Towner Eastbourne has been collecting and exhibiting contemporary art for almost 100 years and has announced a bumper programme celebrating its centenary year; TOWNER 100. A series of major exhibitions will take audiences on a journey through the Towner Collection past and present, as well as offer the chance to witness the Turner Prize, in Sussex for the first time, and to experience a large-scale presentation of Barbara Hepworth, one of the UK’s best loved sculptors.
The exhibition programme will be extending out from the galleries and into events, engagement projects across the town, and a range of screenings, installations, public commissions, and talks. Towners aim to enable accessible culture for all ages to enjoy and take part in. Towner’s Collection will also launch online in 2023, the first works to be showcased will be a series of new acquisitions, including a focus on works by female artists in the Collection.
TOWNER 100: The Living Collection
Until 28 August 2023
Towner’s Collection comprises over 5000 artworks. Towner’s Collection features many landscapes and seascapes that draw inspiration from its Sussex location. The Living Collection offers a selection of paintings, prints and artifacts, from artists such as Eric Ravilious, Edward Wadsworth, Vanessa Bell, Gertrude Hermes, William Gear and Greta Dellean.
TOWNER 100: Unseen
Until 14 May 2023
Taking inspiration from Towner’s unique coastal location where the channel meets the South Downs, the exhibition include painting, moving images, prints, illustration, sculpture, installation and photography. It will bring together key works from the collection, many of which are previously unseen. Artists featured include Elizabeth Price, Helen Cammock, Dineo Seshee Bopape, Tom Hammick, Michael Rakowitz, Roland Jarvis, Rachel Jones, David Nash and Clare Woods. TOWNER 100: Unseen, will be of particular interest to all of us who enjoy contemporary photography and lens-based media, and we hope to bring you a focused and full review on the exhibition for our next issue.
Barbara Hepworth, Art and Life (ticketed)
27 May to 3 September 2023
The exhibition, which has garnered rave reviews across the country after visits to Wakefield, Edinburgh and St Ives, will display some of Hepworth’s most celebrated sculptures including the modern abstract carving that launched her career in the 1920s and 1930s, her iconic strung sculptures of the 1940s and 1950s, and large-scale bronze and carved sculptures from later in her career. Key loans from national public collections will be shown alongside works from private collections that have not been on public display since the 1970s, and rarely seen drawings, paintings and fabric designs. The exhibition will be themed around Hepworth’s broader cultural interests in music, dance, theatre, politics and literature, exploring these and encouraging new interpretations and presentations of her work.
Turner Prize 2023 – Free admission
28 September 2023 to 14 January 2024
Towner Eastbourne will host the Turner Prize, the world’s leading prize for contemporary art, as the centrepiece of the centenary celebrations. One of the best-known prizes for the visual arts in the world, the Turner Prize promotes public debate around new developments in contemporary British art. Established in 1984, the Prize is awarded to a British artist for an outstanding exhibition or other presentation of their work in the previous twelve months. The short listed artists will be announced soon, with the announcement of the winner of the Turner Prize taking place on 5 December 2023.
I’m particularly excited by the prospect of The Turner Prize arriving on our doorstep and hope it will bring with it a surge of interest and energy to lift the creative arts programming for the broader area. The larger galleries will I’m sure program some great art shows and events to co-inside with the prize, but I also hope that our community events, the smaller galleries, our open studios and festivals will also benefit from the increased awareness and cultural tourism which we hope the prize will generate. We have some exciting plans for our own PhotoHastings festival from October and all in all there is a great deal to look forward to locally as 2023 develops.