Joe Orton exhibition to open in London

Steve Orme

A new exhibition inspired by the life and work of Leicester-born playwright Joe Orton will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), London on Sunday 5 February.

The exhibition, What the Artist Saw: Art Inspired by the Life and Work of Joe Orton, has been curated by Dr Emma Parker from the University of Leicester School of Arts and Michael Petry, director of MOCA.

In a short but prolific career, Orton amused audiences with his scandalous black comedies. His plays include Entertaining Mr Sloane, Loot and What the Butler Saw. He was murdered by his lover Kenneth Halliwell in 1967.

The exhibition, which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the death of Joe Orton and celebrates LGBT history month, features three artists: painter David Lock who was Joe Orton’s nephew, sculptor Louise Plant and performance artist Tim Youd.

Orton’s sister Leonie will open the exhibition and the VIP guest list includes actors Dudley Sutton and Kenneth Cranham who knew Orton personally.

The exhibition will run until Saturday 4 March and will transfer to the New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester from 24 July until 22 October. It will also complement the exhibition Crimes of Passion: The Story of Joe Orton at the National Justice Museum, Nottingham from 22 July until 1 October.

Dr Parker said, “this exhibition recognises for the first time the cross-fertilisation of literature and art in Orton’s creative practice, celebrates his artistic impact and legacy and presents new responses to Orton’s life and work through visual art.”