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Commissioning a Gavin Turk neon to broadcast the world's population on the front of our 19th century Museum's French façade in Teesdale Read more

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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on January 13, 2014.

Commissioning a Gavin Turk neon to broadcast the world's population on the front of our 19th century Museum's French façade in Teesdale

About this project

'Seven billion two hundred and one million nine hundred and sixty-four thousand two hundred and thirty-eight' will be the number of people on planet earth at the moment Gavin Turk's first solo exhibition of neons opens at The Bowes Museum. 

Turk, one of the Young British Artists, renowned in the 90s for their shock tactics and use of throwaway materials, has designed the neon work, the world's population in numbers, especially for the exhibition at The Bowes Museum. We would like to raise the funds to realise its manufacture and installation on the front of our 19th century French style façade. It will be turned on at the start of the exhibition and we hope will be visible for miles around until 21st April when it draws to a close.

Gavin Turk, Neon Match, 2009 © Andy Keate, courtesy of Gavin Turk
Gavin Turk, Neon Match, 2009 © Andy Keate, courtesy of Gavin Turk

The Bowes Museum was founded by a local business man, John Bowes who met and married his wife Joséphine, a French actress, in Paris. As well as a love for each other, they shared a love of fine and decorative art and together they began collecting a vast array of beautiful artefacts including paintings, furniture, glass, ceramics, silver, toys and textiles. They decided to build a Museum to house their collection in rural Teesdale, part of the Durham Dales. Sadly the couple never lived to see their magnificent Museum open in 1892.

In 2005, the Museum began a series of ambitious developments to improve the visitor experience and refurbish the galleries. Today our galleries are designed to create the perfect setting in which to enjoy the amazing plethora of objects and art. And to attract new audiences, and help build our reputation as a Museum fit for the 21st century, we have developed a strand of contemporary art and fashion exhibitions to complement our traditional, family and local history exhibitions. So far, we have been host to an extremely popular exhibition of Damien Hirst Prints, a Vivienne Westwood Shoes exhibition, a stunning exhibition of hats by international milliner Stephen Jones, a feast of bronzes by Keith Coventry and most recently a cutting edge exhibition of landscapes and surreal fantasy worlds in an exhibition of Tim Walker’s photography.

Gavin Turk, Observing Eye, 2011 © Andy Keate, courtesy of Gavin Turk
Gavin Turk, Observing Eye, 2011 © Andy Keate, courtesy of Gavin Turk

Gavin Turk’s exhibition, curated by Greville Worthington, former Turner Prize judge, will bring together for the first time all of his neon works, signature pieces created between 1995 and 2013. Set within a darkened gallery, Turk’s neons will shine out like luminous symbols, an egg, a banana, a lobster, a seeing eye, a flickering flame and one of Turk’s trademark doors which either opens or closes, depending on which way you look at it, onto infinite possibilities and nothingness, alike.

Gavin Turk, Port (Blue), 2012 © Andy Keate, courtesy of Gavin Turk
Gavin Turk, Port (Blue), 2012 © Andy Keate, courtesy of Gavin Turk

Neon is a modernist medium now rendered obsolete by digital LED. In this collaboration with Gavin Turk, we really want to achieve this installation of a neon work alluding to the ever-growing world’s population on the outside of our 19th century building, a feat of engineering in itself. In creating this neon and broadcasting this number from the French façade we want to invite visitors to walk through the Museum’s door into Gavin Turk’s enchanting realms of the imagination and beyond.

Gavin Turk, Still Life with Lobster, 1995 © Andy Keate, courtesy of Gavin Turk
Gavin Turk, Still Life with Lobster, 1995 © Andy Keate, courtesy of Gavin Turk
Gavin Turk outside his London Studio
Gavin Turk outside his London Studio

Our Favourite Rewards for Donations to our Ambitious Project 

We really appreciate your support for and backing of our project to create what is essentially the largest neon work which Gavin Turk has ever made, and install it on the front of our Museum. Just knowing that you are behind us and want to be involved in making this happen means a lot. However, we'd like to send you a token of our appreciation ranging from bags and badges to limited edition pieces of Gavin Turk art.

