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Celebrity icons take centre stage at the Hatton


Newcastle University students have brought together defining celebrity images from across the ages for a new exhibition at the Hatton Gallery.

All the World’s a Stage, inspired by Shakespeare’s timeless phrase, reveals the parts celebrities – among them politicians, film stars, heroes and clowns - play in the media circus.??

Bringing together both historic and contemporary works that span several centuries, the exhibition will feature paintings, prints and sculptures handpicked from the vast stores of the Laing and Hatton galleries, as well as one new commission of Winston Churchill by emerging local artist Laura Hinshaw. ????

Some of the artworks have never been seen, providing a rare opportunity to encounter hidden treasures of the Tyne and Wear Museums and Archives collections in an interesting new light.

“There are images people are famous for that they construct themselves – such as Churchill’s V for Victory salute – but also ones that are imposed by the media which may portray them in a more invasive or less desirable light," says one of the curators, Briony Carlin, a student on the MA Art, Museum and Gallery Studies programme.

"For example, Marlene Dumas' portrait of Amy Winehouse reflects a vulnerability and sadness that often clouded the way she was shown in the media."

Among the famous global faces will be Richard Hamilton’s My Marilyn, a screen print of Marilyn Monroe created in the University’s textile department during the 1960s while he was a lecturer.

There will also be key local figures such as clown Billy Purvis, dubbed Newcastle’s ‘funniest man’ in the mid 19th century, as well as Richard Grainger and Earl Grey (pictured).

“We’re exploring the ways in which celebrity images have been projected, manipulated and distributed over time, and for what purpose,” adds Briony, who works part-time in the Laing Art Gallery and is about to take up a placement at the V&A Museum in London.  “The exhibition also looks at how the use of famous images has changed and the role the public play in creating and forgetting celebrities.

“We hope visitors will gain new perspectives on well-known faces and local characters from times gone by.”?

Running from 28 March until 17 May 2014, the exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of educational activities, workshops and talks for all ages. Coinciding with exhibitions of photographs of Marilyn Monroe and Edward Paolozzi’s pop art collage, All the World’s a Stage compliments and adds to discussions about the media and consumer culture in the Hatton Gallery this season. ??

Organised by students from the MA Art Museum and Gallery Studies programme at the International Centre for Culture and Heritage Studies (ICCHS), in collaboration with the Hatton Gallery, this exhibition is the result of an intensive three-month curatorial project for a group of international young professionals from all over the world.

published on: 19 March 2014