This is a dedicated site for Bureau’s exhibition We Are All In This Together. Submission forms can be downloaded from Bureau’s website www.bureaugallery.com or email the gallery for a copy: info@bureaugallery.com


A curatorial experiment… A gallery gamble… An exhibition determined by you, the artist, and the public… Without agenda or bias, refuting government and funding criteria, and not driven by the market, current taste or trend in contemporary art. Open to all UK artists.

We Are All In This Together is a celebration of both Bureau’s fifth birthday and the current contemporary scene across the UK. It appears prescient in the face of the recent arts cuts, as Bureau extends an invitation to UK based artists to exhibit work at their Manchester gallery. The exhibition aims to feature new and existing works by as many artists as possible, as in a challenging curatorial exercise, Bureau relinquishes control of their curated gallery programme and issues a call out to artists to provide the exhibition content.

We Are All In This Together pays tribute to preeminent curator Walter Hopps’ seminal 36 Hours project at MOTA (The Museum of Temporary Art), Washington, USA in 1978. The concept for 36 Hours was for any artist to take a single work to the gallery, without any chance of rejection or censorship, and Hopps would personally hang the works as they arrived. The show was inclusive, making no distinction between artists or selection of works, the only limitation being a size restriction. Bureau will adhere to this framework in an attempt to explore curatorial models and boundaries, and experiment with exhibition formats, extending the timeframe from 36 hours to 36 days.

Hopps linked his curatorial practice to his earlier studies in natural sciences and bacteriology, making reference to 36 Hours as an innocent response to natural phenomena: “It’s a perception of all the sorts of things one studies in the natural sciences, where you immediately get a vast realm of phenomena thrown out in front of you. I remember when I studied bacteriology, I had a good professor who went out of his way to talk about both bacteriophages and viruses so we might get a better sense of the whole category. Somehow, early on I got used to the idea that these people who were exploring any given subject were constantly pushing out beyond the boundaries, in order to understand what the boundaries were in the first place.” 1 In a similar way Bureau hope to test curatorial practice, gain a wider perception of the current working practices of artists in the UK and identify emergent trends across works.

Through Bureau’s extended duration of the period for submissions from 36 hours to 36 days, it allows for the possibility of a number of different exhibitions to take place and for visitors to make return visits to view the altering dynamics of the gallery space. The exhibition will be documented on a dedicated website, evolving on a daily basis as and when works are delivered to the gallery. This will create shifting dialogues, relationships and tensions between the works as the exhibition expands. As works are added the show will be re-assessed and re-hung, based on both spatial and curatorial decisions and potential emergent themes.

Operating in reverse from the standard exhibition format of fixed works and a preview,We Are All In This Together will open with an empty gallery space. Almost construed as a series of exhibitions, it will culminate in one conclusive hang and exhibition presentation at the ‘final viewing’ and closing party.

We Are All In This Together questions curatorial strategy and whether a cohesive, or series of cohesive exhibitions can be created through an open call for submissions, with no prior knowledge of the works and no selection criteria, and where no work is turned away.

 

1 Artforum, Interview with Walter Hopps, February 1996

 

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