The Baltic Centre - A Superb International Exhibition Centre - A Major Venue For Contemporary Art.
Gateshead - AUG 12, 2011
Housed in a landmark industrial building on the south bank of the River Tyne in Gateshead, UK, the Baltic Centre is a major international centre for contemporary art.

The Baltic itself has no permanent collection, providing instead an ever-changing calendar of exhibitions and events that give a unique and compelling insight into contemporary artistic practice. Baltic’s dynamic, diverse and international program ranges from blockbuster exhibitions to innovative new work and projects created by artists working within the local community. The Baltic was founded with funding from The National Lottery through Arts Council England, Gateshead Council, Northern Rock Foundation, the European Regional Development Fund and One NorthEast, and receives continued support from Arts Council England and Gateshead Council. The notion of Baltic began in 1991 when Northern Arts (now Arts Council England North East) announced its ambition to achieve ‘major new capital facilities for the Contemporary Visual Arts in Central Tyneside’. 

The inaugural exhibition, ‘B.OPEN’, featured work by Chris Burden, Carsten Holler, Julian Opie, Jaume Plensa and Jane & Louise Wilson, and attracted over 45,000 visitors in the first week. Since then the Baltic has presented over 40 exhibitions and welcomed more than 3 million visitors. As well as contemporary art exhibitions, the Baltic also offers a range of spaces for hire, and can accommodate a wide range of events, from meetings and workshops to banquets and conferences. Since opening in July 2002 the Baltic has hosted a range of high profile events including The Channel 4 Stirling Prize 2002, Audi Young Designer of the Year Competition Final 2002-2005, University of Northumbria final year fashion show 2003, BBC Question Time and Prime Minister’s Newsnight. Even though BALTIC opened to the public in July 2002, the first exhibition which was seen on the site of the building was “Tarantantara” by Anish Kapoor in 1999. “Tarantantara” formed part of ‘B4B’, the Baltic’s pre-opening series of exhibitions and events.

A site-specific installation by Anish Kapoor, “Tarantanrara” was commissioned specially for the site before the construction of the new building began. Over 50m long and 25m wide, the work filled the shell of the Baltic Flour Mills and was in-situ for eight weeks and seen by over 16,000 people. In 2011 the Baltic is to be the venue for the Turner Prize, this would be the first time the event has been held outside of a London or Liverpool Tate in its 25 years, a major exhibition from 21 October 2011 to 8 January 2012 will coincide with the final stages of the competition and the winning artist will be announced at a celebratory event at BALTIC in December 2011.


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