Criminal Ornamentation: Virtual Walkthrough

12 August 2019

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 DergesJoe Fletcher OrrLaura FordEdward Lipski, Alexander McQueen, Milena DragicevicLis RhodesBridget RileyYinka Shonibare CBECaragh Thuring and Bedwyr Williams.

Discover our latest touring exhibition, Criminal Ornamentation, with the virtual walkthrough of our Longside Gallery below. Explore these incredible works from your screen, zooming in on individual pieces far closer than you could in real life. Additionally, the walkthrough features introductions to a number of key works from Curator, Beth Hughes, and quotes by Adolf Loos throughout the 3-D space.




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.