Family Matters: The Family in British Art
15 October 2011 – 8 January 2012

Family Matters: The Family in British Art is an ambitious touring exhibition that shows how the subject of the family has been and continues to be a challenging yet enduring subject for artists. Divided thematically, the exhibition showcases the best of British art with works by David Hockney, Anthony van Dyck, William Hogarth and Tracey Emin. Contemporary and historic works are juxtaposed to show how the traditional family portrait has been replaced with a more frank portrayal of the family. Formal portraits were frequently staged for political or personal purposes, whereas the more recent works offer a view that can only be described as ‘behind the scenes’ creating a tension between the public and private portrayal of the family.

This tension between inside and outside, appearance and reality, can be traced across a number of the works by artists including Thomas Gainsborough and Johann Zoffany, British contemporary artists Richard Billingham and Rachel Whiteread, as well as international artists Thomas Struth and Zineb Sedira. The five thematic sections - Inheritance; Childhood; Parenting; Couples & Kinship; Home - reveal a world of shifting certainties for the British family through a range of media, including film and photography, painting and sculpture.

A full programme of events and activities accompanies this exhibition. An illustrated gallery guide accompanies the exhibition priced at £4.99.

The Great British Art Debate is a partnership project between Tate Britain, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums, Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service and Museums Sheffield, supported by The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and by the MLA’s Renaissance programme. A four year collaboration, the project explores identity through national and regional art collections. www.greatbritishartdebate.org

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