SITE: SELF PORTRAIT (Times New Roman) (2012/2012) by Mark WallingerBALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
Set in a converted flour mill, the BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art opened to the public in 2002. Located on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, UK, the gallery has played an important part in the regeneration and rejuvenation of this part of the city.
In the mid 1990s, Dominic Williams of Ellis Williams Architects won a competition to convert the mill into a center for art. The gallery opened with group exhibition B.OPEN. The show, which featured artists including Chris Burden, Carsten Holler, Julian Opie, Jaume Plensa and Jane and Louise Wilson, was incredibly successful, attracting over 35,000 visitors in its first week alone.
The best place to begin your virtual tour of this contemporary gallery is outside the building itself. Take a digital stroll across the city’s Millennium Bridge to get a feel for the gallery’s setting and for the landscape that surrounds it. Built in 1950, the mill was only operational for 30 years, closing its doors for good in 1981.
Continue your exploration of the space and its setting by heading up to the roof. From here, you can see a number of the iconic bridges that span the Tyne, including the Gateshead Millennium Bridge, an innovative pedestrian and bike bridge that ‘blinks’ to let boats pass underneath.
Inside the gallery, you’ll find a number of beautifully designed exhibition spaces. These spaces host a number of temporary exhibitions and touring shows throughout the year. Artists featured in these shows range from sculptors and painters to abstract artists, photographers and performance groups.
Bigger exhibition spaces in the BALTIC are often used to showcase artists who work on a large scale. These spacious, neutral areas provide the perfect backdrop to the often colourful work of the many talented and creative people whose projects are displayed in the gallery.
In 2011, the BALTIC was the first gallery outside of London or the Liverpool Tate to host the Turner Prize. This prestigious event helped to raise the profile of the BALTIC and ensured its place at the heart of cultural life in the UK.
Many of the spaces in the BALTIC are designed to be interactive and welcoming. While you may not be able to browse the books in the book shop on your virtual visit, this feeling of inclusivity is still clear to see in the design, layout and look of the building.
Domain Field (2003/2003) by Antony GormleyBALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
One of the most innovative and exciting contemporary art spaces in the UK, the BALTIC has a fantastic calendar of events and shows throughout the year. Find out more, and explore the gallery’s online exhibitions, here.