Major new £1m art collection coming to Birmingham

A nationally-significant new collection of international contemporary art will open to the public this March at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery.

Metropolis: Reflections on the modern city contains over 60 works by some of the world’s most exciting artists, each offering views of the modern global city. It has been funded with over £1million from national fundraising charity the Art Fund.

Opening at a time of budget cut-backs in the arts, the collection is a significant boost to the West Midlands region’s cultural life. Metropolis: Reflections on the modern city has been collected by BMAG and the New Art Gallery, Walsall thanks to Art Fund International, a major scheme set up by the Art Fund which has supported the development of outstanding contemporary art in five museum partnerships around the UK. Entrance to the exhibition is free.

Metropolis: Reflections on the modern city presents visions of urban life from around the world, using photography, painting, video and sculpture. The artwork, all dating from the past decade by 25 artists of international standing, includes images of the frantic Beijing rush-hour, mysterious and atmospheric views of modern India and the marginalised urban environments of Russia and Paris.

Several works in the collection are a response to different areas of Birmingham.

German artist Christiane Baumgartner has used video and woodcut to create Ladywood, inspired by reflections of a railway bridge onto the canal. Beat Streuli’s video Pallasades follows the crowds walking up and down the ramp to the shopping centre on one day in 2001, showing both the universality and diversity of the human experience. Ola Kolehmainen’s Shadow of Church takes the iconic Selfridges building as its subject, showing the fusion of traditional and modern buildings in Birmingham city centre.

Simon Cane, Interim Director, Birmingham Museums Trust said: “Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is proving itself as a leading player in contemporary art in the UK. Metropolis isa great boost to the region’s art scene, bringing some of the best international art to our doorsteps. We have been collecting these works for the past five years and it is fantastic to finally see the finished collection open to the public.”

The works exhibited in Metropolis: Reflections on the modern city have been collected as part of the Art Fund International initiative. One of the most important and ambitious schemes ever launched by the Art Fund, £1 million has been allocated each to five successful partnerships between UK museums and contemporary art organisations. This funding has allowed the creation of collections of international contemporary art over a period of five years, encouraging a radical change in the scale and ambition of contemporary art collecting in the UK.

Stephen Deuchar, Art Fund Director said: “Art Fund International has provided several UK galleries with a rare opportunity to transform and dramatically expand their collections of international contemporary art. Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has made the most of this funding and Metropolis, a global take on modern urban life, is one exciting outcome.”

Metropolis: Reflections on the modern city

Dates: 23 March – 23 June 2013

Opening Hours:

Monday – Thursday 10.00am – 5.00pm

Friday 10.30am – 5.00pm

Sat 10.00am – 5.00pm

Sunday 12.30pm – 5.00pm

Location: Gas Hall, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3DH


Tickets: Free admission

Metropolis: Reflections on the modern city includes:

Christiane Baumgartner, Asphalt I & II (diptych) (2006)

Christiane Baumgartner, Ladywood (2010)

Zhang Enli, Apartment 3 (2008)

Aleksandra Mir, World Map of Social Network (2009)

Jitish Kallat, Sweatopia (The Cry of the Gland II) (2010)

Miao Xiaochun, Orbit (2005)

Grazia Toderi, Orbite Rosse (2009)

Mohammed Bourouissa, Photographic works from the series Périphérique  (Peripheral) (2005-8)

Jochem Hendricks, Front Windows (2009)

Semyon Faibisovich, Take the Weight off Your Feet (2008)

Semyon Faibisovich, Reposal (2008)

Semyon Faibisovich, Sick on the Way? (2008)

Ola Kolehmainen, Shadow of Church (2006)

Dayanita Singh, works from the Dream Villa Series (2008)

Nicolas Provost, Storyteller (2010)

Matias Faldbakken, Untitled (Jerry Can Rod) (2011)

Barry McGee, Untitled (2011)

Yang Zhenzhong, Let’s Puff (2002)

Beat Streuli, Pallasades (2001)

Cao Fei, Live in RMB City (2009)

Romuald Hazoumè, ARTicle 14 (2005)

Josef Robakowski, View from my window (1978 – 1999)

Rashid Rana, Language Series 3 (2010-11)

Naiza Khan, Membrane (2010), This City Soaks Up Like a Sponge (2011), The Structures Do Not Hold (2011)

Hanni Bjartalid, Untitled (2012)

Klara Liden, Self Portrait with Keys to the City (2005), Monkey (2010), Down (2011), Lampost (2012)

Huang Xu, Fragment No.8 (2007)

Gardar Eide Einarsson, Untitled Landscape (Tear Gas Canisters) (2012)

Andreas Gefeller, SV 01-8 (2012), CS 02 (2010), CS 13 (2011), IP 12 (2012)