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Eight Museums and Galleries Win Share of £75,000 to Buy New Objects at COLLECT
Art Fund Collect is a scheme aimed at boosting contemporary craft in UK collections.

LONDON.- On Thursday 5 May, curators from eight museums and galleries won a share of £75,000 to buy a unique object for their public collections. They were all shortlisted for Art Fund Collect, a unique initiative run by the Art Fund and Crafts Council.

Art Fund Collect is a scheme aimed at boosting contemporary craft in UK collections. It takes place annually on the preview day of COLLECT, the Crafts Council’s international art fair for contemporary objects. The fair is held at London’s Saatchi Gallery from 6 – 9 May.

Curators from the eight museums and galleries had special access to the fair, ahead of VIP and private buyers. They had just one hour to pick an object they wished to purchase, before presenting their selection to a panel of judges.

The winners:

Fiona Slattery and Martin Ellis, Curators of Applied Arts at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery selected Yukiai (Encounters), 2011 by young Japanese maker Naoki Takeyama, represented by the Yufuku Gallery. Takeyama specialises in the ancient technique of enamelling. This crinkling vessel-shaped form is made from a single sheet of copper, which is then folded before layers of enamel are painted on. The piece is black with yellow flecks on the exterior, with a vivid turquoise interior. It cost £7,950.

Rachel Conroy, Assistant Curator at National Museum Wales - Amgueddfa Cymru picked Homura I (Inferno), 2011 by Japanese maker Takahiro Yede, also at the Yufuku Gallery and worth £7,150. This organic, sculptural piece is made from nickel-silver and bronze strips, painstakingly intertwined and hammered into place. Yede created this work spontaneously. Because it resembles the licking of flames, he chose the title Inferno after the making process.

Penny Sexton, Curator & Holly Morgenroth, Assistant Curator of Natural History at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Exeter. They picked Secret Life of Plants, 2010 by Danish maker Steffen Dam at Joanna Bird Pottery, costing £8,820. The delicate, hand-blown objects encased within this glass panel are inspired by half-decayed bulbs and funghi.

Polly Putnam, Assistant Curator of Decorative Arts at Leeds Museums & Galleries chose Amalthea, 2011 by Cumbria-based British maker Michael Eden. This pair of digitally created, spiralling works is made from a high quality nylon material with unique mineral soft coating. The cornucopia shape of the piece is inspired by the wealth of knowledge available on the World Wide Web.

James Beighton, Curator and Vicky Sturrs, Education Officer at mima Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art selected Brooch, 2010 by Italian goldsmith Stefano Marchetti, costing £5,300. Trained at the famous Padua school, Marchetti is known as a ‘radical goldsmith’ because of his cutting-edge approach. This playful piece represents a human tongue and is constructed to move as the wearer does. Inspired by the tradition of holy reliquary, this work relates in particular to St Anthony of Padua.

Francesca Vanke, Curator of Decorative Arts and Dr Andrew Moore Keeper of Art and Senior Curator at Norwich Castle Museum & Art Gallery chose a pair of vases, Kangaroo and Emu Lost in Chintz, 2010 by Australian ceramicist Robin Best. These works are inspired by traditional, Oriental ceramic work as well as modern Western design, and the painting technique was developed at the renowned Meissen porcelain centre in Germany. Costing £8,800, the pair was purchased at Clare Beck at Adrian Sassoon.

Pamela Wood, Keeper of Decorative Arts at Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery selected Brooch, 2010 by Italian jeweller Giovanni Corvaja. Like Stefano Marchetti, Corvaja was also trained at the celebrated Padua school of goldsmithing. This astral, meditative piece is made from gold and platinum gossamer and platinum wire. The gossamer is as fine as human hair and is scattered with drops of coloured enamel. Another piece by Corvaja was won at Art Fund Collect in 2009 – Bracelet, 2009 was selected by James Beighton at mima.

Alison Cooper, Assistant Keeper of Art at Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery won Hakutai (A Thousand Years), 2011, another enamelling work by Naoki Takeyama at the Yufuku Gallery. This object differs from Birmingham’s win with its asymmetric shape, cobalt blue colour and finishing touch of hand-painted flecks of silver leaf. This piece cost £6,000.

Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “We’re delighted that all eight museums and galleries have chosen wonderful pieces this year. It’s always a really exciting day, and a unique opportunity for curators from across the country to come together. We were so impressed by the curators’ presentations and the vision and ambition they demonstrated. We hope their pieces will be enjoyed by the public for years to come.”

Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director of the Crafts Council, said: “Congratulations to the eight galleries and museums that were successful this year. As usual the proposals from the shortlisted curators were of high quality and very well considered. We are sure these exceptional objects will be a great asset for their institutions and enjoyed by their visitors.”

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