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Following the new guidance issued by the government, Modern Art Oxford will be closed from Wednesday 23 December, until further notice. We look forward to welcoming you back to the gallery as soon as we can.

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KALEIDOSCOPE: Views from the Past

Modern Art Oxford is celebrating 50 inspirational years of exhibiting contemporary visual art. Throughout 2016, as a complement to the exhibitions in the galleries, a section of compelling archival material is exhibited in the café. Drawing on new primary research, these displays reveal lesser-known aspects of the gallery’s past.

Exhibition posters, catalogues and invitations not only profoundly inflect a visitor’s experience, they also far outlive it, preserved by visitors as memorabilia and enriching distant libraries and bookshops for decades to come. The British graphic designer, photographer and collector David King (1943-2016) was responsible for some of the most arresting and iconic examples in Modern Art Oxford’s 50 year history.

Commissioned by former Director David Elliott, King created numerous vibrant designs between 1979 and 1985, including such landmarks as Alexander Rodchenko (1979), Vladimir Mayakovsky: Twenty Years of Work (1982), and Art Into Production: Soviet Textiles, Fashion and Ceramics 1917-1935 (1985). Elliott’s choice of designer for these Soviet art exhibitions reflected King’s own interests: by the 1970s, he was already amassing a world-class private collection of Soviet graphics, and his unique style – pulsing with reds and blacks and defined by audaciously patterned compositions – was informed by these revolutionary predecessors. Instantly recognisable, King’s posters and catalogues served to link Oxford’s chain of celebrated Soviet exhibitions while also cultivating connections with contemporary political activism.


Please note that this exhibition will be temporarily unavailable on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 July.