PMSA National Recording Project - South Yorkshire

Barnsley Metropolitan Borough

We are carrying out research on the pieces on these pages.
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ArtistMaker: Johnson; Michael
TitleOfWork: ‘The Collection’
DescriptionOfPhoto: Detail: showing top of sculpture
DateOfCreation: 2001
Dimensions: Height: 310; Diameter: 50
Medium: Stainless steel and bronze
Location: Outside the new entrance to The Cooper Art Gallery. (SE434407)
AtoZReference: p.13 5G
Postcode: S70 2AH
Street: Church Street
TownOrVillage: Barnsley
AreaInTown: Town Centre
MetropolitanBorough: Barnsley
Photographer: Dave Ball
ImageCopyright: Sheffield Hallam University
AccessionNumber: b029c
Description: It is composed of four upright bars of steel welded to a circular cap and base. Contained within this tall thin cage are 10 bronze casts the contents of the gallery; each cast being enclosed within a band of stainless steel. The piece is floodlit from inside its base.
A plaque on the low wall behind the sculpture gives details of the commission.

The upright steel poles of the sculpture have one straight edge and one patterned one; they also have holes cut through them inspired by the gilt decoration on picture frames inside the gallery. The bronze casts they contain are of items that can all be found within the paintings inside the Cooper Gallery. Some are immediately obvious, others are hidden and more difficult to find. Gallery visitors are invited to locate these objects, which include a tambourine and also a sandbag from a WW1 drawing by Wyndham Lewis.
Johnson was quite specific on why he chose these objects: "I've chosen works that I like and which I think I would like to have in my own home. This to me is the spirit of being a collector. … I have been drawn to works that I feel show the hand of the artist as well as the eye." [1]

Dimensions: The column is 310 cm high with a 50 cm diameter circular base. It is located on top of a rounded plug of bronze; this is 60 cm high and the same diameter as the rest.

Commission: Commissioned on behalf of Cooper Gallery Trustees by Barnsley MBC Cultural Services. This was part of a programme of refurbishment, which began in April 2000 and which included improved access to the building and a new café. It was funded through the Cooper Trustees, Yorkshire Forward's Single Regeneration Programme and the Arts Council's of England's National Lottery. [2]
The artist was chosen in early December 2000. The timetable was tight: design to be complete by February 2001 and installation by the end of March 2001. It was unveiled in May, 2001 when the Gallery re-opened.

Comment: This piece is similar to some other recent work by Johnson, notably 'The Heeley Sidings' in Sheffield and work in Saltburn, N. Yorkshire.

References: [1] Artist's Statement available from the Cooper Art Gallery
[2] Commission Brief, Barnsley MBC, 2000

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Last updated July 18, 2005