Cool Brittania Peter Lanyon’s “Airscape” of 1961 and below, a 2007 chair by Tom Dixon. (Images courtesy Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design, Providence)
As London designers today kicked off their turn on the global fashion calendar, the Museum of Art Rhode Island School of Design is putting the finishing touches on a major exhibition highlighting its impressive collection of contemporary British art. Opening next Friday, “Made in the UK: Contemporary Art from the Richard Brown Baker Collection” will showcase approximately 100 works by artists such as David Hockney, Anish Kapoor, Jim Lambie, Tacita Dean, and Julian Opie. The show traces the collection of Baker (1912-2002), a Providence native and Rhodes Scholar who lived in London during World War II before moving to New York, from British takes on Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art to the moiré effect canvases of Bridget Riley and the YBA explosion (Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Jake and Dinos Chapman, and Rachel Whiteread are all represented). Baker proved to have a sharp eye for emerging artists and donated around 135 works to RISD and provided the museum with funds to further enrich its collection of British art. “He never lost the thrill of discovering new talent, and, as he could afford it, continuing to support those whose work he had previously collected,” says Jan Howard, who curated the exhibition with Judith Tannenbaum. “Made in the UK” will be on view at the RISD Museum through January 8.