An Eyeful of Wry

Works from the Government Art Collection

An Eyeful of Wry, an exhibition of works from the UK Government Art Collection, is on show at the Brynmor Jones Library gallery at the University of Hull until 26 November 2017 as part of Hull 2017 UK City of Culture.

An Eyeful of Wry initially evolved at the Government Art Collection (GAC) offices in London as a display for visitors on public tours. It was born out of the realisation that works of art in the GAC – an eclectic and diverse collection – can sometimes relate to each other in unexpected ways when shown together, adding to the potential for humour, just as the best comic double acts are mutually complementary. Satirical prints by James Gillray, William Heath and other nineteenth century artists are shown amongst playful contemporary works including Martin Creed's neon work THINGS and Mel Brimfield's gaudy funfair piece, 4' 33” (Prepared Pianola for Roger Bannister). In the exhibition, visitors will also discover video works by Simon Faithfull, Mitra Saboury and Wood and Harrison – very different performances that range from introspective humour to pure slapstick.

The exhibition presents further comic notions and provocative ideas in works by other artists in the show, including Ian Hamilton Finlay, Jim Lambie, Cornelia Parker, Grayson Perry, David Shrigley, Laure Prouvost, Eva Rothschild, Mark Wallinger and Bedwyr Williams. Enticing us mischievously with his proposals as random as composing a song for British embassy staff around the world; to swamping the streets in bunting, is Peter Liversidge's Proposals for the Government Art Collection. Commissioned for the exhibition in book and print form, this work includes two of the artist's eponymous 'proposals' that are brought to life: one as a filmed performance by British comedian Phill Jupitus; and another by a group of art students from Hull.

Education resources

Working in collaboration with Heritage Learning, an education and cultural agency based in Hull, the GAC has produced the following resources for An Eyeful of Wry:

Art trail A fun-filled journey of selected works in the exhibition aimed at visitors up to 10 years. Download a free pdf before you visit the show (NB: the trail is designed and ideally viewed in A3 format). Hard copies of the trail are available at the exhibition.

Art trail download (PDF format - 4.1mb)

Beneath the Surface – Teachers' and Group Leaders' Notes Whether you're visiting the exhibition for formal learning purposes or as a general visitor, the information in this pack will support your exploration of the works on show. Free exhibition tours Please ask at the information desk at the exhibition for details of free tours led by student volunteers.

Beneath the Surface download (PDF format 1.2mb)

Further Information

An Eyeful of Wry
Brynmor Jones Library gallery
The University of Hull
Cottingham Road
Hull, HU6 7RX

Telephone: 01482 465 683
Email: culture@hull.ac.uk