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In 2016, Modern Art Oxford marks 50 years as an internationally acclaimed powerhouse of contemporary visual culture. Celebrating the role art plays in shaping our perception of the world, KALEIDOSCOPE offers a shifting prism on an illustrious history founded upon the vision of artists. Iconic works from the past return to the gallery from across the globe, as part of a dynamic year-long programme of displays, commissions, performances, talks and events including work by artists new to Modern Art Oxford.

Over 700 exhibitions have been presented at Modern Art Oxford since the gallery was founded 50 years ago. KALEIDOSCOPE does not aim to be a definitive history by any means. It offers a snapshot of some of the many highlights in our history and reflects on some of the key ideas in contemporary art over the past half a century.

Since the gallery was founded in the 1960s, a growing awareness of mankind’s impact on the environment moved rapidly from grass-roots activism to a global movement. Over the past 50 years, consumerism across the world has fuelled consumption on an unprecedented scale, threatening to deplete the earth’s resources and destroy the interdependent ecosystems and ecologies essential to sustain life. Inspired by Gustav Metzger’s observation that “every step in nature is a moment of grace”, this exhibition presents the work of artists who re-use and transform materials in their work in order to comment on commodity and consumption in both local and global contexts.

A Moment of Grace charts the ways in which artistic activism in the 1960s aimed to critique the art world as a way of commenting on ‘the establishment’, through to a new generation of artists working with the new materials and visual surfaces of the post-Internet age. The exhibition includes works by Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Kevin Beasley, John Latham, Jac Leirner, David Maljkovic, Gustav Metzger, Gareth Nyandoro, Yoko Ono, Open Music Archive and Guan Xiao.


A Moment of Grace turns around to Mystics and Rationalists between 23 May and 9 June. In KALEIDOSCOPE, one exhibition transitions into the next enabling visitors look behind the scenes and catch a glimpse of the gallery at work with artists and artworks.

Download the Exhibition Notes here: A Moment of Grace Exhibition Notes

Download the Activity Guide here: Activity Guide – Red