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New Exhibition Celebrating Awkwardness at the MAC

On 20 October 2017, the MAC opens a major exhibition entitled Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness, curated by artist John Walter. Shonky is the fourth in Hayward Touring’s series of Curatorial Open exhibitions.

A work by artist Justin Favela titled Floor Nachos - colourful - large paper nachos placed on the floor

For Shonky, Hayward Touring have worked in partnership with the MAC, Belfast, DCA, Dundee and Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre to choose and develop the proposal, in a scheme that places collaboration at its heart, whilst aiming to nurture diverse curatorial talent and to expand the parameters of the contemporary curatorial landscape.


The exhibition aims to explore the nature of visual awkwardness through the work of artists and architects Arakawa and Gins; Cosima von Bonin; Niki de Saint Phalle; Benedict Drew; Justin Favela; Duggie Fields; Louise Fishman; Friedensreich Hundertwasser; Kate Lepper; Andrew Logan; Plastique Fantastique; Jacolby Satterwhite; Tim Spooner and John Walter.

Hugh Mulholland, Senior Curator at the MAC commented: “The Hayward Touring Curatorial Open, continues to play a critical role in developing relationships not only between curators and selected artists, but between each of the touring venues. It has been a great pleasure to get to know John Walter and the team at Hayward Touring over this past year and to be introduced to new artists; some whose profile is growing and others who are rightly being repositioned in the public consciousness. Our involvement in this exhibition has also forged new links with colleagues at DCA and Bury Art Museum & Sculpture Centre. We are delighted to be the first venue on the tour and are confident that our visitors will be enthralled by the Shonky aesthetic.”

Curator John Walter said: “I’ve been using the word shonky for years, and whilst writing my doctoral thesis I realised that there was a critical value in the word. Understanding shonkiness helps to unlock a whole array of visual and cultural issues that may not otherwise be considered. It has been a privilege to have the time, resources and support of Hayward Touring as well as the stages of the touring venues and the catalogue to bring my vision of shonky into the world and give it a home.”


Shonky: The Aesthetics of Awkwardness opened Friday 20 October and runs until 14 January 2018 in the MAC’s Tall and Upper Galleries. The exhibition is open daily from 10am-7pm and admission is free.