Richard Woods: NewBUILD

At the invitation of the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, Richard Woods employed his trademark block-printing approach to create a super-sized red brick graphic, which he used to envelope the exterior of the 14th-century Long Room at New College, Oxford. NewBUILD confused the College’s architectural heritage with a skin-deep makeover technique borrowed from primetime television.

Playing with the real and imagined tensions between old and new universities, the building entered into a new conceptual and stylistic dialogue with its immediate surroundings, poking fun at the implications of perceived social status. At the time, NewBUILD was the most ambitious installation ever attempted by the artist, and it remains his most significant outdoor work in this country.

The guide that accompanied the installation featured an essay by Gill Saunders, Senior Curator (Contemporary Collection) in the Word & Image Department at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Furthermore, the interest in and success of the project convinced the Ruskin School to produce a book that recorded not just NewBUILD, but all of the artist’s major works to date. The monograph was published in collaboration with Art Works in Wimbledon and Lund Humphries and featured contributions from the art historian and independent curator Marco Livingstone and the writer and novelist Gordon Burn.

Commissioned by the Ruskin School of Art in association with New College, Oxford and supported by funding from Arts Council England.