Wolverhampton has been selected as the opening city for next year’s British Art Show 9.

Hayward Gallery Touring today (Monday) announced a revised programming schedule.

It means the biggest touring exhibition of contemporary art in the UK will be first seen at venues in Wolverhampton from 6 March to 30 May before it heads to Aberdeen, Plymouth and Manchester.

The exhibition is renowned for its high volume of visitors to its touring cities and is widely recognised as a significant marker of recent developments in contemporary art, unrivalled in its scope and national reach.

British Art Show 8 attracted over 300,000 visitors in its tour to four cities from October 2015 to January 2017.

British Art Show 9 curators Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar were selected by a panel of curators from the Hayward Gallery and the participating cities. They bring international experience to the role and have both worked on major exhibitions in the UK, Europe, America and Asia.

The exhibition introduces visitors to over 40 artists practising in Britain over the past five years, providing an insight into contemporary life at an extraordinary period in our history.  

Artists include: Hurvin Anderson, Michael Armitage, Simeon Barclay, 
Oliver Beer, Zach Blas, Kathrin Böhm, Maeve Brennan, James Bridle, 
Helen Cammock, Than Hussein Clark, Cooking Sections (Alon Schwabe & Daniel Fernández Pascual), Jamie Crewe, Oona Doherty, Sean Edwards, 
Mandy El-Sayegh, Mark Essen, Gaika, Beatrice Gibson, Patrick Goddard, 
Anne Hardy, Celia Hempton, Andy Holden, Joey Holder, Marguerite Humeau, 
Lawrence Lek, Ghislaine Leung, Paul Maheke, Elaine Mitchener, Oscar Murillo, Grace Ndiritu, Uriel Orlow, Hardeep Pandhal, Hetain Patel, Florence Peake, Heather Phillipson, Joanna Piotrowska, Abigail Reynolds, Margaret Salmon, Hrair Sarkissian, Katie Schwab, Tai Shani, Marianna Simnett, Victoria Sin, Hanna Tuulikki, Caroline Walker, Alberta Whittle, Rehana Zaman.

British Art Show 9 will take place at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and The University of Wolverhampton School of Art.   

City of Wolverhampton Council Leader, Councillor Ian Brookfield, said: "To be the first city to host the British Art Show 9 is a huge honour. 

"We had the news back in 2017 that we had been chosen as one of just 4 cities to host this prestigious exhibition and it demonstrates how highly regarded Wolverhampton Art Gallery and University of Wolverhampton School of Art are.

"It is an excellent opportunity for City of Wolverhampton residents and visitors to see world class contemporary art and it will attract thousands of visitors, create jobs, learning experiences, volunteering opportunities and inspire creativity.

"The West Midlands is becoming a cultural hub and Wolverhampton is proud to be at the heart of it. The British Art Show will kick off a host of exciting events in the region alongside the Coventry City of Culture 2021 and Birmingham's Commonwealth Games 2022.”

Maggie Ayliffe, Head of Wolverhampton School of Art, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting the first leg of British Art Show 9 in Wolverhampton. 

“We are looking forward to welcoming many visitors to the iconic Wolverhampton School of Art. There will be a wealth of opportunities for new audiences, students, school children and the artist community to come and engage with some of the most exciting contemporary art being produced in the UK today.

“It will also be an opportunity to talk to the artists who are creating visuals and giving voice to some of the most pressing concerns of our times. We can’t wait for the conversation to begin in Wolverhampton.”

Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar said: "In framing the exhibition, we have grouped practices into three expansive categories: healing, care and reparative history; tactics for togetherness; and imagining new futures. While these themes were shaped at the end of 2019, the unfolding impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the protests against racial injustice, make them even more urgent. We want the exhibition to present a multitude of voices and viewpoints in a set of presentations that accumulate and evolve from city to city; British Art Show 9 will be responsive to each city’s local collections, communities, urgencies and histories, enabling meaningful engagement for its local audiences.”

Brian Cass, Senior Curator, Hayward Gallery Touring, said: “We are delighted to announce the new exhibition dates and the outstanding group of artists that Irene and Hammad have selected for this edition of British Art Show. Presenting an exhibition with many new commissions and a wide programme of public engagement across multiple museums and galleries will give audiences across the UK an unparalleled opportunity to see how art can inspire, empower and offer new ways of being in the world. We very much look forward to seeing how British Art Show 9 continues to develop and renew in each city. We are also excited by its potential to encourage new ways of working and build collaborative relationships between artists, our partner institutions and communities across the 4 cities.”

The ninth edition of the British Art Show was originally planned to open in Manchester in September 2020. In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, and in dialogue with the partner institutions in each city and the artists in the exhibition, the dates and the order of the exhibition tour have been changed.

New Tour details:

  • 6 March to 30 May 2021- Wolverhampton: Wolverhampton Art Gallery and University of Wolverhampton School of Art
  • 3 July to 3 October 2021 - Aberdeen: Aberdeen Art Gallery
  • 6 November 2021 to 13 March 2022 - Plymouth: The Box, Plymouth; KARST; The Arts Institute’s Levinsky Gallery and The Gallery at Plymouth College of Art
  • 6 May to  4 September 2022 -  Manchester: HOME; Manchester Art Gallery; Castlefield Gallery; The Whitworth and the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art (CFCCA)