Joseph Mallord William Turner, Fisherman at Sea exhibited 1796,
Oil paint on canvas. 914 x 1222 mm. © Tate, London 2017
Contemporary Exhibitions

JMW Turner and contemporary art practice

JMW Turner, Christopher Le Brun, Cornelia Parker, Gerry Fox, Idris Khan, Susan Hiller, Bob and Roberta Smith, John Smith, Elizabeth Magill, Dorothy Cross, Jonathan Wright.

The New Art Gallery Walsall is delighted to present a major exhibition considering the legacy of JMW Turner through the lens of contemporary art, highlighting the ongoing relevance of his work for artists practising today.



A master of history, landscape and marine painting, Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) challenged accepted conventions in art, often shocking his contemporaries with his techniques and candid portrayal of the modern world. Tate is home to the largest collection of works by Turner in the world and almost all of his works accepted by the nation as part of the 1856 Turner Bequest. Legacies will present a selection of oil paintings, sketchbooks and watercolours from the Turner Bequest, alongside work by contemporary artists who have made work after Turner or evoke Turnerian subjects and themes in their work. Considered together, these works provide an interesting context in which to consider the impact of England’s most celebrated painters on the course of British art.


The exhibition includes Turner’s first exhibited oil, Fisherman at Sea, 1796, along with two 200-year diagrams, which the artist created to illustrate his lectures as Professor of Perspective at the Royal Academy. Legacies also provides a rare opportunity to see Cornelia Parker’s Room for Margins, 1998, an installation comprising six canvas liners and five sets of canvas tacking edges, removed by conservators in the 1950s and 1960s from paintings by Turner in Tate’s collection. Re-purposed by Parker, the damaged liners and edges are revealed as precious objects of beauty in their own right. Tow newly commissioned works by Dorothy Cross and Jonathan Wright also spotlight aspects of Turner’s life and work, specifically his extensive travels and relentless recording of social change.


Legacies is presented as part of a three-year partnership with Tate involving major loans from the Tate collection to exhibitions at The New Art Gallery Walsall.


To coincide with the exhibition, Jonathan Wright has produced two limited edition prints inspired by Turner, Star and Empire – Tower, each in edition of 25 and available from the Gallery Shop priced £150.


Related events:

Closing event: In Conversation with Gerry Fox

Saturday 13 January 2018


Free, drop-in

A talk by the BAFTA award-winning filmmaker focusing on the video works he has made paying homage to great works by Turner.


Closing event: In Conversation with Jonathan Wright

Saturday 13 January 2018


Free, drop-in

Commissioned artist, Jonathan Wright will introduce his sculptural installation and drawings made in response to Turner’s life and work.