Exhibition | Dear Christine | Contemporary Art at Vane | Newcastle Upon Tyne | Art Week

Dear Christine

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Exhibition Type:

How many artists: 
21
Date: 
Saturday, 1 June 2019 to Saturday, 29 June 2019
Opening: 
Friday, 31 May 2019 -
5:00pm to 8:00pm

‘Dear Christine’ aims to reclaim and reframe Christine Keeler (1942-2017), a woman castigated for her role in a notorious political scandal in the 1960s. Aged 19, she was catapulted into the limelight when her affair with John Profumo, the Secretary of State for War, was revealed. The ‘Profumo Affair’ was a watershed moment in British cultural and political history that brought down the government of the time. Keeler was shamed in the tabloid press and suffered its full wrath as the dawn of the sexual revolution approached. Keeler, it could be argued, inadvertently challenged the prevailing morality and the hypocrisy of the establishment. As a woman behaving in a sexually free way, she pushed boundaries ahead of her time.

Keeler lived with the consequences of her notoriety for the rest of her life, saddled with the label of ‘prostitute’. As she said: “It’s been a misery for me, living with Christine Keeler”. Under constant scrutiny from the press, she became a recluse. In the later years of her life the tabloid press continued to hunt Keeler, featuring exposé shots focusing on her appearance as an older woman.

Exhibition curator Fionn Wilson says: “Christine Keeler is a significant figure in British history yet there is little recent artistic reference to her. I wanted to add to the visual record of her life, which represents themes still relevant to this day, including class, power and the politics of sex. The participating artists are women who offer their own perspective on a narrative that has mostly been led by men.”

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+44(0) 191 261 8281
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The preview on Friday 31 May, 5-8pm, will include the first performance of the commissioned piece of music, Dear Christine, written for Christine Keeler by award-winning composer Katie Chatburn.

‘Dear Christine’ is presented as part of the Festival of Women, produced by the Women of Tyneside project,a two-year community project at Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums (TWAM), funded by Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, which celebrates women and girls across Tyneside and works to identify and explore contemporary social issues relating to women and gender equality.

Contributors include: David Astbury, James Birch, Julie Burchill, Sarah Caulfield, Katie Chatburn, Amanda Coe, Tanya Gold, Tara Hanks, Charlotte Innes, Charlotte Metcalf, Bo Gorzelak Pedersen and Seymour Platt.

Venue ( Name ):

Venue ( Address ): 

First Floor, Commercial Union House, 39 Pilgrim Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 6QE UK

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