[The Irish Museum of Modern Art ]

New Galleries at Irish Museum Art
to open in February 2000

A series of new climate-controlled galleries, which will house exhibitions from important collections worldwide, will open to the public at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in February 2000. The galleries, which will add 1000 square metres to the Museum's exhibition area, are located in the former Deputy Master's House, beside the Formal Garden in the north-east corner of the Royal Hospital site.

The exhibition programme for the New Galleries will focus on special collections, sometimes drawn from the Museum's own Collection but also regularly from public and private collections throughout the world. The inaugural exhibitions will comprise:

- works on paper by Picasso, from the Musée Picasso in Paris, concentrating particularly on Picasso's use of newspaper as a ground, as a source of subject matter and as a material in collages over a long period

- the first showing of works on paper and collages attributed to Francis Bacon, from the Barry Joule Archive, highlighting Bacon's awareness of and involvement with popular culture and mass media.


The exhibitions in the New Galleries are designed to represent points of origins in the works of major 20th-century artists in the context of the Museum's dynamic ongoing exhibitions of contemporary work and its innovative access programmes. There is no more original artist in this century than Picasso, whose practice covered almost all important developments in art throughout the period. This showing of some 120 works on paper, some being seen for the first time, will enable the public to get a sense of the mind of the artist at work, from the early 1900s up to the late '6os. His use of newspaper as a ground, as a source of subject matter and as a material in collages, will provide a unique opportunity to explore this important but little known aspect of Picasso's work.

There is a direct correspondence in subject matter to the second exhibition:

a recently revealed series of works on paper and worked-over photographs attributed to Francis Bacon. In Bacon's case the argument that he did not draw or prepare before attacking the canvas has been challenged by this material which now indicates the need for a re-reading of the critical discussion around Bacon's work in general.


The exhibition, comprising 100 works, is selected from the Barry Joule Archive and will be the first showing anywhere of these works. The use of news and sports images, as well as art images and the annotation of books, demonstrates not only Bacon's knowledge of art of the period - late 1950s and early '6os and of art history in general but also his awareness of and involvement with popular culture and the mass media. This exhibition anticipates the Hugh Lane Gallery's Francis Bacon exhibition opening in June 2000 which will feature key paintings spanning Francis Bacon's entire career. The exhibition celebrates the Hugh Lane Gallery's acquisition of Francis Bacon's studio and its contents. These two exhibitions will provide an unprecedented opportunity to assess Bacon's work in all its stages of realisation.


Commenting on the exhibitions, the Museum's Director, Declan McGonagle said:

"Bacon was an artist in the world; so too was Picasso. Neither can be consigned to history, and any new reading of their work creates implications for contemporary artists. While the paths of both artists are quite distinct there is a linkage in their visualisations of ideas. Both processes involve a transformation of the ordinary and the commonplace into the extraordinary, revealing something of each artist's thinking and decision making process. Presenting this material by Picasso and Bacon, side by side, as one century ends and another begins, will give people unusual and new insights into the minds of two crucially important artists who have explored the nature and meaning of human experience."
The Deputy Master's House dates to 1763 and acted as lodgings for the Deputy Masters or surgeons to the Hospital and their families. Shay Cleary Architects were responsible for the conversion of the interior of the building to a high quality art gallery, including a new entrance court and basement art gallery. OPW Architectural Services were responsible for conservation of the external fabric of the building. The project provides a new setting for the existing building within the overall site and juxtaposes new and historic elements in the spirit of the earlier adaption of the main Museum building.


[The Irish Museum of Modern Art ]