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Eleven Curators in the Running for National Contemporary Craft Prize as Edmund de Waal is Confirmed as Judge

LONDON.- Independent art charity The Art Fund, and the Crafts Council, today announced the eleven curators short-listed to take part in Art Fund Collect, a nationwide initiative championing contemporary craft and increasing its presence in UK collections. Now in its third year, Art Fund Collect offers a fund of £75,000 for curators from UK institutions to select and acquire outright a unique work from COLLECT, the Craft Council’s international art fair for contemporary objects.

Ceramic artist Edmund de Waal has also been confirmed as the fifth judge on the panel that will decide who will win a share of the Art Fund Collect fund. His fellow panellists include Art Fund Director Stephen Deuchar, Ex Chairman of the Crafts Council and The Art Fund Sir Nicholas Goodison, Executive Director of the Crafts Council Rosy Greenlees and Art Fund Trustee Jonathan Marsden.

The short-listed museums and galleries for Art Fund Collect 2010 are:

1. Aberdeen Art Gallery
2. Royal Albert Memorial Museum , Exeter
3. The Shipley Art Gallery , Gateshead
4. Walker Art Gallery , Liverpool
5. Manchester Art Gallery
6. Whitworth Art Gallery , Manchester
7. mima, Middlesbrough
8. Ashmolean Museum , Oxford
9. Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery
10. Harris Museum , Preston
11. York Art Gallery

Art Fund Collect will take place on 13 May, at COLLECT. On the day, short-listed curators will be given special advance access to the fair, ahead of private buyers and VIP guests, enabling them to cherry-pick the very best works on offer.

Working against the clock, the curators will have just one hour to race around the fair, at London ’s Saatchi Gallery, and pick one item they wish to acquire for their institution’s public collection. The expert panel of judges will examine their choices and decide who will win a share of the £75,000 prize from The Art Fund. Winning curators will be able to buy their chosen piece outright on behalf of their museum or gallery.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of The Art Fund, said: “Ambition, originality and curatorial flair; these are qualities we were looking for in applications, and we are pleased to have found them in this year’s applications to Art Fund Collect. It’s wonderful to see several institutions on the list that have been previously short-listed or won, as well as five new names. Each has already drawn up an impressive ‘wish-list’ of artists whose work they hope to acquire, and we look forward keenly to seeing which ones will end up taking home a great new acquisition for their public collections.”

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director of the Crafts Council, said: “I am delighted to be part of the committee for Art Fund Collect, and to have selected eleven museums and galleries for such a strong shortlist. It is great to see such a range of organisations represented from across the country, and this year we were particularly impressed with the curatorial ambition and vision that came through so boldly in the applications. I am sure that there will be some extremely exciting works purchased for public museums and galleries at Collect this year.”

Edmund de Waal said: “The crafts are vigorous, challenging- and beautiful. The ways in which they are collected and curated has undergone a sea change and this initiative by The Art Fund has stimulated ambitious thinking about what contemporary work should be in our museums. I was overwhelmed by the care and quality of the applications.”

A total of 21 institutions applied to Art Fund Collect 2010.

Winners will be announced on the evening of 13 May at the private view of COLLECT. Decisions will be made based upon the ambition and expertise demonstrated by curators on the day through the work they select.

Last year, 23 curators applied, ten were short-listed and five walked away from Art Fund Collect with a beautiful piece to add to their permanent public collections, ranging from an elegant, one-off glass sculpture by Japanese maker Niyoko Ikuta for the V&A, to a highly intricate gold bracelet by Italian goldsmith Giovanni Corvaja for mima, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.

The Art Fund | Stephen Deuchar | National Contemporary Craft Prize | Nicholas Goodison | Rosy Greenlees | Jonathan Marsden |

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