Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art

The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (BALTIC) is an international centre for contemporary art located on the south bank of the River Tyne alongside the Gateshead Millennium Bridge in Gateshead, North East England. It presents a constantly changing programme of exhibitions and events, and is a world leader in the presentation, commissioning and communication of contemporary visual art.

Dominic Williams of Ellis Williams Architects won an architectural competition in the mid 1990s to convert the 1950s Baltic Flour Mill into a centre for art. After ten years in the planning and a capital investment of £50m, including £33.4m from the Arts Council Lottery Fund, BALTIC opened to the public at midnight on Saturday 13 July 2002. [ [ Baltic Blunders - the New Statesman] ] The inaugural exhibition, B.OPEN, featured work by Chris Burden, Carsten Holler, Julian Opie, Jaume Plensa and Jane & Louise Wilson and attracted over 35,000 visitors in the first week. [ [ Baltic Website] ]

Publicly BALTICS’s profile has been considered rocky and despite its youth it has experienced three directorial changes and has fallen foul to much public gossip and speculation. [ [ Trouble at t'Mill - Meltdown at Newcastle's Baltic?] ] The founding director, Sune Nordgren was appointed in 1997 and was integral in Baltic’s pre-launch period, he oversaw the building of the gallery and witnessed the first one millionth visitor through the doors. After almost six years, Nordgren left to take up a new post as founding Director of the National Museum for Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo, Norway. [ [ Baltic Website] ] He was briefly succeeded by Stephen Snoddy who was only with the organisation for one year. Snoddy was succeeded as Director by Peter Doroshenko in 2005, who approached the challenge with plans to increase visitor numbers and resolve the financial situation. [ [ Baltic's new director unveils a vision of skateboards, football and art in the lavatories] ] Doroshenko organized several exhibitions during his time at the BALTIC, including 'Spank the Monkey.' [ [ Spank the Monkey-BALTIC] ] In November 2007, Doroshenko left the gallery to head up the Pinchuk Art Centre in Kiev, Ukraine. [ [ Baltic Boss Quits for Ukraine Job] ] .

BALTIC has in only five years welcomed more than 2.5 millions visitors, with an additional 1 million virtually in the last year alone through its websites, webcasts, podcasts and Library and Archive facility. BALTIC has exhibited nearly 200 artists from 24 countries, including Anish Kapoor, Sam Taylor-Wood, Antony Gormley, Ed and Nancy Kienholz and Spencer Tunick. BALTIC remains has commissioned over 30 new works, enabling it to support established and emerging artists.

In the summer of 2007 BALTIC celebrated its fifth birthday with a Beryl Cook exhibition and the opening of Quay, a new Learning and Community Centre within the gallery. This new resource, created following a donation of £500,000 by Rootstein Hopkins Foundation enables BALTIC to widen its education remit to work both on and off site, encouraging more people, young and old, to interact and experience contemporary art ‘up close and personal’. Each year BALTIC provides formal education for over 10,000 school children, during nearly 400 sessions ranging from art clubs, photography courses, artist talks and artist-led workshops.Fact|date=May 2008

On 20 September 2007 BALTIC management contacted Northumbria Police for advice regarding whether or not a photograph should be displayed as part of the "Thanksgiving" installation, a forthcoming exhibition by American photographer Nan Goldin. [cite news
title = Boss defends gallery 'porn probe'
work = BBC News
publisher =
date = 2007-09-27
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-28
quote = Mr Wrigglesworth said: "We had an exhibition of 139 photographs and the management of Baltic thought this particular one was possibly beyond the pale. So the management took advice from the police as to whether it should be put on display or not. That led to a police investigation, which is ongoing."
] The photograph entitled "Klara and Edda belly-dancing" (which, along with the rest of the installation, is part of the Sir Elton John Photograhy Collection) features two naked young girls and had previously been exhibited around the world without objections. [cite news
title = Sir Elton owns 'porn probe' photo
work = BBC News
publisher =
date = 2007-09-26
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-28
quote = A spokesman for the singer said the photograph had been exhibited around the world without objections. The statement added: "Elton John is known as one of the world's foremost collectors of photographic art and has several thousand photographs in his collection, including works by Man Ray, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Diane Arbus and Ansel Adams."
] The installation, which had been scheduled for a four-month exhibition, opened with the remaining photographs but closed after just nine days at the request of the owner. [cite news
title = Baltic porn probe photos removed
work = BBC News
publisher =
date = 2007-10-01
url =
accessdate = 2008-05-28
quote = Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, at the request of the Sir Elton John Photography Collection, has closed the exhibition. After the removal of one image from the series it was no longer possible for Baltic to exhibit the collection of works as the artist intended. Therefore Baltic is sympathetic to Sir Elton John's request and supportive of the decision.


External links

* [ Dazzling and a bit bespangled - The Journal 2007]
* [,,2133345,00.html "you may feel a bit queasy" - Guardian review of Beryl Cook exhibition]
* [ Art critics attack "Tate of the North" over Beryl Cook exhibition - the Independent on Sunday] (July 2007)
* [ Boss tries to quell new Baltic Storm - the Journal] July 2007
* [ Gallery attacked over "capricious" decision to scrap art agency show - the Independent]
* [ Gallery chiefs rebuked over chaotic finances - the Times]
* [ Baltic fails for profit from man of steel - the Sunday Times]
* [,,1776493,00.html "a troubling vacancy" - the Guardian]

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