The V&A unveiled its creative vision for its new national museum complex in east London, the V&A East, alongside its first acquisitions, including a dress designed by Molly Goddard.
V&A East will include two twin sites currently under construction in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The V&A East Storehouse will open in 2024 and will offer a new immersive experience for visitors offering “unprecedented public access” to 5,000 years of creativity. On a short stroll through the park, the V&A East Museum, which will open in 2025, will celebrate global creativity and manufacturing.
Both venues are part of East Bank, the London Mayor’s £ 1.1 billion Olympic legacy project, which will create a new center for art, innovation and education in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from Stratford.
The V&A said its founding mission is to make the arts accessible to all and that its new location in the east will highlight global stories of creativity. He also adds that the V&A East will be more than just a museum or collection store, as it will be a creative campus and integrated social space within his local community.
Manufacturing will be a central theme at both venues, alongside a contemporary and engaging program, and V&A East will celebrate creative visionaries, radical pioneers and extraordinary creators of the past and present. A non-linear approach to storytelling will place historical objects alongside contemporary works, connecting different disciplines, geographies and time periods to spark conversations about the latest issues shaping society today.
V&A East will also be committed to creating opportunities for young people and nurturing the next generation of creatives, with a focus on advocating for under-represented movements and voices to present a wide range of perspectives. It will also collaborate with emerging and established artists and designers, supporting new work, the V&A collections acting as a creative catalyst, and the Storehouse and Museum as working studio spaces to promote new ideas.
Gus Casely-Hayford, Director of V&A East, said in a statement: “The V&A East will build on the V&A’s long-standing legacy in East London and its founding mission of making the arts accessible to all. We are shaping a new creative campus and social space, and by working closely with our local communities, we will showcase the cultural vibrancy, youth and creativity of East London.
“We want to amplify the role museums play as a platform of discovery, hope and conversation in our rapidly changing world, to help nurture the next generation of Alexander McQueens.”
V&A East acquires Molly Goddard dress and Jamie Hawkesworth photography series
To reflect the V&A East’s approach to collecting and storytelling, early acquisitions highlight the emphasis on supporting stories about global creativity and the motivations to create – whether as an expression. of self, creative experimentation or ways in which art, design and performance respond to cultural and environmental issues.
Early acquisitions include Hackney-based British fashion designer Molly Goddard’s hot pink ‘Daria’ dress from her Fall / Winter 2019 collection which was worn by Beyoncé on her 2020 album Black is King. The full-length dress is made from 61 yards of tulle fabric and was the largest dress ever made by Goddard at the time of creation. The dress is inspired by dolls dresses and is exaggerated in scale, celebrating the power of femininity.
This will be alongside ten photographic prints by British fashion photographer Jamie Hawkesworth from his 2011-2018 series, Preston Bus Station. The series consists of portraits of passengers passing through the Grade II listed brutalist 1960s station in Lancashire – which was threatened with demolition but later rescued, with Hawkesworth’s photographic series part of the local campaign. The V&A is the first UK institution to acquire Hawkesworth’s work.
Other acquisitions include a glazed ceramic frieze made up of 48 individual tiles, Aunt, Mum and I talking about my fabric collection (2016) created by London artist Mawuena Kattah, a visceral terra cotta vessel, Itari from the Anglo-Nigerian artist Ranti Bam and Portrait of American artist Kehinde Wiley in 2020 by Melissa Thompson, a resident of east London.
V&A Launches Youth-Focused Partnerships for East London
Tim Reeve, Deputy Director and COO of V&A, added: “We believe that V&A East, a cornerstone of the Mayor’s vision for a cultural and educational legacy in the Olympic Park, is one of the new most important museum projects in the world today. Despite the challenges of Covid-19, construction is well advanced at both V&A East sites, with the steel framing being assembled at the V&A East Museum and the formation of unique public spaces at the V&A East Storehouse.
“Together they will open up the national collections in a way never before possible, allowing us to reach new audiences in one of the most creative and culturally diverse regions of the UK. The catastrophic impact of Covid-19 only made this project more urgent, as a driver of cultural tourism, economic recovery, creative opportunities and as a major new creative resource for East London and the United Kingdom. “
The V&A also announced the V&A East Youth Collective Program, an ongoing 6-month paid opportunity for residents aged 16 to 25, who will play a key role in shaping strategic decisions in making V&A East programming. during opening hours, ticket prices and more.
Interdisciplinary design collective Resolve, which hosts creative workshops in the region, has been named V&A East’s first youth worker in residence to help shape future V&A East youth programming. Their work will end with a series of installations, designed and delivered to locations across the Olympic quarters in collaboration with young people.
Additionally, creative agency A Vibe Called Tech, whose work explores the intersection of black creativity, culture and innovation, joined the project as part of a Google-supported creative residency. Arts and Culture. They will collaborate with young people on a series of digital content experiences that will inform V&A East’s evolving creative agenda.