Hastings: first-ever exhibition crowdsourced from Instagram

Artist Support Pledge (ASP) has moved from our screens and onto real-life gallery walls with the first-ever exhibition crowdsourced from Instagram at Hastings Contemporary.

A Generous Space runs until April 17.

Spokeswoman Tracy Jones said: “More than 300 works, created by artists from around the world as well as from just around the corner, will be featured in A Generous Space. Paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, photography, basket-making, weaving and needlework have travelled to the UK from countries including America, Canada, India, Republic of Moldova, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, and the Republic of Ireland. There is also strong representation from local and regionally based artists.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

“There were more than 3,600 submissions for A Generous Space, all made via Instagram using the #aspshows hashtag, with ASP founder artist Matthew Burrows and eight other selectors choosing the works to be included in the exhibition. The selectors are artist Lakwena; Kate Bryan, TV presenter and head of collections for Soho House; a-n’s chief executive Julie Lomax; Natalie Melton, creative director, Arts Council; Sally Shaw, director of the 2021 Art Fund Museum of the Year gallery Firstsite; Jo Baring, director of the Ingram Collection of Modern British & Contemporary Art: journalist and editor Javier Pes and Jes Fernie, an independent curator and writer.

Hastings Contemporary (c) Hastings Contemporary

Lakwena said: “After a long period of us all having been restricted to seeing a lot of art and people through screens, the works that interested me most were those that had some tactility to them, and/or gave some glimpse into the everyday lives of the artists who made them. What I like about these works is the space they open up for simple human connection.”

Artists whose work will be on display include Susan Absolon, critic/artist Matthew Collings, mosaic artist Emma Biggs, Anne Ryan (who has a new commission currently on display at Turner Contemporary as part of their tenth anniversary) and wood and glass artist Jayne Armstrong, David Lock and Sarah Dwyer.”

Tracy added: “All the works featured in A Generous Space – the design for which is inspired by an Instagram grid – will have an accompanying label that includes the Instagram details of the artist, so that anyone interested in buying the work can get directly in touch with the artist to do just that, the same egalitarian ethos as the online version of ASP.”

Hastings Contemporary trustee and artist Esther Fox said: “Hastings Contemporary is strongly committed to supporting artists and creating the conditions to nurture creativity.

“A Generous Space is the first public gallery exhibition of its kind as it totally changes the relationship between artists and those buying their art.

“This show helps and empowers artists, giving them a platform to sell their art and be patrons, buying each other’s work. And anyone can buy the art. Buyers are able to have direct relationships with artists. The show makes things really simple and easy for any people who might previously have been nervous or unsure about buying art.”

Matthew Burrows, artist and founder of ASP, added: “The exhibition promises to be a blockbuster, covering two floors of this award-winning gallery – a real-world immersion into the community of Artist Support Pledge.

“ASP has shown us that with a generous spirit and an open eye we can make meaningful change for the welfare of artists and makers.”

Hastings Contemporary director Liz Gilmore said: “This is such an exciting and dynamic show for us, giving people the opportunity to support artists by buying their art at an affordable price in a sustainable way. “