic force which can do many things. When we reopened last year we asked ‘What Can Art Do?’ on the cover of our new What’s On calendar. It is an open question which aims to suggest the importance of the role art and artists can play in society. It is also, in a sense, our shared research question as part of the University of Cambridge. Anyone can engage in considering the many possible answers, throwing light on the enduring value of art to individuals of all ages and backgrounds, and within communities. I think of Caroline Walker’s sympathetic portraits of the often forgotten refugees who live among us, which we exhibited in April and May. Or the new mural we commissioned by street artist eL Seed, painted high up on an empty wall in Arbury, a community and housing estate close to Kettle’s Yard, which will be there until May 2020.
This idea of art as active and living was something Jim Ede, the creator of Kettle’s Yard, was passionate about. He wanted everyone to be able to experience art as what he called ‘a way of life’. Something as fundamental as breathing. Inspired by Ede’s vision, we want Kettle’s Yard to be alive with art and people: a communal place where you can experience the breadth and diversity of outstanding art at first hand and discuss the issues of our time through the multiple lenses of what artists create and do. While, extending beyond our walls, we seek to be a catalyst and exemplar for positive change in our local community and nationally through action, advocacy and leadership.
Looking back at 2018, I am thrilled by the enthusiastic response to all we did, from old and new visitors alike. Antony Gormley‘s mesmerising installation last summer will be long remembered; a physically charged interaction between five sculptures, our new spaces so superbly designed by Jamie Fobert Architects, and the many visitors to the exhibition. We loved the way visitors inventively photographed themselves posing next to the sculptures.
Since reopening in February 2018 we have welcomed over 244,000 visitors, three times the number who came each year before we began the building project. If you are one of those visitors, I want to encourage you to visit Kettle’s Yard throughout 2019. And bring a friend who has never experienced Kettle’s Yard with you! We plan to offer you exhibitions, projects and events as surprising, stimulating and ambitious as those last year.
Opening on 22nd January is a unique juxtaposition of two exhibitions: works by one of the most extraordinary artists of the last century Louise Bourgeois, alongside new drawings and monotypes by Julie Mehretu, widely regarded as amongst the best artists working today. In the spring, Oscar Murillo will take over Kettle’s Yard with new paintings, installations and live events. Murillo was born in Colombia and moved to London with his family when he was ten years old. In the summer you can experience award winning Jennifer Lee’s stunning, handmade pots created over the past forty years. At the same time, we will be displaying remarkable art and artefacts from the University of Cambridge Museums and collections. In each instance we don’t know who the artist or maker is. ‘Artist Unknown’ brings together an array of art and objects from a painted fragment of an ancient Egyptian coffin to Inuit sculptures, to vivid botanical wall charts. During September, ‘The Cambridge Show’ will fill the galleries, a selected open exhibition by artists living in or near Cambridge. Finally, in the autumn and into 2020, ‘Homelands’ will include new and recent work by artists from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. Throughout the year, look out for Projects with artists. We are excited to be working with Rose Garrard, Ian Giles, Anthea Hamilton, Ann-Marie James, Hannah Kemp-Welch, and Taylor Le Melle & Zadie Xa – in the House, in our Research Space, within communities, or working with young people. Art in action.
As always, my huge thanks to the many individuals and organisations who backed our vision of a new Kettle’s Yard, and so generously gave their support. You made it possible. To make our future programme happen and to conserve the Kettle’s Yard House and collection, we need to raise considerable funds each year. Every donation, grant and legacy makes a real difference to what we can do, not only in the galleries but through our extensive work with schools, communities and young people. Do consider becoming a patron or friend or making a donation. Thank you.
Come and visit us soon. And see what art can do.
Kettle’s Yard, 2018. Photo: Hufton + Crow, Jamie Fobert Architects
Opening of the new Kettle’s Yard, 2018. Photo: Kettle’s Yard
Melanie Manchot with ‘The Ladies’, Kettle’s Yard, 2018
Andrew Nairne, John Akomfrah and Caroline Walker, 2018. Photo: Josh Murfitt
eL Seed, 2018. Photo: Paul Allitt
North Cambridge Academy Arts Ambassadors visiting Antony Gormley SUBJECT, 2018. Photo: North Cambridge Academy
Bewick Bridge School, Great Art Quest, 2018. Photo: Josh Murfitt
Louise Bourgeois, Cell XIV (portrait), 2000. Collection ARTIST ROOMS: National Galleries of Scotland and Tate
Oscar Murillo, violent amnesia, 2014-2018. Graphite, oil, oil stick, grommets and stainless steel on canvas and linen. 300 x 164 x 15 cm. Photo credit: Matthew Hollow
Jennifer Lee, Shigaraki Red, fractionated red, dark base, tilted, 2014. Photo: Jon Stokes