Criminal Ornamentation: Yinka Shonibare MBE curates the Arts Council Collection

Yinka Shonibare (now CBE) curates the Arts Council Collection in a new touring exhibition that opens at Attenborough Arts Centre, Leicester, 21 September-16 December 2018, then tours throughout the UK.

Criminal Ornamentation explores the cultural and social dimensions of the use of pattern in art. The exhibition title refers to Adolf Loos' 'Ornament and Crime' (1908) a strongly worded essay in which Loos ridiculed the use of ornament as an indication of poor taste and the lowest level of cultural development. As a counterblast to Loos’ bombastic text, Yinka Shonibare CBE presents an explosion of pattern and colour bringing together works from across the visual arts including an acidic wallpaper by Glasgow-based designers, Timorous Beasties, the sculptural torso of Tattoo, a subversive work by Edward Lipski and the flowing vegetation of Honeysuckle, a design by May Morris.

Unified by pattern, the exhibition is a personal selection by Yinka Shonibare CBE from the Arts Council Collection’s rich and varied holdings supplemented by key loans from the V&A, Crafts Council, William Morris Society and individual artists based across the UK.  Threading through the patterned surfaces are many challenging themes - from politics and colonialism to gender stereotypes and inequality. Criminal Ornamentation is an exploration of pattern as a genuine expression that breaks away from traditional conceptions of art and seeks to celebrate the radical deviancy of pattern.

Artists featured in the show include Timorous Beasties, Boyle Family, Susan Derges, Joe Fletcher Orr, Laura Ford, Edward Lipski, Alexander McQueen, Milena Dragicevic, Lis Rhodes, Bridget Riley, Yinka Shonibare CBE, Caragh Thuring and Bedwyr Williams.





For Full Screen Viewing
Click class="iframe-video" Here

Explore this Exhibition

Exhibition Catalogue

The exhibition is accompanied by a new publication featuring texts from writer and art historian Michelle Kuo and author of The Subversive Stitch, Pennina Barnett, as well as an introduction from Yinka Shonibare.
Artist Interview: Yinka Shonibare

Artist Yinka Shonibare, discusses the impact of Arts Council Collection acquisition at an early stage in his career and the relevance of 'The Crowning' to contemporary politics.
Criminal Ornamentation Education Pack

A specially devised resource for teachers to use in the gallery or classroom, aimed at stimulating discussion around key themes of the exhibition and the works on display.

More Touring Exhibitions

Night in The Museum

A major new touring exhibition curated by the leading British artist Ryan Gander, offering a unique view of the Arts Council Collection in its seventieth anniversary year.
On Paper

Rather than the often overlooked support for drawings, paper is the subject at the heart of this new Arts Council Collection Touring Exhibition, which features work by James Richards, Prunella Clough and John Stezaker.
Kaleidoscope: Colour and Sequence in 1960s British Art

Kaleidoscope examines 1960s visual art through a fresh and surprising lens, bringing into view the relationship between colour and form, rationality and irrationality, order and waywardness.

The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.