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What is in the University’s art collection?

The University's art collection is made up of hundreds of art objects. Watch Maddie Boden explore its diverse holdings.
The University art collection is made up of hundreds of art works which has grown since its inception. In this video, I’ll take you through some of the highlights of the collection. In doing so, we’ll learn more about the types of art in the collection and how they are tied to the university as an educational institution. An important part of the collection is commemorating the University’s history. This includes portraits of senior staff members such as Vice-Chancellor and Chancellor and paintings of important or new buildings on campus. Another way the collection can grow is through donations from former members of the university community.
In 2012, the outgoing Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian Cantor and his partner, Gill Partridge gave a number of paintings and posters from their private collection, on a long-term loan to the University. Some of these works are in the History of Art department, in a display curated by undergraduates to help develop their curatorial skills. The collection isn’t limited to just paintings and sculpture. It also includes prints, engravings, photographs, ceramics and textiles. These works are displayed across the campus, both in and outdoors, across different academic departments and in spaces where students live and socialise. Most collections, whether private, institutional or public specialise in just a few types of art.
This could be mean they collect the work of a single artist or artistic movement or build their collection around time period or place. An example of this is the Tate group of museums. Tate Britain displays historical British art from 1500, Tate Liverpool displays modern and contemporary British art and Tate Modern displays modern and contemporary art from all around the world. Many of the works in the York collection have subjects and themes closely related to the University or the surrounding area. Here, for example, is a series of paintings by a local artist, Richard Barnes. Barnes records the famous landmarks in York such as the Minster and Roman walls with vibrant colour, giving the historical urban landscape a modern energy.
Later in the course, we’ll look at some more examples that are tied to the University and the Yorkshire landscape.

The University holds a diverse art collection, made up of hundreds of artworks.

Sculpture is a significant part of this collection but it also includes paintings, drawings, ceramics and textiles. In this video, we’ll explore highlights from the collection and what motivates the University to acquire certain types of art.

If you’re interested in learning more about the art collection, you can search the full online catalogue. This catalogue was put together by a group of students from the Norman Rea Gallery (many of whom were also studying History of Art!)

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Modern Sculpture: An Introduction to Art History

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