Diaspora-Artists logo


Approaches to Realism

Group show at The Bluecoat Gallery. 1990
Date: 7 April, 1990 until 12 May, 1990
Curator: John Roberts

Curated by John Roberts, Approaches to Realism took place at the Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool. The exhibition’s dates were 7 April - 12 May 1990. Approaches to Realism was organised in conjunction with Oldham Art Gallery and Darlington Arts Centre.

The exhibition was typical of several such group shows that took place during the late 1980s and early 1990s, which featured several Black artists showing in mixed company. Within this exhibition, Rasheed Araeen and Sonia Boyce exhibited alongside Art & Language, Sue Atkinson, Terry Atkinson, David Batchelor, and David Mabb. Opportunities for Black artists to exhibit in mixed exhibitions were scarce during the 1980s and beyond, so, whether by preference or by circumstance, virtually all Black artists of the 1980s featured in ‘Black’ group exhibitions, either from time to time or on a regular and consistent basis. Exhibitions such as Room at the Top, Depicting History: For Today, Critical Realism, and Art History: Artists Look at Contemporary Britain were rare exceptions, in which Black artists of the 1980s were able to exhibit alongside their white counterparts. In Room at the Top (Nicola Jacobs Gallery, 6 February–9 March 1985), Sonia Boyce exhibited alongside artists such as Paul Richards and Adrian Wiszniewski; in Critical Realism: Britain in the 1980s Through the Work of Artists, A Nottingham Castle Touring Exhibition, 1987, Sonia Boyce, Sutapa Biswas, Tam Joseph and Shanti Thomas exhibited alongside artists such as Stuart Brisley, Paul Graham, John Yeadon, and Ken Currie; in Depicting History: For Today (Mappin Art Gallery, 6 November - 12 December 1987, and Leeds City Art Gallery, 14 April–29 May 1988, before being toured to Rochdale Art Gallery); and in Art History: Artists Look at Contemporary Britain (A South Bank Centre touring exhibition, 1987), Keith Piper exhibited alongside artists such as Helen Chadwick, Peter de Francia, Paul Graham, and R.B. Kitaj.

From the Approaches to Realism opening view card: “The issues raised by this exhibition are explored in a new book by John Roberts Postmodernism, politics and art. Published by Manchester University Press in their Cultural Politics series.”

Related items

click to show details of Approaches to Realism - card

»  Approaches to Realism - card

Announcement relating to an exhibition, 1990

People in this exhibition + view all 7

»  Rasheed Araeen

Born, 1935 in Karachi, Pakistan

»  Terry Atkinson

Born, 1939 in Thurnscoe, UK

»  David Batchelor

Born, 1955 in Dundee

»  Sonia Boyce MBE

Born, 1962 in London, England

Exhibition venues

»  The Bluecoat Gallery

Liverpool, United Kingdom