The British Art Show 8


If you haven’t already visited the British Art Show 8 (BAS8)bas8untitled then now is the perfect time to escape the sales and explore the best of British contemporary art.

The British Art Show was launched in 1979/80 and has happened every five years since, each time touring to four cities in the UK. In the early years it followed a survey style but for British Art show 7 in 2010/11 the curators took a more themed approach. This has continued this year. Anna Colin and Lydia Yee outline in their curatorial statement that this year’s theme concerns ‘artists’ engagement with the material world at a time of increasing convergence between the real and virtual spheres’.

For every British Art Show a fully illustrated catalogue is produced. bas8_cover_0These are interesting both in terms of their design and production as well as for the detailed information and essays they contain on all of the artists who took part in the shows. They are a really valuable resource, and Winchester School of Art Library holds a collection of all these catalogues. One of the most ground-breaking was British Art Show 4 which showcased the work of artists such as Tacita Dean, Damien Hirst and Gillian Wearing, who came to be known collectively as the YBA (Young British Artists). Many of the artists included in these catalogues have gone on to pursue successful careers in art and they are well represented in the Library’s collections.

If your interest extends beyond the British Art Show, then the Library also holds substantial collections of other art show catalogues and biennales, including the Liverpool Biennial, Manifesta, New Contemporaries, the Venice Biennale, and the Whitney Biennial. In addition, there are a number of critical works on the worldwide phenomena of the biennial such as The Biennial Reader and our most recent addition in this area, an edited collection by Robert E. d’Souza, Head of Winchester School of Art, and Sunil Manghani, Director of Doctoral Research at  Winchester School of Art, entitled India’s Biennale effect: the politics of contemporary art .

BAS8 is on until 15 January 2017 at a number of locations across Southampton, including the City Art Gallery, the John Hansard Gallery at the University of Southampton and the Bargate. There are also activities and talks happening, details of which can be found here.

A selection of British Art Show catalogues are currently on display in Winchester School of Art Library. Further details of any of the catalogues, books and artists mentioned can be found on the Library’s catalogue, WebCat.