November 24, 2010 - Irish Museum of Modern Art - The Moderns: The Arts in Ireland from the 1900s to the 1970s
November 24, 2010

The Moderns: The Arts in Ireland from the 1900s to the 1970s

Barry Flanagan, Samuel Beckett, Mainie Jellet, Eileen Gray.

The Moderns: The Arts in Ireland from the 1900s to the 1970s
Until 13 February 2011

Irish Museum of Modern Art
Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Dublin 8

A major exhibition examining the development of modernity in 20th-century Ireland through the visual arts, film, literature, architecture, design and music is currently showing at the Irish Museum of Modern Art through February 2011. The Moderns: The Arts in Ireland from the 1900s to the 1970s is one of the most ambitious exhibitions ever undertaken by the Musuem, comprising some 400 works by more than 180 artists, writers, film-makers, architects, designers and composers. It presents the work of many of the 20th century’s leading creative minds and constitutes the most extensive showing to date from IMMA’s own Collection.

The Moderns focuses on the innovative and the experimental and employs a broad, interdisciplinary approach. It brings together exceptional examples of painting and sculpture, photography and film, architecture, literature, music and design of Irish significance from the 20th century. Among the many standout works in the exhibition are the furniture designs of Eileen Gray, the pioneering Cubist paintings of Mainie Jellet, Samuel Beckett’s Film and the early conceptual sculptures of Barry Flanagan. The exhibition, also, clearly positions photography as part of mainstream visual art, through photographs taken by J M Synge, George Bernard Shaw, Roger Casement, Fergus Bourke and many others.

Curated around the Museum’s Collection, and occupying almost all of IMMA’s main building, the exhibition includes many superb loans from public and private collections in Ireland and beyond. The Moderns focuses primarily on the arts in Ireland but also includes the work of some European artists, mainly French and British, who had special relevance to what was being done in Ireland.

Commenting on the Museum’s reason for staging the exhibition, Irish Museum of Modern Art Director Enrique Juncosa says: “A central aim of this project is to highlight the importance of the Collection to us at IMMA, and how this exhibition has to be more than the mere display of considered masterpieces as if they were trophies. It is important that the Collection [is] used as an educational tool and as a mechanism to encourage debate, historical analysis and scholarship. With The Moderns, we wish to present visual culture in relation to other art practices—none of them, after all, were developed in isolation—and to analyse contexts and aesthetic development and changes. It has very often been said that Modernism did not really happen in Ireland, but clearly a lot of the best art produced here demonstrates a knowledge of international ideas of the period, even if those were filtered or tinted with local myths, beliefs, traditions, history or politics.

The exhibition is jointly curated by Enrique Juncosa and Christina Kennedy, Head of Collections at IMMA.

An extensive, 400-plus-page catalogue will include all the works in the show as well as several exhibition installation shots. It will be available in late January 2011. Contributors will include Bruce Arnold, Theo Dorgan, Aidan Dunne, Luke Gibbons, Enrique Juncosa, Robert O’Byrne, Christina Kennedy, David Lloyd and Ellen Rowley.

The Moderns is sponsored by BNP Paribas and its media partners are The Irish Times, RTÉ and ebow.

The Moderns continues until 13 February 2011.

Admission is free.

Opening hours:
Tuesday – Saturday: 10.00am – 5.30pm
Except Wednesday: 10.30am – 5.30pm
Sundays and Bank Holidays: 12noon – 5.30pm
Mondays: Closed

*Images above:
Barry Flanagan, Pile 1, 1967 – 1968. Hessian. 28x48x45. Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art. © Estate of the artist, courtesy Waddington Galleries
Samuel Beckett, Film, 1965. Still image. © Barney Rossett, Courtesy Barney Rossett and the artist’s Estate.
Mainie Jellett, Madonna and Child, undated. Oil on canvas, 61 x 46 cm. Private Collection
Eileen Gray, Transat Chair, 1925 – 1930. Red leather upholstered chair, Leather, Wood, Chrome, 90 x 80 x 56 cm. Architectural Cabinet, c.1926. Cabinet with wood pivoting draws. Wood, 185 x 48 x 122 cm. Collection J and M Donnelly. Photography, Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. Images reproduced with the kind permission of the National Museum of Ireland.

Irish Museum of Modern Art
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