Observer Badge for a £5 pledge
Observer Badge for a £5 pledge
Gavin Turk Tote Bag for a £10 donation
Gavin Turk Tote Bag for a £10 donation
Les Bikes de Bois Rond Postcard Set for £15
Les Bikes de Bois Rond Postcard Set for £15
Gavin Turk Monograph for £50 donation
Gavin Turk Monograph for £50 donation
'Tea Stain' unframed Gavin Turk edition for £250
'Tea Stain' unframed Gavin Turk edition for £250
'Fright Wig Green' unframed Gavin Turk edition for a £350 pledge
'Fright Wig Green' unframed Gavin Turk edition for a £350 pledge
'Gold Triple Pop' unframed Gavin Turk edition for an amazing £1,000 donation
'Gold Triple Pop' unframed Gavin Turk edition for an amazing £1,000 donation

Risks and challenges

We'd love to make this happen and once the project is successfully funded, we have few risks to overcome, other than the logistics of installing the very special and large neon on the front of our building. We have risk assessed the installation, and the manufacturers are aware of the conditions the neon will face on the front of our Museum for three months in blustery conditions in January through to April in North East England! Setbacks could only result in adverse weather conditions affecting the installation in time for the opening of the exhibition, but we will do our best to install the neon broadcasting the number of people on planet earth in time for the opening of Gavin Turk's first solo exhibition of neon works.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge £1 or more

    4 backers

    Every pound pledged will be just as important to us as the larger sums. Just to know that you are backing our project and that you'd like to see the Gavin Turk neon on the front of the Museum means so much to us. Your reward is a 'big thank you' and a shout out on facebook or twitter.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £3 or more

    22 backers Limited (8 left of 30)

    A limited edition A3 poster created especially for the Gavin Turk exhibition of neons at The Bowes Museum, plus a shout out on twitter as a big thank you for your much appreciated support.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £5 or more

    12 backers Limited (88 left of 100)

    A badge of Turk's painting of an eye diagram on bronze background.

    The Observer refers to the act of observation translated into this diagrammatic code but also the act of the viewer as they, in turn, gaze at the artwork. A code not only for looking outwards but for the psychological act of looking inwards, like the symbolic eye in the work of Magritte, The Observer also gives a wink to the metaphorical “third eye” which sees that which is not physically visible.

    And you'll receive a personal thank you from us on our facebook or twitter page, as giving a fiver is just as important as any other donation, taking us a step closer to creating this spectacular conceptual art installation.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £10 or more

    9 backers Limited (91 left of 100)

    A bag specially designed by internationally acclaimed artists to celebrate cultural icons in Hull. The Gavin Turk tote bag has Gavin Turk printed across the front of it in the same design of Jackson's carrier bags, a well known independent shop in Hull. As well as a warm glow inside, you'll also receive an adult's admission to The Bowes Museum and the Gavin Turk exhibition running from 25 January to 21 April.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £15 or more

    7 backers Limited (13 left of 20)

    A gorgeous postcard box set which includes reproductions of all 21 bikes from Gavin Turk's Les Bikes de Bois Rond - a set of bicycles customised with bright wooden beads - inspired by Polish born artist Andre Caderé who would carry around similarly decorated poles. As well as the cool postcards, you'll receive a free admission to The Bowes Museum and Turk's first solo exhibition of neons in our exhibition gallery.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £20 or more

    13 backers Limited (87 left of 100)

    An exclusive exhibition catalogue featuring all of the neon works in the show at The Bowes Museum, Turk's first solo exhibition of neons, with commentary from the curator, Greville Worthington, former Turner Prize judge and Gavin Turk himself. The print run will be limited to accompany the exhibition, and only available from select retailers. A complimentary admission to The Bowes Museum and Turk's exhibition running from 24th January to 21st April 2014 will also be included with the limited edition catalogue.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £25 or more

    12 backers Limited (8 left of 20)

    A black or white American Apparel T-shirt featuring one of Gavin Turk's iconic designs plus entry to The Bowes Museum and his exhibition 'Seven billion two hundred and one million nine hundred and sixty-four thousand two hundred and thirty-eight.'

