The campaign reflects the shared vision of Artichoke and the out-of-home advertising partners –taking art beyond gallery walls and onto the streets, making art truly accessible to the widest possible audience.
For Season 2, artists responded to the theme, The State We’re In, exploring topics around gender, disability, home, nationhood, environment, mental health, industrialisation, and social injustice. Season 2 of The Gallery asks if art can help decode what’s happening in our crisis-ridden 21st century. From 30 January to 26 February 2023, 11 powerful artworks will hit thousands of billboards and outdoor digital screens across the four nations of the UK, responding to the theme, ‘The State We’re In’.
They have been commissioned by The Gallery, and will be shown across the UK with support from the out-of-home advertising industry (including Clear Channel, JCDecaux, Mass Media, KBH Group, Redbus Media, 75media, Wildstone, Mall Media & More and Outsmart, the out-of-home trade association). Taking over thousands of advertising spaces across highstreets, bus stops, cinemas and billboards, the artworks will reach millions of Brits over the four-week run, thrusting the thought-provoking pieces into the heart of public conversations and debates.
Launched in 2022, The Gallery is the brainchild of leading UK arts producers Artichoke and public artist Martin Firrell. The Gallery is unlike any other cultural institution, aiming to challenge traditional models of viewing art and using the medium in different ways to access culture. In its second season, the new outdoor art project continues to make art truly accessible with this bold and unafraid programme that will interact with people’s everyday lives.
The 11 artworks that make up The State We’re In have been selected from a global public open call that received almost 1,300 entries, including four commissioned artworks.
Richard Woods addresses the idea of home and suggests a world turned upside down, while Bobby Baker’s piece takes the form of a revolutionary poster that celebrates the value of domestic labour and care. In quiet contrast, photographer Dola Posh explores her own experience of motherhood during lockdown, a blissful self-portrait brushing her daughter’s hair in a tender moment when the house is still.
Award-winning British artist Sarah Maple reflects on the UK’s cost-of-living crisis and the multiple contemporary meanings of cake with a pithy 21st century reinterpretation of Marie-Antoinette’s often misinterpreted phrase ‘Let them eat cake’.
Fine artist Natasha Klutch interrogates the notion of statehood in her oil painting of Britannia, the enduring symbol of dominance and glory, shown as a shadow of their former self.
Hugh Malyon’s work confronts the direct impact of ableism attitudes and the repetitive narratives surrounding disabled bodies, and the one-size fits all approach taken by society.
Exploring vulnerability on his own terms, the digitally-created work shows Hugh’s own body multiplied and crammed into a sardine can, both a symptom and cause of the state we’re in.
S. Mark Gubb’s luminous textual work comments on a capitalist-driven world that increasingly values profit and personal advancement above all else, and the division and catastrophe this can lead to.
In her collage of found images, US artist HEYDT, reveals the uncertainties of a world exploited beyond use, thanks to resource depletion, climate change and the spread of misinformation, while fellow US artist Allyson Packer considers our relationship with a world in crisis through a poignant photograph of a classic mid-Western landscape that suggests the only suitable response is to cry, eliciting a collective cathartic release.
Welsh community artists, Becca + Clare, in collaboration with a group of young people from The Trinity Centre Friday Arts Club, who have experienced or are experiencing the asylum system in Cardiff. The work presents a photographic piece that depicts a domestic scene constructed entirely out of cardboard, representing the fragility and transitional state of the migrant experience.
Finally, Glaswegian artist Trackie McLeod bridges the gap between fine art and design, poking fun at British nostalgia and using humour as social commentary in a textual piece that sums up the state of anxiety in which we currently live. Artichoke Development Director, Liz McCarthy said: “Our ten Out-of-Home partners have been brilliantly collaborative to work with and are as committed as Artichoke is to reaching large audiences with new and thought-provoking artworks that stimulate debate and ignite conversations. The cost-of-living crisis means visiting a paid arts exhibition or gallery may not be at the top of everyone's to-do list. The Gallery takes art to the people and we’re excited that millions of Brits will get to see these artworks on familiar sites like bus stops, billboards and digital screens across the UK. Thanks to our partners we were able to reach over 12 million people during Season 1 of The Gallery and are excited to see what Season 2 brings.”
Each biannual exhibition season is produced by Artichoke and sets out to nurture and develop artists at all levels, giving them a platform and guidance on producing art in the public realm. Season 2 sees the addition of a Learning and Participation programme which includes running workshops, alongside artists, in Wales and Northern Ireland for young people who will have the opportunity to learn about art in the public space and create their own piece of work in response to the theme, ‘The State We’re In’.
The public will have the opportunity to purchase their favourite artworks as prints with 60% of all profits going directly to the artists. The exhibition and artists will be further supported by a dedicated website and digital archive.