Since 1949 we have consistently supported contemporary visual artists to successfully transition from education into professional practice, primarily by means of an annual, nationally touring exhibition.
We continue to be unique in the level of support that we offer emerging artists through our open call and associated programmes, and remain responsive to change in the art world and the needs of emerging practitioners.
A panel comprising influential art world figures including curators, writers, and artists select participants for our annual touring exhibition. Often, our selectors have been a part of previous New Contemporaries exhibitions giving them a unique insight on the experience. Selection is a rigorous two-part process, there is no pre-selection and applicants' details are not seen by the panel.
Our exhibitions are accompanied by a programme of educational activity that provides insight into emerging practice and the key issues affecting artists. In partnership with Artquest, we deliver both one-to-one and peer mentoring offered to all selected artists to help make the most of being included in New Contemporaries.
We acknowledge that it is increasingly difficult for emerging artists to operate in the UK, as the cost of living, studios and further education all continue to rise. Since 2014, we have actively worked to address this and have put new mechanisms in place that are intended to support emerging practitioners. These include opening up our annual call to artists participating on non-degree awarding programmes and creating mentoring, studio bursaries, residencies and other opportunities intended to further support artists with the aim to make their practices sustainable in the long-term. We also pay exhibition and performance fees for artists we work with, in addition to the reimbursement of travel expenses and the covering of accommodation costs.
New Contemporaries has held a vital role in the UK’s contemporary art scene, illuminating for the first time a cross section of the most internationally renowned artists of recent history, including post-war figures Frank Auerbach, Bruce Lacey and Paula Rego; pop artists Frank Bowling, Patrick Caulfield and David Hockney; new media pioneers Stuart Brisley, Helen Chadwick and Derek Jarman; YBAs Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili and Gillian Wearing; alongside contemporary figures such as Tacita Dean, Sunil Gupta, Mark Leckey and Mona Hatoum; and more recently a new generation of exceptional artists including Monster Chetwynd, Rachel Maclean, Haroon Mirza, Hardeep Pandhal, Laure Prouvost and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye.