Press Releases

Pop art takes National Museum Cardiff back to sixties

Spring brings three exciting new contemporary displays to National Musuem Cardiff from March. A new pop art exhibition Pop and Abstract features many important artists’ works from the modern art collection of Amgueddfa Cymru. There will also be a new photographic installation commission by artist Holly Davey and Tim Davies brings his 2011 Venice Biennale video installation to the museum.


Supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust, Pop and Abstract (9 March – 1 September 2013) is a new collections-based display which highlights the way the ‘swinging sixties’ transformed British art in the post-war period. Inspired by the latest developments in America, British artists began to make work that was bold, confident and signalled a decisive break with the past. Pop and abstract artists used vibrant colour and the language of advertising to create a progressive, international style.

This large exhibition explores the way pop and abstraction was interpreted by artists based in Wales and remains relevant and influential to artists working today. Pop and Abstract features work by many of the most important artists in the modern collection including Peter Blake, Alan Davie, David Hockney and Bridget Riley alongside artists with close links to Wales including Ken Elias, Mali Morris, John Selway and Ernest Zobole.

Tim Davies: Drift (9 March – 26 May 2013) presents three films made in response to his invitation to represent Wales at the Venice Biennale in 2011. The films Drift, Frari and Capricci will be shown together for the first time in a single installation. They create a dramatic and poignant portrait of Venice, creating links with the way the City is represented in the Museum’s historic collection by artist such as Canaletto, Monet and Whistler. Drift and Frari featured in the Wales in Venice presentation at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 organised by the Arts Council of Wales.

In 2012 artist Holly Davey was commissioned by the Museum to create a site-specific work for the Landing area of the Contemporary Galleries supported by the Colwinston Charitable Trust. Nothing Is What It Is Because Everything Is What It Isn’t (9th March – 1 September 2013) transforms the stairwell with an expansive photographic installation that questions our experience and understanding of the space. Holly Davey is one of Wales’ leading contemporary artists, she uses photography and performance to make work that explores our relationship to architecture and memory.

Visitors will also be able to enjoy a new display of abstract works by artists such as James Hugonin, Keith Coventry and Howard Hodgkin from the Derek Williams Trust Collection, which will soon be marking 20 years of working with Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales.

Nicholas Thornton, Head of Contemporary and Modern Art, Amgueddfa Cymru, said,

“These three ambitious exhibitions build on the successful opening of the Museum’s contemporary galleries in 2011. In Pop and Abstract we see a new, exciting aspect of the Museum’s collections – the galleries have been transformed with big, bold and colourful works that capture the spirit of the 1960s. Many of the works will be seen here for the very first time. The presentation of new work by two of Wales’s leading artists – Holly Davey and Tim Davies – underline the Museum’s commitment to the contemporary and our ambition to connect with our audiences in new ways. “

See for further information about the exhibitions.

Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales operates seven museums across Wales including National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, the National Roman Legion Museum, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, the National Wool Museum, the National Slate Museum and the National Waterfront Museum.

Entry to the Museum is free, thanks to the support of the Welsh Government.