“Heavy Metal was born in the West Midlands and has developed a global following matched only by hip-hop. It’s time to stop sneering and celebrate this proud cultural heritage.” The New Statesman on Home of Metal (2007)
After an eight-year hiatus, Home of Metal will once again shine a light on the global phenomenon of Heavy Metal with a series of blockbuster exhibitions devoted to the music that was born in and around Birmingham. Music that turned up the volume, down-tuned the guitars, and introduced a whole new meaning to the word ‘heavy’.
From May to September 2019, exhibitions at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, The New Art Gallery Walsall, MAC (Midlands Art Centre) Eastside Projects, and Centrala, will join the dots between music, social history, visual art and fan cultures to produce a new perspective on metal. One that is celebratory, eschews notions of high/low culture, and joins audiences and performers together.
The flagship exhibition, Home of Metal: Black Sabbath – 50 Years, at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery from 22 June until 29 September, will capture Black Sabbath from the perspective of their fans, to show the impact and cultural legacy of the band as pioneers of Heavy Metal, and to celebrate this unique, significant part of British music heritage. This show is being delivered in partnership with Birmingham Museums Trust.
Memorabilia, collections and personal stories will demonstrate the extraordinary scale and diversity of Black Sabbath’s international fan-base together with a vast photography collection of over 3,000 portraits of fans from across the globe.
Further pieces will also include iconic artifacts and treasured personal items on loan from the band members themselves, who comment:
“It’s an honour to be a part of the Home of Metal. I am just a guy from Birmingham who’s been blessed to have had such dedicated fans throughout my career. Like I’ve always said ‘I am nothing without them’.” Ozzy Osbourne
“Fans are our lifeblood, they’ve always been there to support us.” Tony Iommi
“I’ve always maintained that Sabbath fans are the most loyal and honest and most independently minded of all. I thank each and everyone of them for their incredible support over the years.” Geezer Butler
“You’re a Sabbath fan, and everything about you is beautiful and worthwhile. I’m so grateful to have played for you, and met you in the heart and soul of each song. Stay safe, be good to yourselves, and rock forever and ever.” Bill Ward
Home of Metal is conceived and produced by Capsule, under the leadership of its founder and artistic director, Lisa Meyer. In collaboration with Capsule, Morag Myerscough and Luke Morgan, one of the UK’s most acclaimed designers, will design Home of Metal: Black Sabbath – 50 Years for the Gas Hall in Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, the largest exhibition space in a museum or gallery, outside of London.
Tickets will be released in mid-March and can be pre-registered at www.homeofmetal.com
Home of Metal will present four further exhibitions in partnership with organisations in and around Birmingham with works from artists: Alan Kane (UK), Ben Venom (US), Monster Chetwynd (UK), and Przemek Branas (Poland), that will demonstrate Heavy Metal’s reach into all corners of culture through explorations of fantasy, chaos, performance and fandom.
Alan Kane: 4 Bed Detached Home of Metal at The New Art Gallery Walsall, from 22 June to 1 September 2019, will see Alan Kane bringing together personal collections from metal fans, plus works from leading UK artists, in an ambitiously collaborative exhibition that will be set across the extensive Floor 3 Galleries.
The show will be housed within a domestic setting, complete with ‘Metal Lounge’ filled with works by Jeremy Deller, Una Hamilton Helle, Des Hughes, Jim Lambie, Sarah Lucas, Jessica Mallock, Mike Nelson, Simon Periton, Mark Titchner, Cathy Ward, Charlie Woolley and, of course, Alan Kane himself. Additionally, metal fans’ bedrooms will be recreated, replete with associated fandom paraphernalia, plus a kitchen and a TV room showing films.
In a nod to the spirit of Walsall’s The People’s Show (1990) and to Alan Kane and Jeremy Deller’s Folk Archive (2005), exhibitions which demonstrated the pleasure of ‘ordinary’ people’s collecting habits, with objects such as tea towels and mugs, Alan Kane: 4 Bedroom Detached Home of Metal will similarly be a celebration of passion, humour and creativity.
Artist and craft-maker Ben Venom will present the lead summer exhibition All This Mayhem at MAC (Midlands Art Centre) from 15 June to 8 September with a show using traditional quilting and Heavy Metal aesthetics. Working with repurposed materials to create textile- based pieces, Ben contrasts the often menacing and aggressive counterculture components of gangs, punk/metal music, and the occult with the comforts of domesticity. This collision of traditional quilting techniques with elements tied to the fringes of society re-envisions the story of the material through a softer lens. The salvaged fabrics Ben Venom uses often contain a multitude of personal stories, be they unexplained stains or rips, which form part of a larger narrative and collective history within his work. Ben Venom has shown nationally and internationally and was recently artist-in-residence at San Francisco’s de Young Museum. This will be his first solo UK exhibition.
Monster Chetwynd: Hell Mouth 3 opens at Eastside Projects from 18 May to 27 July. Chetwynd’s fascination with Penelope Spheeri’s three-part film series The Decline of Western Civilisation, from 1981 to 1998, featuring many of the ‘most influential and innovative musicians and groups of all time’, has informed many of her works over the past decade and will take centre stage in this large-scale sculptural and performative spectacle set in the industrial space of Eastside Projects in the heart of Birmingham.
Monster Chetwynd Spartacus Chetwynd Marvin Gaye Chetwynd is a British artist, based in Glasgow, known for re-workings of iconic moments from cultural history in elaborate, compulsive and evocative performances. Chetwynd’s practice intertwines performance, sculpture, painting, installation and video, incorporating elements of folk plays, street spectacles, and popular culture.
Centrala, from 22 June until 11 August will present two exhibitions and a programme of talks and events by the award winning and acclaimed Polish conceptual artist Przemek Branas, who will create a new installation and performance in response to the themes of Home of Metal. An archival and research based exhibition will feature materials, such as letters, cassette tapes and zines, collected by Polish fans and received by them from the West, at a time Polish music scene was under state control. The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication.