Medals of Dishonour


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Medals are best known for celebrating important figures or heroic deeds. By contrast, this unique exhibition features medals that condemn their subjects and exposes the long and rich tradition of this darker side of medals.

The first part of the exhibition focuses on the Museum's collection of satirical and political medals from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Subjects range from the sombre and the bizarre to the scatological and the humorous, and the medals are placed in context through the use of prints and drawings of the times.

The second part of the exhibition features medals commissioned from leading contemporary artists Jake and Dinos Chapman, William Kentridge, Grayson Perry, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Richard Hamilton, Mona Hatoum, Ellen Gallagher, Langlands and Bell, Cornelia Parker, Michael Landy, Yun-Fei Ji, Steve Bell and Felicity Powell. The subjects they depict are wide-ranging, from the recent war in Iraq and consumerism to ASBOs and the environment.

This exhibition was on display at the British Museum from 25 June to 27 September 2009.
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