MK Gallery set to reopen in March

MK Gallery set to reopen in March
MK Gallery's Gallery 4 under construction in May 2018. Courtesy Flickr Commons.
Must see  -   Exhibitions

The newly revamped MK Gallery will celebrate its first year back in the art scene with some exciting exhibitions.


MK Gallery facade circa 2012. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.


Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance,’ a major retrospective of Portuguese artist Paula Rego will bookmark the newly revamped MK Gallery in Milton Keynes as second in a series of exhibitions to celebrate the gallery’s reopening. Rego’s retrospective will also be the first of its kind in the UK in over 10 years.

‘Dog Woman’, Paula Rego, 1994. Courtesy Flickr Commons.

Boasting previously unseen works, the retrospective will also include works on paper from the artist’s friends and family that highlight her female perspective on urgent social issues and current affairs. This includes topics like the 1997 referendum in Portugal to legalize abortion and the 2003 Iraqi invasion led by the US. Her works live within the ‘anger and compassion of which we have sore need’ according to Germaine Greer. This sentiment resonates in works like Rego’s Dog Woman (1994), The First Mass in Brazil (1993), and Joseph’s Dream (1990), which are expected to be on show during the exhibition.

After the retrospective’s stint between June and September, it will make its way to Edinburgh’s Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (November 23rd,, 2019-April 26th, 2020) and then the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin (May 25th, 2020-November 1st, 2020).

Extensions for MK Gallery under construction in December 2018. Courtesy Flickr Commons.

MK Galleries, which opened in 1999, is in the process of an overhaul design by 6a architects working alongside artists Gareth Jones and Nils Norman. The gallery is expected to reopen this spring on March 16th. The expansion of the gallery has doubled its space for exhibitions while also mimicking the landscape around it. The revamped gallery will host contemporary and historical, cinematic works, music, performances, workshops, and family events to put a ‘clear emphasis on community engagement, and democratic access to the best of the arts.’ The gallery was built as part of the Milton Keynes landscape, one of England’s biggest ‘New Towns’ developed only 30 years ago. In its 20th year, the gallery’s new and improved space will utilize polished stainless-steel to reflect the city’s original grid and literally reflect the landscape around it.

‘Whistlejacket’, George Stubbs, 1762. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Gallery director Anthony Spira and Milton Keynes Council leader Councillor Peter Marland expect the facelift to continue the gallery’s positive impact on the area. ‘We passionately believe that investment in culture is investment in the future health and well-being of our citizens and will help us to build the reputation and success of our city. We are looking forward with excitement to the opening next spring,’ said Marland.

In addition to the Paula Rego retrospective, three other exhibitions will narrate the gallery’s reopening. Starting with ‘The Lie of the Land,’ running between March and May, MK galleries will explore the way in which leisure activities have changed alongside British landscape. After ‘Obedience and Defiance,’ more than 50 paintings and 40 prints and drawings by George Stubbs will exhibit in ‘George Stubbs: “all done from nature”’ between October 2019 and January 2020. The inaugural year of the gallery’s revamp will wrap up between February and May of 2020 with ‘MK Calling,’ which will highlight new talent from an open call to artists working in various art forms with connections the Milton Keynes.