The Bowes Museum > Exhibitions > 2012 > Keith Coventry 'Black Bronze White Slaves'

Keith Coventry 'Black Bronze White Slaves'

This was the first exhibition to focus exclusively on the bronze sculptures of celebrated artist Keith Coventry.

Coventry is a key member of what has been termed the ‘Sensation’ generation who came to prominence in the 1990s on the wave of interest in British artists. He has since become an established (if not an ‘Establishment) artist whose work is in collections such as the Tate, London and New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Although known primarily as a painter, Coventry has always made iconic bronzes throughout his career, but only now was an exhibition staged to focus on this body of work. All his major pieces featured in Keith Coventry 'Black Bronze White Slaves', including Looted Shop Front, Kebab Machine, Supermodel (Kate Moss) and Crack Pipe, along with eight examples of his White Slave series, and five of his broken trees, two of which were new.

Coventry has previously said of his work that he looks at the history of art, and at a social issue and then combines the two. The themes of his bronzes are those of a universal nature: desperation, revolution, the unsettling of political order, the decline of society and a belief in art and its restorative powers.

The themes of Coventry’s work could be found, portrayed in a variety of ways, running through The Bowes Museum’s collection. This exhibition, within the context of the Museum, seeked to activate a further understanding of the permanent collection in relation to the bronzes.