Artwork by John Martin part of huge exhibition

A painting by Haydon Bridge artist John Martin has become part of the vast Art Everywhere exhibition on billboard sites across the UK

The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by artist John Martin
The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by artist John Martin

A painting by a Northumberland artist has been chosen by popular acclaim to be part of a vast exhibition which went on show yesterday on thousands of poster and billboard sites across the UK.

With over 30,000 Facebook likes, people have helped to create the world’s largest art show and it includes The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah by artist John Martin, who was born in Haydon Bridge in 1789.

The painting, which he completed in 1852, is part of the collection at the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle.

A projected audience of 90% of the UK’s adult population is predicted to see works from the Art Everywhere exhibition instead of advertising until August 25.

Cities, towns and villages of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will see poster sites ranging from billboards to bus stops transformed into artworks across high streets, major roads, train and metro stations, supermarkets, shopping malls, office buildings, cinemas, health clubs and bars.

Each poster will be interactive, enabling people to point their phones at the art to instantaneously access information about each piece.

John Martin specialised in dramatic Biblical and apocalyptic scenes.

Julie Milne, chief curator at the Laing Art Gallery, said: “It will be such a thrill to see an image of John Martin’s painting on display in high-profile advertising sites including bus stops and billboards.

“I hope that this exhibition helps to make many more people aware of his work and of the other fantastic art which will be on show.”

The project is supported by many leading artists including Damien Hirst, who said: “Art is for everyone, and everyone who has access to it will benefit from it.

“This project is amazing and gives the public a voice and an opportunity to choose what they want to see on their streets“

Art Everywhere is a collaborative project between Richard Reed, co-founder of Innocent Drinks, the Art Fund, Tate, and the poster industry. Working with Posterscope and Vizeum, the poster industry has donated tens of thousands of sites.

Richard said: “This is a joyful project with no agenda other than to flood our streets with art and celebrate the creative talents and legacy of the UK.”

Sir Nicholas Serota, Tate director, said: “Tate is delighted to have partnered with Art Everywhere to reach audiences across the UK with much-loved art from public collections. It is a huge achievement made possible by the generosity of the poster advertising industry and the enthusiasm of Richard Reed.

“This ambitious project has given everyone the chance to take part in a national celebration of British art.”

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund, said: “Art Everywhere is putting beautiful images of the best of British art directly on to the streets of towns and cities across the nation. It’s a celebration of national creative talent – our artists across the centuries and the hundreds of museums and galleries who show their work to the public.”

Top 10 works: 1. The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, 2. Ophelia by John Everett Millais, 3. Head V1 by Francis Bacon, 4. Gassed by John Singer Sargent, 5. Man’s Head (Self Portrait I) by Lucian Freud, 6. The Fighting Temeraire by JMW Turner, 7. Five Ships – Mount’s Bay by Alfred Wallis, 8. Going to the Match by L.S. Lowry, 9. Nocturne: Blue and Gold – Battersea Bridge by James Whistler, 10. Cold Dark Matter by Cornelia Parker.

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