Putting on a Show: RBSA Curators from 1900 to 2018

The role of Honorary Curator is an important one at the RBSA. We look ahead to the forthcoming show and speak to current Hon Curator, Steve Evans, who tells ART BLOG what’s involved …

Putting on a Show 24 Sept – 6 October

Every year the RBSA stages an exhibition featuring the Permanent Collection and Archive. This year’s exhibition has been curated by Nigel Priddy, Archive Officer, and Brendan Flynn, Professor of Art History.

It focuses on Honorary Curators of the Society, particularly the work of the late Paul Hipkiss who held the post from 1999 until his 2017.

The majority of the work shown will be Paul’s, kindly loaned by his family. Some of his prints, including unframed copies, will be available for sale. This will be accompanied by examples of work by nine other past Honorary Curators including James Priddy, Richard Thornton, Roger Forbes and Marylane Barfield.

Marylane Barfield, 'Study in Red and Black'

Marylane Barfield, ‘Study in Red and Black’

Steve Evans, current Hon Curator, says: ‘I came to know Paul through being a regular member of his hanging teams, which also gave me a great introduction to the RBSA and many of its members.

‘Paul was very kind to me, always very encouraging and ready to share his knowledge and experience so I am more than pleased that one of my works will be shown in this exhibition.

IMG_6612 (2)

‘I’ve been Honorary Curator now for about nine months.  I was surprised and flattered to be asked to take on the role. It’s hard work but enjoyable and challenging. I found it somewhat daunting to be following Paul Hipkiss.

‘He was so central to the way the RBSA presented its exhibitions, it can feel a little like following a great football manager such as Sir Alex Ferguson!’
Paul Hipkiss,''

Paul Hipkiss, ‘Wheal Sisters’

What’s involved

Being Honorary Curator involves running the teams behind the hanging and dismantling of the Society’s exhibitions. The Hon Curator will also select, or work with selectors, deciding on exhibition layouts and how to hang or install the work.

Steve Evans adds: ‘A more singular part of the role is having to make final decisions on the suitability of works for inclusion.

‘The help of Members, Associates and Friends of the Society is essential and I have been very thankful for the commitment of those who give up their time to be part of the teams, particularly the ‘regulars’!

‘It has been a delight to work with a lot of terrific people within and beyond the RBSA. I enjoy their company and their input and am learning from them all the time.’

Visit the Exhibition!


Putting on a Show: RBSA Curators from 1900 to 2018 features past Honorary Curators of the Society, including the late Paul Hipkiss. We thank Paul’s family for the loan of a collection of his work. Some of his prints will be available to purchase.

This exhibition coincides with ‘The City Beautiful’, which is the Centenary Celebrations of Birmingham Civic Society. See their website for more information, and don’t miss the talk by RBSA Professor of Art History, Brendan Flynn!

#artcurators #artexhibitioninBirmingham #arthistory #RBSAgallery

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