RAMM and contemporary art 2018-2022
From 2018 to 2022, RAMM has received additional investment from Arts Council England’s National Portfolio Organisation funding to develop contemporary art activity in response to the museum’s collections.
RAMM is creating a dynamic contemporary art programme as an expression of its vision: Home to a Million Thoughts. By integrating contemporary art into the museum’s wide-ranging programme, RAMM is reaching new audiences.
We are encouraging and inspiring new interpretations of RAMM and its collections by working with artists to create new work. Art work by internationally-renowned contemporary artists is displayed in exhibitions whilst our building and the stories that relate to collections are stimulating commissions.
We are also working in collaboration with local visual arts partners to develop contemporary art projects involving our communities inspired by RAMM’s collections and relating to our programming themes:
Ornamentation – January to March 2019
RAMM showed the major exhibition Criminal Ornamentation: Yinka Shonibare curates the Arts Council Collection from 19 Jan to 17 March 2019.
This intriguing exhibition included eye-popping art ranging from film to fashion and ceramics and fashion. Celebrated British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare chose works that surprise and dazzle. From a sequined dress by Alexander McQueen to nineteenth-century wallpaper by William Morris, there were more than 100 works by 50 artists including Andy Goldsworthy, Sarah Lucas, Sonia Boyce, Susan Derges, Mona Hatoum, David Nash, Bridget Riley and Yinka himself.
Migration – spring to winter 2019
Exeter-based artists Preston Street Union (PSU) have been commissioned to produce two new commissions. PSU use social, collaborative processes to create participatory and performative artwork.
Sea Garden is a unique exhibition for RAMM:
Sea Garden 16 November 2019 to 26 January 2020
Artists: Claude Cahun, Jo Crook, Dorothy Cross, Susan Derges, Bryony Gillard, Mollie Goldstrom & William Arnold, Sarah Gordon, Ingela Ihrman, Mikhail Karikis, Sarah Rose, Lucy Skaer
Sea Garden rejects the idea that humans have a higher status than other living organisms. Instead the exhibition presents contemporary art that explores our close relationship with marine life – specifically seaweed. Many of the works address a tension between nature and culture: between the living algae on the shoreline and dried seaweed specimens carefully preserved by the museum.
Sea Garden is intentionally international: the ocean has no border. From Devon to the North Pacific via Ireland and the West Coast of the USA, the themes suggested in the artworks place the local within the international.
By setting-up dialogues between artwork made by artists in the 21st century, Sea Garden creates interconnected themes of algae collecting, feminism, and environmentalism that question how we relate to each other and, in turn, the natural world. Seen together, these thought-provoking artworks express the artists’ intimate relationship with their environment. Sea Garden reminds us that the natural world exceeds the framing of both art and science.
To see videos about Sea Garden click on the links here –
A short introduction to Sea Garden
An interview with artist and photographer Susan Derges
An interview with Bristol-based artist Bryony Gillard
Year of Untold Stories – 2020
People who have achieved remarkable feats or lived extraordinary lives. It includes hidden histories or the stories of neglected communities, or people fighting inequality and overcoming barriers.
RAMM has commission of a work by acclaimed contemporary artist Joy Gregory. The piece will be displayed as part of an exhibition, opening in October 2020, which will explore how the transatlantic slave trade and its legacy permeates Devon and Exeter’s social infrastructure to this day.
The new artwork will be informed by the artist’s experience of working with the curators at RAMM and the museum’s collections, the advisory panel to this exhibition and members of the public.
Health and wellbeing 2021
Exploring the history of medical treatment through history and around the globe. How visiting museums and galleries can improve your mental health.
Tackling some of the pressing challenges of our era. What will be the impact of climate change on our environment and what can we learn from the past to create a sustainable future?
If you would like to know more about the Contemporary Art Programme please contact Lara Goodband firstname.lastname@example.org