Post-diploma work from Chelsea, Manchester & Birmingham Schools of Art

5–19 Feb 1970 Free

The Serpentine Gallery’s first exhibition in 1970 showed sculpture and paintings from Post-Diploma students from Chelsea, Birmingham and Manchester Schools of Art.

The Serpentine Gallery, which had previously been the old Kensington Tea House, opened its doors on 1 May 1970. The gallery was originally conceived as a place to show the work of emerging artists, particularly from the UK and its regions. The first exhibition to open at the Serpentine Gallery supported this vision for new art by showing sculpture and paintings from post-diploma students from Chelsea, Birmingham, and Manchester Schools of Art.

While the Serpentine’s first show reflected new talent, it was agreed that the gallery should be an exhibition space that went further than just showcasing student and recent graduate work, and would also present artists who had not previously exhibited in London.

In the first few years of the gallery, exhibitions began to include work from further afield, however a firm focus on British and previously un-exhibited work reflected the Serpentine’s role as a destination where audiences can discover a broad spectrum of contemporary practice.

One of the young artists to feature in the exhibition was David Nash, who was studying at Chelsea at the time. He presented the work Chelsea Tower 3 outside the gallery. Fellow Chelsea students Geoff Catlow and Timothy Cresswell also featured in the show.

The Serpentine Galleries’ archives for this show are incomplete, so if you have documentation or information relating to the exhibition, please do contact us.


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