A record year

ART IN HULL: Work by Ron Mueck. Picture: Simon Hulme.
ART IN HULL: Work by Ron Mueck. Picture: Simon Hulme.
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Following its reopening last year, Hull’s Ferens Art Gallery had an exciting 2017, which included hosting the Turner Prize, and now looks forward to 2018.

It was a good year for the Ferens Art Gallery in Hull last year. It received more than 519,000 visitors in 2017 – an increase of 309 per cent compared to 2014 – as Hull celebrated being UK City of Culture, and it has been hailed the most successful year of the gallery’s 90 year history.

Since reopening last January after a £5.2m major refurbishment, the gallery, operated by Hull Culture and Leisure, has hosted an array of critically acclaimed exhibitions including the world’s most prestigious contemporary art awards the Turner Prize.

It is the second most visited Turner Prize exhibition outside of London with over 116,0000 visits since opening last September 2017. This year’s winner, Lubaina Himid, was announced at a glittering awards ceremony in Hull on December 5.

Other exhibitions included Skin – developed and curated by the gallery team – on display between April and August, featuring works by world renowned artists Spencer Tunick, Ron Mueck and Lucian Freud, attracting 176,443 visitors and the 50th Open Exhibition, Francis Bacon and 
the Rembrandt masterpiece on loan from The Royal Collection Trust.

Councillor Terry Geraghty, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Tourism and Chair of Hull Culture & Leisure Limited, said: “We hope this special year has raised the profile of the gallery locally, regionally and nationally and we look forward to an exciting 2018, with more high profile exhibitions and installations taking place and a strong learning programme for Hull’s young people.”

Katy Fuller, who was Executive Producer for the Turner Prize coming to Hull and is now Creative Director of Culture Company, which delivered the Hull 2017 programme and is continuing as a national arts organisation, said: “We are delighted by the success of the Turner Prize coming to Hull as part of its City of Culture year, in particular the response and debate it generated amongst visitors of all ages. Having one of the world’s most high profile art competitions here has been a highlight of the Hull 2017 visual arts programme. It’s also been a fantastic opportunity for the Ferens to build on its strong reputation as one of the UK’s finest regional galleries and we look forward to what’s in store for it in 2018 and beyond.”

The gallery will kick-off 2018 with the annual Open Exhibition on display from February 17 until April 22. Other exhibitions will include Masterpieces in Focus from the Royal Collection Trust as part of a five-year partnership.

The second of five exceptional loans brings an important painting by Sir Anthony van Dyck to the gallery from April 28-July 29. Charles I in Three Positions, 1635-1636 shows the king from three viewpoints each with different patterned lace collars and coloured clothing.

In a major exhibition organised by the V&A Museum of Childhood, from May 12 visitors will be able to come into the world of Smallfilms to discover original puppets and meet Bagpuss, the Soup Dragon and Noggin the Nog. As well as telling the story of Bagpuss and The Clangers, the exhibition will go behind the scenes of some of their other creations; Pogles Wood, Noggin the Nog and Ivor the Engine.

With free admission, the Ferens Art Gallery is open Monday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 11am-4.30pm.