Major exhibition, films and conference to celebrate ‘The Home Of Metal’ in West Midlands

At long last Birmingham and the Black Country is set to celebrate its musical heritage as the ‘home’ of Heavy Metal rock music. A recently unveiled programme of events under the banner of Home of Metal is planned as a celebration of the music that was created in the West Midlands, its legacy and influence throughout the world.

Launching in June 2011, Home of Metal founders Capsule, present a series of ambitious exhibitions and associated cultural programme under the banner of Home of Metal, exploring the foundations, social context and heritage of heavy metal culture, which has gone on to be a global phenomenon.

Informed by personal collections and iconic material from the Home of Metal digital archive, and featuring an original solo exhibition from acclaimed contemporary artist Mark Titchner, as well as work by French artist and grindcore fanatic Damien Deroubaix and Napalm Death founder Nicholas Bullen, the exhibitions will take place throughout The Black Country and Birmingham this Summer.

Focusing on the Midlands-born innovators of the genre and those that continued to develop it , the five key bands who inform the exhibitions are Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Napalm Death and Godflesh.

“Judas Priest have always been proud to fly the flag for British Heavy Metal on our tours around the world. We make a point of letting everyone know that we are from the Black Country and so for us to be included in the prestigious Home of Metal event is another solid way of showing the strong connection we share with Birmingham and local fellow metal musicians throughout the region. There has and will be a tremendous interest and importance surrounding the innovative music coming from our part of the UK that has continued to inspire and influence countless musicians…. A big thank you to the Home of Heavy Metal and of course the fans who are the ones that make all this possible” – Judas Priest

Home of Metal – an exhibition exploring 40 years of Heavy Metal and its birthplace. This will be the core exhibition at the prestigious Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, taking over the largest UK temporary gallery space outside of London from 18 June-25 September. Informed by original band artefacts and materials from the Home of Metal digital archive, the show is the first metal exhibition of its kind, bringing together unseen memorabilia sourced directly from the fans themselves, and placing it alongside iconic items from metal such as Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules stage cross and handwritten Napalm Death lyrics. The show will also explore the ingredients that together made Heavy Metal, offering an insight into the region’s industrial history, the early blues-rocks sound, the changing music industry, DIY politics and the global impact of the heavy metal.

As part of the Home of Metal season, The New Art Gallery, Walsall will also be presenting a solo exhibition by internationally renowned artist and former Turner Prize nominee, Mark Titchner, BE TRUE TO YOUR OBLIVION. The exhibition will feature newly commissioned work such as Be Angry but don’t stop breathing (II), in which visitors are encouraged to engage in a group primal scream exercise which visualizes the vibratory nature of sound.  The sounds produced by the screams are processed and used to vibrate trays of ink attached to loudspeakers. Influenced heavily by metal music and the associated aesthetics, Titchner’s Turner-nominated Ergo, Ergot will also be on display, which references the iconic Vertigo logo.

Opening in July, Wolverhampton Art Gallery will present You Should be Living: The Visual Language of Heavy Metal, an exhibition which explores the relationship between heavy metal and artists inspired by the genre, using typography, vintage t-shirts, sculpture and sound to explore the varying aesthetic of Heavy Metal and its relationship to contemporary art.   Thirty years after the formation of Napalm Death, French artist and grindcore fanatic Damien Deroubaix and Napalm Death founder Nicholas Bullen will present their sculptural construction containing text and abstractions, referencing the work of both artists and the first Napalm Death album ‘Scum’.

Also opening in July, Walsall Leather Museum will be displaying stage costumes worn by local heroes of the Heavy Metal scene as part of their exhibition Hell Bent for Leather: Judas Priest and the Heavy Metal Look. This will be a rare opportunity to see costumes from the private collection of the band. There will also be Home of Metal exhibitions at The Public, Bilston Craft Gallery and Dudley Museum & Art Gallery.

Bringing people together to share their passion for heavy metal music, Home of Metal’s ambitions include the development of heritage tours and ultimately a permanent collection dedicated to telling the story of Metal and its unique birthplace for fans to visit in the future.

These exhibitions form part of the 2011 programme, which will also include a touring film programme, concerts, further exhibitions and a heavy metal conference, with further details yet to be announced.

The Home of Metal project is to hold a fourth and final Open Day at The Public on Saturday 26 March, offering one last chance for fans of all ages to share their memorabilia and stories with the digital archive and help to tell the true story of the birthplace of Heavy Metal.





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