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Masterpieces in Miniature: The 2021 Model Art Gallery

[ Exhibition )

A large dollhouse sized art gallery, designed to imitate the exterior of an 18th century townhouse. The left hand side is painted with a brightly coloured geometric mural. The right side shows a cross section of four rooms (one in the attic, two on the first floor, and one on the ground floor), each filled with works of modern art.

More than 80 original – but miniature – works of art in three model art galleries.

With work by artists from Augustus John, Vanessa Bell, Paul Nash, Sir Peter Blake and Richard Hamilton to new pieces by Rachel Whiteread, Damien Hirst, John Akomfrah, Tacita Dean and Lubaina Himid, the galleries are a time capsule of 80 years of British art.

In 2020, we asked Wright & Wright architects to design a model art gallery to house original miniature artworks from over 30 of the most exciting contemporary British artists, including John Akomfrah, Tacita Dean, Lubaina Himid, Damien Hirst, Magdalene Odundo, and Gillian Wearing. These works were created during the 2020 coronavirus lockdown – a time when artists could not get to their studios, exhibitions were cancelled, and many people spoke of being creatively blocked.

Make your way around the building and discover these three miniature galleries. The 2021 Model Art Gallery is currently on display in Room 9, the Thirty Four Gallery can be found in Room 5 and the Model Gallery 2000 is in Room 11. Together, the galleries tell the story of Modern British art from the 1930s until today.

These models provided a fascinating insight into the evolution of styles and influences across the decades and show how different generations of artists approached the unique challenges of working in miniature.

The 2021 Model Art Gallery

A microcosm of British art today featuring new works created in 2020 by 34 contemporary artists.

The 2021 gallery featured sculpture by Julian Opie, ceramics by Grayson Perry and Edmund de Waal, photographs by Gillian Wearing, paintings by Damien Hirst, Maggi Hambling and Tacita Dean and an installation by John Akomfrah – all ranging from the size of a pound coin to no larger than 20cm. The Gallery also featured a miniature print from Khadija Saye’s ‘Crowned’ series, the only work from the series not destroyed in the Grenfell Tower fire which took her life.

The 2021 Model Art Gallery was designed by Wright & Wright architects who are working with Pallant House Gallery on proposals for a new Collections Centre, and recently redesigned the new Museum of the Home in Hackney.

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Watch the film “The Making of the 2021 Model Art Gallery”


I Was Small – Adventures in a Model Gallery

The 2021 Model Art Gallery was a space that invited careful looking as well as imaginative leaps into impossible worlds.

Artist Dan Scott wanted to create a listening experience that played with these shifts in scale and modes of engaging. This sound piece allows listeners to enter the Model Art Gallery and to experience the artworks as landscapes or dream-spaces from the perspective of the apparently giant viewer, and as also from the miniature gallery visitor.

You can listen to the experience via our digital guide to the Gallery on Bloomberg Connects or you can find it on our youtube channel.

The Thirty Four Gallery

The original model art gallery.

The earliest model gallery in Pallant House Gallery’s collection, The Thirty Four Gallery, was inspired by the 1924 Queen Mary’s Doll’s House at Windsor Castle. It was created in 1934, when art dealer Sydney Burney asked some of his most notable contemporaries, including Henry Moore, Ivon Hitchens and Vanessa Bell to create miniature artworks to fill a dolls house in support of charity.

Lost for decades, some of the works were rediscovered in a suitcase by Burney’s grandson. The model was recreated by Pallant House Gallery in 1997 based on photographs of the original designed by the architect Marshall Sissons.

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The Model Gallery 2000

A new model for a new millenium.

Taking inspiration from The Thirty Four Gallery, to mark the millennium Pallant House Gallery commissioned a new Model Gallery.

The 2000 Model Art Gallery works are housed in a replica of the Gallery’s contemporary wing, designed by Long & Kentish in association with Colin St John Wilson. It showcases the work of 18 celebrated artists of the late 20th century who are all represented in the collection of British Pop and figurative art that Wilson donated to Pallant House Gallery, including Frank Auerbach, Peter Blake, Anthony Caro, Prunella Clough, Antony Gormley, Richard Hamilton, Howard Hodgkin, R.B. Kitaj, Dhruva Mistry, and Eduardo Paolozzi.

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