Exhibition Showcases Museum's British Artists

SEPTEMBER 09, 2014

September 10, 2014 (Charlotte, N.C.) – The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art opens the exhibition British Invasion today. The show, which runs through February 18, 2015, is a representation of British art found principally in the Bechtler collection from the 1950s through the 1970s. The works include prints, drawings, sculpture and paintings.

The exhibition comprises 56 works by 11 artists: Henry Moore, Ben Nicholson, Bridget Riley, Lynn Chadwick, Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Alan Davie, Rodney Gladwell, Bernard Meadows, Victor Pasmore and William Scott.

A highlight of the show is work by Lynn Chadwick, one of the leading sculptors of post-war Britain. Included in the exhibition are six sculptures and four lithographs by the artist. Chadwick was recently the focus of three concurrent retrospectives in London, Berlin and New York. The shows were presented by the Blain|Southern and Blain|Di Donna galleries. The galleries, along with the Estate of Lynn Chadwick, have loaned five Chadwick works to the Bechtler for the British Invasion show.

The Chadwick works on loan to the museum serve to illustrate not only the sculptor’s unerring interest in human and animal forms (Two Dancing Figures III and Beast VII), but the mainstay of his artistic practice; the manner in which he blurred the lines between figuration and abstraction (Conjunction II). The Bechtler collection also contains a work by Chadwick, Apollo, an iron and compositon sculpture.

More so than anything, the British Invasion exhibition reinforces the notion that the Bechtlers collected the art they liked and were not impressed by what was considered mainstream and acceptable. The family’s interest in art ran an unusually wide aesthetic spectrum. They showed an appetite for multiple stylistic inquiries from realistic to abstract. British Invasion exemplifies how the Bechtlers purchased works by some of the most current artists of the era while also collecting master works by established figures.

Only two living artists are featured in British Invasion – Bridget Riley and David Hockney. Last seen in the 2013 Bechtler exhibition Artistic Relationships: Partners, Mentors, Lovers, Riley’s popular geometric work Fade has since undergone conservation work and will now appear brighter to viewers. To supplement a Hockney print from the Bechtler collection, Davidson College loaned three Hockney works (including an 8-foot photo collage) to the museum for this show.

In addition to the Hockney loans, two lithographs by Chadwick and two works by Moore are also on loan from Davidson College.

Exhibition Sponsors 

The British Invasion exhibition if funded by Compass Group with supporting funds from Womble Carlyle. The community partner is the British American Business Council of North Carolina.   

Exhibition-related Programs:

September 29
Modern Mondays Gallery Talk

David Hockney: Photographic Cubist

October 19
Music and Museum Concert

Baroque to Modern: Music from the British Isles

October 27
Modern Mondays Gallery Talk

Artistic Reflections

December 15
Modern Mondays Gallery Talk

Hockney: The Development of Self in Art

January 12
Modern Mondays Gallery Talk

The Decorative: Bridget Riley’s Modernist Sin

Also Opening September 10

Opening simultaneously in the 4th-floor gallery is The Firebird: Celebrating Five Years in Charlotte. The special exhibition highlights the presence of the Firebird from its 2009 installation on the Bechtler plaza to its current popularity with the public and myriad photo seekers. The 17-foot whimsical sculpture was created in 1991 by Niki de Saint Phalle and is covered from top to bottom in pieces of mirrored and colored glass.

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is dedicated to the exhibition of mid-20th-century modern art. It is named after the family of Andreas Bechtler who assembled and inherited a collection created by seminal figures in modernism. The museum is located at Levine Center for the Arts, 420 South Tryon Street, Charlotte. Operating hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Sunday 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.; closed Tuesdays. For museum details visit www.bechtler.org.

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MEDIA CONTACT: Pam Davis, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art Director of Communications and Marketing, pam.davis@bechtler.org, office: 704.353.9204 / mobile 704.975.2363

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