A brand new exhibition curated by Museums Sheffield, Can Art Save Us? looks to the ideas and insights of critic, artist and scholar, John Ruskin (1819-1900) to explore art's role in our quest for a sustainable future.
A man for whom the natural world provided his greatest inspiration, John Ruskin was ahead of his time in his recognition of the environment as a finite resource. In the 21st century, as we race towards a global tipping point, science and politics are at the vanguard of our pursuit for ecological sustainability. But where does art fit in? Have we underestimated art's capacity to change the way we think and act? Drawing on Sheffield's unique Ruskin Collection of art and artefacts, Can Art Save Us? considers the relevance of Ruskin's ideas today, illustrating art's great capacity to stimulate debate and, ultimately, change.
Featuring significant loans from national collections, including Tate, V&A and the National Gallery, Can Art Save Us? will see Ruskin's ideas illustrated through a diverse range of historical and contemporary art and craft. The exhibition will include work by artists including JMW Turner, Barbara Hepworth and Tom Hunter, alongside new commissions by Georgina Bell and West Dean Tapestry Studio. Inspired by Ruskin's ideas, Can Art Save Us? will also see a brand new work in recycled silver by Stefan Tooke, commissioned by Museums Sheffield, in partnership with Ruskin Mill Educational Trust and Galvanize Sheffield Festival of Contemporary Metal. The exhibition will be accompanied by a specially commissioned digital floor print by artist, Simon Schofield which is on display in the gallery's main pedestrian thoroughfare.
Can Art Save Us? is sponsored by the Guild of St George, an organisation which was founded by Ruskin in 1871 with the broad aim of making the world a better place for humankind. Today, the Guild remain committed to the practical implementation of Ruskin's ideas.
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