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  • You selected
    Pledge £50 or more

    19 backers Limited (11 left of 30)

    A signed copy of the ultimate monograph, Gavin Turk, assembled under the artist’s direction. This first major hardback book on the work of Gavin Turk showcases more than two decades of extraordinary sculptures, paintings, prints and installation and contains 450 colour illustrations.

    This impressive volume includes Turk’s major works since the early 1990s, an original essay by Iain Sinclair contextualizing the artist’s work under the umbrella of psycho-geography, including the impact of London on Turk’s personae, and an introductory essay by Judith Collins, an international authority on sculpture. As well as the signed monograph, you'll get a free ticket to The Bowes Museum and Turk's exhibition running from 25th January to 21st April.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £75 or more

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    An exclusive invitation for you and your guest to the exhibition preview at The Bowes Museum on Friday 24th January with the opportunity to meet the curator, Greville Worthington and enjoy the first glimpses of our exhibition of neons.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £100 or more

    1 backer Limited (9 left of 10)

    In return for a hearty £100 donation to our campaign, we would like to offer you an exclusive 'behind the scenes' tour of the exhibition with former Turner Prize judge and curator, Greville Worthington, followed by afternoon tea for two in Café Bowes. You'll also take away with you a complimentary copy of the exhibition catalogue and two 6 month passes to allow you to pop back and see the Gavin Turk neons, and our other fine and contemporary art exhibitions time and time again.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £250 or more

    3 backers All gone!

    An unframed piece of Gavin Turk art from 2004, exploring ideas relating to the artist’s signature. 'Tea Stain' is a unique edition from a series of 1000, (each of the thousand is a unique piece) which shows both Turk’s recent presence but also his absence. The “mark” of the artist is a piece of ephemera which could either be treasured as a relic or discarded as waste. Meanwhile, 'Tea Stain' also continues Turk’s interest in the nature of tea and its relationship to British heritage and colonialism but also tea breaks as the artist contemplates the blank page and the next idea begins to form. And you'll also receive a complimentary ticket to The Bowes Museum and the exhibition of neons, with the chance to join the curator for an introductory gallery talk.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £350 or more

    4 backers All gone!

    A limited edition, from an edition of just 200, unframed silkscreen on paper 'Fright Wig Green'. Turk the prankster re-re-cycler takes on Warhol, the original “queen” of appropriation in this playful hi-jack of Warhol’s Fright Wig self-portraits which depicted him in his infamous blonde wig. 'Fright Wig Green' shows Turk as Warhol in an darkly ominous self-portrait which hints at a fictional artist somewhere between Warhol and Turk, real and fake, cult icon and hideous clown. Plus, of course, free entry to The Bowes Museum and Turk's exhibition with the opportunity to meet the curator and former Turner Prize judge, Greville Worthington.

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  • You selected
    Pledge £1,000 or more

    2 backers All gone!

    An unframed edition of 'Gold Triple Pop' created in 2009 from an edition of just 50. A triple print of the piece Pop which shows the artist as Sid Vicious in the pose of Andy Warhol's Elvis Presley, which imagined the be-quiffed star as a gunslinging cowboy - the original king of Pop as celebrated by the original "king" of Pop Art. A homage to both, Pop finds Turk adopting the same rebel snarl with the curled upper lip, not as the King of Pop but the dark Prince of punk. While Elvis was a sanitised icon of the music industry given a rebellious makeover by Warhol, Sid was a natural outsider who found himself somewhat accidentally at the heart of pop culture. Both came to untimely and sticky ends, sucked up and spat out by the same system, with a heavy dose of self-destruction thrown in for good measure. Certainly, there was nothing glossy or shiny or bright about the respective ends of these two nemeses. But if Pop is a comment on the nature of celebrity and the inbuilt self-destruction of the star system, which likes its martyrs young and damaged - with not a small nod at the martyrdom expected of artists should they ever hope to see their name up in lights, also - it is also a wry take on the commodification of culture, in which rebels and heroes, artists, art works and icons are reduced to products whose value is determined by the arbitrary randomness of the market. And in return for an extremely generous donation to our project, you'll also receive a complimentary ticket to The Bowes Museum and the exhibition with the opportunity to join Greville Worthington, curator for an introductory gallery tour followed by afternoon tea in Café Bowes.

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Funding period

- (40 days)