The Centre consists of a Gallery and studios, occupied by a range of artists, including Issam Kourbaj, all of whom are working on an exciting range of artistic projects for the College, University and beyond.
The centre is both an exhibition space and a teaching centre, and increasingly forms a focus for the arts in College. Around College, you can see a variety of installations, ranging from Anthony Caro’s imposing sculpture in the ante-Chapel to the two very different ‘Darwin’ sculptures by Anthony Smith and Phillip King in Third Court.
Christ’s hosts a unique, friendly and informal life drawing class during term time, open to members of the College and University. Additionally, the Visual Arts Centre is a space that has been used for a variety of one-off activities, showcasing the College’s talents, from poetry readings and creative writing workshops to drama rehearsals and dance.
The Visual Arts studios are a centre for excellence in contemporary art, providing space for practising artists to thrive. Resident artist Issam Kourbaj’s work has been exhibited world-wide. Anthony Smith’s sculpture of Darwin as a young man was modelled in the studios and was shortlisted for the Marsh Sculpture Prize.
Building on a Strong Tradition
Christ’s College has a long tradition of excellence in the Visual Arts, numbering amongst our alumni many distinguished artists and art historians:
Anthony Caro (m. 1942) is a key figure in British sculpture. Major exhibitions of Caro’s work include retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1975), the Trajan Markets, Rome (1992), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (1995), and Tate Britain, London (2005). He was also part of the design team for London’s Millennium Bridge. His prizes include the Praemium Imperiale for Sculpture in Tokyo in 1992 and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture in 1997. He was knighted in 1987 and received the Order of Merit in May 2000.
Nicholas Serota (m. 1965) is an art historian and curator who became Director of the Tate in 1988, having previously been Director of the Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1973-1976) and the Whitechapel Art Gallery (1976-1988).
Phillip King (m.1954) is one of Britain's most innovative sculptors who was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award for Sculpture in 2010 by the International Sculpture Centre.
Dee Ferris (m. 1992) is a British painter who has participated in group exhibitions at Saatchi Gallery, London; Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo; Tate Britain, London; City Gallery Prague, Prague; Prague Biennale, Prague; Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; and the Royal Academy.
Charles Saumarez Smith (Former Fellow) is a British art historian. He was appointed Director of the National Portrait Gallery in 1994. From 2002 to 2007 he was director of the National Gallery and was formerly President of the Museums Association.
David Cannadine (Honorary and Former Fellow) is an eminent historian who was appointed Chair of the National Portrait Gallery in 2005.
Christ’s is keen to engage with alumni interested in contributing to the visual and related arts. In particular, we are keen to further encourage interdisciplinary interactions between the Visual Arts and science, poetry, theatre, dance, medicine. Some of these links are already flourishing; the anthology ‘ekphrasis’ is an example of one such project, combining literature by Christ’s staff and students with Tom de Freston’s images. In October 2010, Tom was awarded a prestigious Leverhulme Residency in College, the aim of which was to produce a body of work in response to Paradise Lost, finding painterly equivalents for what has been called Milton’s ‘grand style’. Tom’s paintings were exhibited in the University Library and in the Michaelhouse Chancel in Cambridge and at the Cambridge Shakespeare Conference. Tom’s inspiration came not only from the fact that Milton is a Christ’s alumnus but from an existing website produced by Christ’s fellows and students, ‘Darkness Visible’.
All these varied, aspirational projects would benefit greatly from support by alumni either through their special skills or through financial support to help us realise our ambition of creating a truly interdisciplinary centre, rooted in and inspired by the visual arts.
For further information about supporting the Visual Arts Centre, please contact Catherine Twilley.