Henry MEYRIC HUGHES
Henry Meyric Hughes is independent curator and writer on art.
He is Honorary President of AICA, Paris (President from 2002-8) and Special Adviser and Coordinator for Council of Europe exhibitions. He was a founding Board member of Manifesta and first President of the International Foundation Manifesta, Amsterdam, from 1993 to 2007.
He worked for The British Council in West Berlin (1968-71), Lima (1971-73), Paris (1973-1977) and Milan (1970-84). From 1977-79 he was assistant director of the Visual Arts Department and curator of the British Council Collection. With Tom Phillips, he co-curated the British contribution to the São Paulo Bienal, in 1979. From 1984-86, he was Director, Visiting Arts, London, with responsibility for arranging exhibitions and performing arts events from abroad. From 1986-92 he was Director of Visual Arts, with additional overall responsibility for the British Council Collection. Exhibitions incl. J.M.W. Turner (Japan), Henry Moore (New Delhi; St. Petersburg, Moscow); Lucien Freud (Germany, France, USA), Anthony Caro (Italy), Howard Hodgkin (France), Francis Bacon (Moscow), Aspects of British Art Today (tour in Japan), Contemporary British Sculpture (Spain). He was Deputy Commissioner (1979-86) and Commissioner (1986-9) for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, incl. Frank Auerbach, Tony Cragg, Anish Kapoor, Richard Hamilton and British Architects Today (Foster, Grimshaw, Hopkins, Outram, Rogers Stirling). He was Commissioner for the São Paulo Bienal from 1986-92 (Keith Arnatt, Michael Farthing,Richard Hamilton, Richard Wilson) and selected Damien Hirst for the 1992 Istanbul Biennale. During this period, he also co-curated The Vigorous Imagination (Scottish Contemporary Art), National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, 1986; Europe Unknown (Krakow, 1991) and Kunst Europa (touring exhibition, Germany, 1991).
From 1992 to 1996 he was Director of the Hayward Gallery and National Touring Exhibitions, London, with shared overall responsibility for the Arts Council Collection. Exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery incl. The Spirit of Romanticism in German Art (Edinburgh, London and Munich, 1993-4), Salvador Dalí: The Early Years, Bonnard at Le Bosquet (awarded the National Art Collections Prize). Yves Klein, Julian Opie, The Epic and the Everyday: Contemporary Photographic Art and Unbound: Possibilities of Painting. Exhibitions under National Touring incl. The British Art Show 4, 2005-6 (with Christine Borland, Mat Collishaw, Tacita Dean, Deal Floyer, Douglas Gordon, Damien Hirst, Gary Hume, Steve McQueen, Chris Ofili, Sam Taylor-Wood, Mark Wallinger, Gillian Wearing, Jane and Louise Wilson, etc.). In 1995-6 he was the Commissioner of the XXIII Council of Europe’s exhibition, Art and Power. Europe under the Dictators, 1930-45 (London, Berlin and Barcelona).
Subsequent curatorial and co-curatorial activities include:
Private Face/Urban Space: A New Generation of Artists from Britain, in Athens and Rethymnon, 1997-98 (incl. Angela Bulloch, Willie Doherty, Tracey Emin, Anya Gallaccio, Douglas Gordon, Mona Hatoum, Georgina Starr, Keith Tyson, Catherine Yass)
From Where to Here: Art from London, in Göteborg, 2000 (incl. Sonia Boyce, Juan Cruz, Lucia Nogueira, João Penalva, Vong Phaophanit, Zineb Sedira, Yinka Shonibare, Simon Tegala)
The Age of Modernism. Art in the 20th Century (Berlin, 1999)
Major project, Who’s Afraid of Black-Red-Gold: German Art from Dürer to the Present (Weimar City of Culture, 1999)
Survey exhibition, Blast to Freeze: British Art in the Twentieth Century in Wolfsburg and Toulouse (2002-3)
Cypriot Pavilion (Nicos Charalambidis) at 2003 Venice Biennale
Plus que réel (young French artists), Paris (2003)
grense_los/bound_less (contemporary art in Norway), Oslo and tour (2005-6)
Prague Triennale (Pavel Büchler) (2008)
XXX Council of Europe exhibition: Veführung Freiheit/Kunst in Europa. Kunst seit 1945 — The Desire for Freedom/Critique and Crisis: Art in Europe 1949 to the Present (Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin, KUMU, Tallinn; Palazzo Reale Milan, 2011-13, and with variations in Krakow, Thessaloniki, Prague, Sarajevo, Zagreb … 2013-2015)
He has been a regular contributor to the Times Higher Educational Supplement and a Contributing Editor of Tema Celeste, as well as an occasional contributor to The Burlington Magazine, Critique d’art and other periodic publications.
He has served on the juries of numerous Biennales, including those of Cetinje, the Caribbean, Dakar and Gwangju, and prizes, such as the Turner Prize, London (Tony Cragg), the Manchester Art Prize, the Botho-Graef-Preis, Jena and the Premio Furla, Venice/Bologna. He helped found the AICA Prize for Young Critics and the John Moores Critics Awards (Shanghai ad Liverpool).
He was tutor on a course for young curators from Central and Eastern Europe at the Gallery of Modern Art, Belgrade, 2002. In 2003, he was the President of the jury for the Diploma examinations at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts (ENSBA), Paris. From 2010-2013 he was external examiner for the MA Course in Curating at the Royal College of Arts, London. He has co-organised international seminars for The International Association of Art Critics in Paris, Addis Ababa, Cape Town. He has p presided over AICA’s Annual International Congress in Martinique, Dakar, Paris, Taipei, Dublin and Valencia/Barcelona. He will co-organise an international conference on The European Idea in Art and Art History in Berlin, in October 2012.
He has acted as an adviser to UNESCO and the Council of Europe was a member of the CoE’s Group of Consultants for Exhibitions. He is currently Board member of the Archives de la critique d’art and Advisory Board member of the journal Critique d’Art, in Rennes; DOX Centre for Contemporary Art, Prague; the Institute of International Visual Arts (INIVA), London; Matt’s Gallery, London; Arnolfini, Bristol; and Chair of the Organising Committee for the UK-China John Moores Critics’ Award, 2012. He has been on the Advisory Boards of museums and Kunsthallen incl. Bologna, Budapest, Göteborg, Porto Alegre, Rennes and Vienna.
He was decorated by the Czechoslovak Government in 1986; appointed Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government in 1997; and awarded the Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz) by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, in 2002.