Newcastle is more than just a party city – it has a thriving arts and culture scene that you’d be sorry to miss during freshers’ week. Between club nights and booze, why not take a gander through the city and get to know some of its many galleries?
King’s Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QB
If you’re feeling a bit fragile this freshers’ then don’t worry - you won’t have to travel far for the Hatton Gallery as it’s situated right on campus. University-owned and open to the public, this relaxed and airy exhibition space boasts a diverse collection of over 3500 works, including pieces from Richard Hamilton and Francis Bacon. Be sure not to miss the internationally renowned ‘Merz Barn’ by Kurt Schwitters, as the avant-garde piece - that once featured in the Nazi ‘Degenerative Art’ exhibition - has been made into a permanent feature of the building.
Hatton is dropping some serious names this term, with the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition running from 28 Sept – 4 Jan. The newly commissioned mural ‘Fairground Attraction’ by Lothar Gotz will also be viewable 5 Oct – 4 Jan, so keep your eyes peeled.
S Shore Rd, Gateshead NE8 3BA
The Baltic is as much an iconic Geordie landmark as the Tyne Bridge and the Sage. But this beautiful ex-flour mill is more than a great picture opportunity – the gallery has a fierce mission statement regarding the role of contemporary art in society. Through their exhibitions they aim to “create greater understanding of the world through outstanding, experimental and inspiring contemporary art which has power, relevance and meaning for individuals and communities”. Oh, and their gift shop is really cool, too.
Catch John Akomfrah’s ‘Ballasts of Memory’ (6 Jul – 27 Oct), a series of powerful moving image installations reflecting on black diaspora, and the culture that’s emerged from it in the UK and beyond. ‘Survey’ (6 Jul – 29 Sep) will feature artworks from 15 early-career artists, ranging across many themes and disciplines, as an exploration of emerging UK talent.
39 Pilgrim St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6QE
Since its founding in 1997, Vane has had its finger on the pulse of Newcastle’s contemporary artist community. Today the gallery – which is both an open gallery and flexible workspace – represents artists from the North East and beyond, acting as a platform for both new and established artists to showcase their work. Situated in the heart of the city centre, the gallery is only a stone’s throw away from the campus (and some great bars too, for the all-important post-gallery pint).
Vane is hosting ‘A Foul and Awesome Display’ by Kirsty Harris (31 Aug – 28 Sep), a multimedia exhibition exploring nuclear bomb tests and the relationship between manufactured violence and human nature. Don’t miss her ‘Artist Talk’ on Sep 28 from 3pm.
Laing Art Gallery
New Bridge St W, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8AG
Art history geeks will have a blast wandering around the Laing, acosy, more traditional gallery just off Northumberland Street. Established in 1901, it houses an impressive collection, including big names such as Henry Moore, Paul Gauguin and William Hollman-Hunt.
Are women in nineteenth-century paintings simply ornaments in a “gilded cage”? ‘The Enchanted Interior’ at Laing (12 Oct – 22 Feb) will explore this, exhibiting Pre-Raphaelite masters alongside their female peers to reveal the objectification of women in art. An absolute must-see if you enjoy a feminist critique of art history.