History Is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain explores 70 years of cultural and social history. Filtering collective history through their individual perspectives, seven British artists of different generations and backgrounds – John Akomfrah, Simon Fujiwara, Roger Hiorns, Hannah Starkey, Richard Wentworth and Jane and Louise Wilson – each curate distinct sections of the exhibition and provide their unique ‘take’ on recent British history.
The six sections of History Is Now cover topics as varied as the Cold War, post-Thatcherite society, feminism, protest movements, ‘mad cow disease’ and celebrity culture through a diverse set of artworks and objects ranging from a Bloodhound Surface-to-Air missile to a half-tonne piece of coal. In their content, approach and design each of these artist-curated sections push at the limits of conventional exhibition-making. Set against the political backdrop of the upcoming General Election in May History Is Now provides us with a new way of looking at our past, as well as a platform for considering the future.
'Engaging... Shows how good artists can be at curating shows, if you let them.' (Artnet)
'Pure genius...this is exhibition as time machine.' (The Guardian)
'A powerful exhibition that doesn't pull its punches' (Huffington Post)
'Stroke of genius' (Time Out)
'Fascinating' **** (Evening Standard)
'Truly...illuminate[s] where we are now through where we once were' (The Independent)
Minister of Agriculture John Gummer, 1990. Photo: Jim James/Press Association Images
Eduardo Paolozzi, Take-off, 1972 (from original Bunk collages 1947-52) © Trustees of the Paolozzi Foundation. Licensed by DACS 2015
Sam Taylor-Johnson, David Beckham (‘David’), 2004 © the artist. Courtesy the artist and White Cube, London
Consolata Boyle, costume designed for Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, 2011. Photo by Roger Wooldridge.