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Artist Support Pledge gets real with exhibition at Hastings Contemporary

25 November 2021 – 17 April 2022

Artist Support Pledge (ASP) is moving from our screens and onto real life gallery walls from 25 November, when the first ever exhibition crowdsourced from Instagram opens at Hastings Contemporary.

More than 300 works, created by artists from around the world as well as from just around the corner, will be featured in A Generous Space. Paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, photography, basket-making, weaving and needlework have travelled to the UK from countries including America, Canada, India, Republic of Moldova, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, and the Republic of Ireland. There is also strong representation from local and regionally based artists.

There were more than 3600 submissions for A Generous Space, all made via Instagram using the #aspshows hashtag, with ASP founder artist Matthew Burrows MBE and eight other selectors choosing the works to be included in the exhibition. The selectors are acclaimed artist Lakwena; Kate Bryan, TV presenter and Head of Collections for Soho House; a-n’s Chief Executive Julie Lomax; Natalie Melton, Creative Director, Arts Council; Sally Shaw MBE, Director of the 2021 ‘Art Fund Museum of the Year’ gallery Firstsite; Jo Baring, Director of the Ingram Collection of Modern British & Contemporary Art: journalist and editor Javier Pes and Jes Fernie, an independent curator and writer working with galleries, architectural practices, and public realm organisations on public programmes, commissioning schemes, exhibitions and residency projects across the UK and abroad.

Lakwena says of the selection process: “After a long period of us all having been restricted to seeing a lot of art and people through screens, the works that interested me most were those that had some tactility to them, and/or gave some glimpse into the everyday lives of the artists who made them. What I like about these works is the space they open up for simple human connection.”

Artists whose work will be on display include Susan Absolon (recent winner of the British Contemporary Painters prize), critic/artist Matthew Collings, mosaic artist Emma Biggs, Anne Ryan (who has a new commission currently on display at Turner Contemporary as part of their 10th anniversary), wood and glass artist Jayne Armstrong, David Lock, Sarah Dwyer … and lots more incredibly talented artists.

All the works featured in A Generous Space – the design for which is inspired by an Instagram grid – will have an accompanying label that includes the Instagram details of the artist, so that anyone interested in buying the work can get directly in touch with the artist to do just that. The same egalitarian ethos as the online version of ASP. 

Hastings Contemporary trustee and artist Esther Fox says: “Hastings Contemporary is strongly committed to supporting artists and creating the conditions to nurture creativity. A Generous Space is the first public gallery exhibition of its kind as it totally changes the relationship between artists and those buying their art. This show helps and empowers artists, giving them a platform to sell their art and be patrons, buying each other’s work. And anyone can buy the art. Buyers are able to have direct relationships with artists. The show makes things really simple and easy for any people who might previously have been nervous or unsure about buying art.”

Matthew Burrows, artist and founder of ASP says: “The exhibition promises to be a blockbuster, covering two floors of this award-winning gallery – a real-world immersion into the community of Artist Support Pledge. ASP has shown us that with a generous spirit and an open eye we can make meaningful change for the welfare of artists and makers.”

The exhibited works will be profiled on Hastings Contemporary’s website.

Hastings Contemporary director Liz Gilmore says: “This is such as exciting and dynamic show for us, giving people the opportunity to support artists by buying their art at an affordable price in a sustainable way. Breaking down barriers and connecting the public directly with artists is a game changer for the art world. We pioneer approaches that open up access for new audiences to great art, such as our highly popular robot tours, so this exhibition very much aligns with our ethos.” 

In 2020, for his work creating Artist Support Pledge, Matthew Burrows was made an MBE in The Queen’s birthday honours list, received the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award, was named Apollo’s ‘Art Personality of the Year’, and was listed among the ArtReview Power 100www.matthewburrows.org / Instagram  @matthewburrowsstudio @artistsupportpledge

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