Hello from the Henry Moore Institute, Leeds

September 4, 2012

Hello, Big Sculpture fans! I’m writing from the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds city centre which was set up as part of the Foundation created by Castleford-born artist Henry Moore, whose preliminary art education was in Leeds. The story goes that Moore once visited Leeds Central library as a student looking for books on sculpture and was met with the acerbic response “What is sculpture?”

This question is really what I love about the Institute. Not only does it question what sculpture is, and how it can be defined, but it sets out the role of the gallery to engage with its visitors and help them to question “What is sculpture?” We don’t have a collection, but we curate the sculpture displays at Leeds Art Gallery and the temporary exhibitions in our main galleries, which change three times a year. Come and see what we have to offer because it is constantly changing. From Ice-Age to contemporary and everything in-between. I’d suggest combining it with a visit to Leeds Art Gallery as we’re connected via a bridge link. Start with us and walk through to their sculpture collections. It is the sculpture street of Leeds!

The current exhibition, a solo show by the British artist Sarah Lucas, sets out to reposition the artist, who until recently was most well-known for her exploits as a Young British Artist in the early 1990s. It is curated by our Head of Sculpture Studies, Lisa Le Feuvre. Sarah Lucas is an artist who gleefully queries the history of art. The sculptures displayed at the Institute demonstrate this by their soft classical curves; their abstract forms – reminiscent of a Henry Moore or Barbara Hepworth artwork- and their archeological detail which harks back to earlier Natural History display methods. It’s both a serious and hilarious exhibition which at the same time as being a part of art history simultaneously seeks to turn it on its head!

Furthermore, the Institute is internationally recognised as being at the forefront of art and art history research so our programme is developed to reflect this. We have a sculpture research library and archive of sculptors’ papers. There are numerous academic events and symposia throughout the year, but also a series of free talks – which are open to everyone- with every main exhibition. It is also possible to prearrange FREE guided tours of every exhibition. If your group, school or university would like tailored talk about our shows by one of our very knowledgeable gallery assistants, please contact our Educational Tour Co-ordinator Matthew Merrick on 0113 246 7467.

You can’t miss our striking black marble façade on The Headrow, next to Leeds Art Gallery. We’d love to chat with you about sculpture, and find out what you think of our latest show.
-Tara Sibson, Communications Department