By Steve Cooke
Brilliantly conceived, superbly curated and wonderfully exhibited A TALL ORDER – ROCHDALE ART GALLERY IN THE 1980s is a total triumph.
On entering you are immediately engrossed in an environment that feels like a top gallery anywhere in the world rather than a northern town local gallery.
The exhibition being called A Tall Order stems from a letter from Jill Morgan dated 16 March 1987, in which she says, “Our policy is to encourage new audiences for art, particularly women, black communities, young people, those with disabilities, and to encourage cultural activity for working class communities. Broadly, to change the domination of art by a white middle class male audience and producer. A tall order!”
I remember well In the 1980s, Rochdale Art Gallery, as Touchstones was then known, positioning itself on the national map with its daring and innovative approach to exhibition and education programming – offering the opportunity to those who were not being offered the opportunity in other high profile institutions to show their work.
A Tall Order! proves to be invigorating look at the artwork made and exhibited during the 1980s by a generation of artists, many of whom were women, young, working class and Black and I encourage everyone who can to spend at least a couple of hours taking it all in and feeling proud.
Featuring key works from the time and demonstrating how this period influenced many artists, the show includes loans from both public and private collections brought together from around the UK. Alongside selected works from Rochdale’s own collection, the exhibition also presents a series of three new and exciting commissions by contemporary artists, Lubna Chowdhary, Sarah Joy Ford and Jade Montserrat.
Led by Exhibition Officer, Jill Morgan, the focus on exhibiting artists engaged in critical and socio-political practice gave a platform to those who were not being offered the opportunity to show their work in other high profile institutions.
A Tall Order! is an invigorating look at the artwork made and exhibited in Rochdale Art Gallery during the 1980s by a generation of artists, many of whom were women, young, working class and Black.
The show is accompanied by a creative learning programme supporting local artists plus a wide range of free events, workshops, and self-guided activities.
Free - Gallery 1, 2, 3 & 4 - Opening times are: Monday: Closed, Tuesday: 10am – 5pm, Wednesday: 10am – 9pm, Thursday: 10am – 5pm, Friday: 10am – 5pm, Saturday: 10am – 5pm, Sunday: Closed
Phone Touchstones: 01706 924492