Ben Uri Research Unit (BURU)'Refugees' by Josef Herman (1911-2000), c.1941
This painting by Josef Herman was painted in 1941, recognising his family’s plight as refugees before learning they perished in the Holocaust. BURU is the Ben Uri Research Unit for the study of the Jewish and Immigrant contribution to visual art in Britain since 1900.
BURU incorporates the Museum's Collection, Exhibitions, Publications, Archive, Library, and the physical and digital dissemination of all programming.
BURU is charged with creating and maintaining ongoing the country’s first digital resource that comprehensively records the Jewish and immigrant communities contribution to the visual arts in Britain since 1900.
Ben Uri Arts and Health Institute (BUAH)'Untitled' by Kurt Schwitters (1887-1948), 1927.
This collage by Kurt Schwitters from 1927 is an excellent example of an art work that encompasses many characteristics and components which offer diverse opportunities for older people to engage in.
BUAH is charged with identifying, through research and evaluation, why and what are the elements of an art work that trigger the most engagement and responses from those who live in social isolation and/or with dementia.
Once established, our mission is to disseminate through a set of tool kits and training films. BUAH is also developing its university placement service for art therapy students into a national programme.
Ben Uri Gallery and Museum was founded in 1915, in Whitechapel's Jewish ghetto in the East End of London, by émigré Russian artist Lazar Berson, who previously exhibited with Chagall in Paris. Effectively closed after losing its space in 1996, the gallery and museum has been based in St. John's Wood since 2002, following the election of a new Board in October 2000. A new strategic direction was built around scholarship and expanding the remit from solely Jewish artists by incorporating the wider, diverse immigrant artist experience in Britain since 1900. In the past twenty years Ben Uri has curated some 100 distinctive exhibitions, toured to some 25 different locations worldwide and written and published some 40 scholarly catalogues and monographs which are distributed nationally and internationally. The majority of exhibitions were curated around Ben Uri Collection works and supplemented by loans from other distinguished museums across the country. The museum uniquely specialises in the work, lives, and contributions of Jewish and immigrant artists to Britain since 1900.
The Ben Uri collections span over 120 years and is composed of some 440 artists from 44 countries, of which 60% are émigrés and 29% are women. We have defined the 1500 strong collections into three categories: 99 Pre-eminent which are protected in perpetuity within a separate legal trust; some 740 works as Core and the residual, non-accessioned, 650 as Reference. Since 2002, the commitment to building the Collection within carefully crafted and qualitative criteria has led to world-class additions by artists Frank Auerbach, David Bomberg, Marc Chagall, Jacob Epstein, Mark Gertler, George Grosz, Josef Herman, Peter Howson, Emmanuel Levy, Max Liebermann, Kurt Schwitters, Chaïm Soutine and Alfred Wolmark. None of these acquisitions would have been possible without the greatly appreciated financial support of Art Fund, National Lottery Heritage Fund, ACE/V&A Purchase Grant Fund and like-minded philanthropists.
Ben Uri surpasses ethnic, cultural and religious obstacles to engagement within the arts sector, addresses contemporary and historical issues of identity and migration, and celebrates, researches and records the rich Jewish and immigrant experience in the visual arts since 1900.
Ben Uri aims to connect with the largest audiences from different communities and countries. Presenting and sharing art differently, we have encouraged people to explore their own and their community's identity and creativity. We engage and deliver this outcome through three distinctive and fully interlinked divisions.