Tate Liverpool is celebrating its 30th birthday – in a rather unusual (notably brilliant) way. Ken’s Show: Exploring the Unseen marks this significant milestone in the history of the most visited modern and contemporary art gallery outside of London, with an exhibition curated and conceived by the only individual who has been there as a constant presence throughout.
Art Handling Manager Ken Simons has worked at Tate Liverpool since its opening in 1988, during which time he has played a leading role in hanging each one of its exhibitions and worked directly with many of the artists whose work has since become central to the Tate collection. Now, as he prepares to retire (after 43 years of Tate service in total), Ken’s Show presents a unique opportunity to share some of his favourite artworks from the last three decades.
The exhibition will feature 30 artists’ works drawn from across the Tate collection, including several iconic pieces, such as: Mark Rothko’s Light Red Over Black (1957), J.M.W. Turner’s Snow Storm – Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth (1842), Piet Mondrian’s The Tree A (c.1913), and Angel (1997) by Mark Wallinger who won the Turner Prize when it was held at Tate Liverpool in 2007. Ken’s Show will also explore Ken’s personal interest in sculptural and landscape art, as well as unseen or mysterious spaces.
Overall, the exhibition promises not only to provide a rare snapshot of Tate Liverpool’s history, and present a fascinating grouping of major works. But also, a refreshing break from the standard, top-down model of curation common to most galleries, welcoming the insight and fresh perspective of a man who worked intimately with countless, endlessly varied artworks over the years.