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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.

Discover 55 years of inspiring art by following our volunteer-curated festive countdown.

Starting 11 December, this Archive Advent has been researched and curated by a dedicated team of Modern Art Oxford volunteers. Acknowledging that the challenges of 2020 are with us all this festive season, the team researched the ways exhibitions and artists from our past can inspire hope and reflection for the times ahead. Each day, hear unique stories inspired by artists who have exhibited over past festive seasons at the gallery, from William Morris and Yoko Ono, to radical art projects of the 60’s.

Follow #ArchiveAdvent from 11 – 25 December on our Instagram and see the story unfold in the online gallery below.

Louise Bourgeois at Modern Art Oxford, 1995. Archive research by Modern Art Oxford volunteers


Archive Advent was created by: Laila Pipara, Alessandra Visintin, Faye Chartier, David Barron, Kitty Gurnos-Davies, Emily Whittingham, Jennifer Matthews, Niamh Bailey, Kelia Brooks, Andres Nava H, Mona Hui, Max Herbert, Dom Rowland, Kasia Ziniak and Martina Bani

After a year like no other, the Modern Art Oxford team wishes you a peaceful festive season   
   
Heartfelt thanks to all of our visitors, audiences, funders and collaborators for such incredible support and creativity this year.    
   
We hope you've enjoyed our volunteer-curated #ArchiveAdvent this month. With special thanks to Laila Pipara, Faye Chartier, David Barron, Kitty Gurnos-Davies, Emily Whittingham, Niamh Bailey, Kelia Brooks, Andrés Nava H., Mona Hui, Max Herbert, Dom Rowland, Kasia Ziniak and Martina Bani for putting it together.⠀   
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#ChristmasEve #MerryChristmas #Christmas2020 #ModernArtOxford #ThankYou #volunteers (Image: Kiki Smith, Fortune, 2014. Courtesy Timothy Taylor, London/New York and Magnolia Editions.)
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⭐️ #ArchiveAdvent Day 17  
by Max ⭐️⠀  
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"I could see this possibility of using the ideas of social change within art”⠀  
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Gustav Metzger’s exhibition, Retrospectives took place at Modern Art Oxford in 1998-99. Metzger’s own art work, photographs and documents from the past 40 years formed a response to what the 20th century has taught us.⠀  
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Metzger came to England from Germany to escape Nazi occupation in 1939. As a survivor of the Holocaust he had experience of displacement and destruction that has moulded his view on society and art. ⠀  
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Through his Auto-destructive art, the concept of self-destruction was built into the art itself to parallel a system heading for destruction. These paintings featured hydrochloric acid on canvas so the canvas was eaten away. The unique image shown is a liquid crystal environment illuminated by a colour projection, which in contrast he called Auto-creative art. ⠀  
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The whole exhibition invites us to look back at a time when similar government restrictions were set in place in order to keep society safe. Even though Metzgers’ world and today’s world are a time apart there is still that hope that we will see similar resolutions as nothing shall ever stay the same and can return to normal once again. We can reflect on these times of uncertainty during Christmas 2020.⠀  
  
Today's post was written by gallery volunteer and artist, Max T Herbert.⠀  
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#ModernArtOxford #ChristmasCountdown #archive #GustavMetzger #crystal #SociallyEngagedArt #resolutions
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⭐️ #ArchiveAdvent Day 15  
by @kremobilis ⭐️⠀  
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“It’s so much more interesting and life affirming to know people from very different backgrounds and cultures” - Penny Woolcock. ⠀  
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Fantastic Cities was the first major art exhibition for artist and director Penny Woolcock back in 2018/2019, where my son and I had the amazing opportunity to learn more about her. ⠀  
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In her short films, Penny was raising awareness about different experiences for people in the same environment - same streets, same cities but completely different lives. ⠀  

I've heard a lot of people say "Oh, Penny had no right to do that.” But she had a vision. She had something that she wanted to do and she wasn't going to stop until it was done. She helped to change a lot of people's lives. So I know from the experience that the art has a power to shape your character.  
  
It didn't strike me then but now going over Penny's exhibition and photos, I'm extremely glad that my then six year old could absorb this powerful message. It is everyone's responsibility to burn the bridges and our new generation is what we need to focus on. After such a crazy year, let's focus on ending it with extra love, care, understanding and patience towards each other. ⠀  
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This #ArchiveAdvent post was created by Modern Art Oxford volunteer and photographer Laila Pipara @kremobilis ⠀  
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#ModernArtOxford #ArchiveAdvent #advent #PennyWoolcock #FantasticCities #learneveryday #ChristmasCountdown #volunteering #archive #ArtistsOnInstagram
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⭐️ #ArchiveAdvent Day 14   
by @mothsailor ⭐️ 
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Kiki Smith’s exhibition at Modern Art Oxford, ‘I am a Wanderer’ ended in January 2020. Given the events that have transpired since then, and the restrictions that people all over the world have been forced to live under, the title of the show seems especially poignant. There have been precious few opportunities for wandering in the physical world for most of us this year. However, we have still been free to wander through our imaginations, and Smith’s work is very much of imaginary worlds, with imagery drawn from many cultures and historical epochs. ⠀  
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Among the most striking pieces in Smith’s show were the monumental tapestries, like the one shown here. These tapestries were created from her full-sized cartoons using a Jacquard loom, a machine that marries digital-age technology and traditional crafts in a way that seems particularly appropriate to Smith’s work. (Compare to another MAO exhibitor, Hannah Ryggen, who also uses tapestry as her medium but sticks to very traditional weaving methods.)   
  
One of the key themes explored in the exhibition was the interdependence of humans and the natural world. These interdependencies form a network, perhaps reflected in the interwoven strands of the tapestry as well as in the network of lines leading from the central figure of a woman to the representatives of the animal kingdom that surround her. One of those creatures is a bat. Smith can’t have known how significant the relationship between bat and human would come to be at the time she created this great work, but it is surely a timely reminder that our survival depends on us treating the natural world with the respect it deserves. (Congregation (2014). Cotton Jacquard tapestry, 295cm x 193cm).⠀  
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Today's post was written by Modern Art Oxford volunteer and sociologist David Barron.⠀  
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#KikiSmith #ModernArtOxford #Advent #ChristmasCountdown #tapestry #Christmas2020
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