The Arts Council Collection, run by Southbank Centre, is one of the largest national loan collections of modern and contemporary British art. With over 7,500 works, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the UK and abroad.
This week, the new acquisitions to the collection for 2013-2014 are announced, with 26 works spanning video, sculpture, paintings, screen prints, photographs and installations from artists including Charles Avery, Ed Atkins, Pablo Bronstein, Roger Hiorns, Georgia Hayes, Dan Hays and Raphael Hefti, among others.
The Arts Council Collection supports artists in the UK through the purchase and display of their work. Operating as a museum without walls, it is the largest loan collection in the UK and the most widely circulated. The collection is home to many examples of work from prominent British artists including Francis Bacon, Tracey Emin, Lucian Freud, Antony Gormley, Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Anish Kapoor, Henry Moore, Bridget Riley and Wolfgang Tillmans. The Arts Council Collection is also unique in its approach of public lending to schools, hospitals, universities and charitable organisations as well as galleries and museums. Overall 426,658 people saw works from the collection across the UK last year.
The Arts Council Collection is based in London and also at Longside, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield. Acquisitions each year are made through a committee of six individuals. The internal members of the Acquisitions Committee are Jill Constantine (Acting Head of the Arts Council Collection), with Ralph Rugoff (Director, Hayward Gallery), Natalie Rudd (Curator, Arts Council Collection) and Peter Heslip (Director, Visual Arts, Arts Council England). The external advisers to the Acquisitions Committee, usually an artist, a writer, and a curator, are appointed for a fixed two-year tenure, and make recommendations to purchase innovative works of art that reflect artistic practice in Britain at the time. The external advisers to the Acquisitions Committee for 2013-15 are: Alex Farquharson, Director, Nottingham Contemporary; Martin Herbert, Associate Editor, Art Review; and Elizabeth Price, Artist.
Key works acquired for 2013-2014 include:
· Ed Atkins - Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths, 2013
Ed Atkins Warm, Warm, Warm Spring Mouths is a follow-up to his pilot project, Material Witness (or A Liquid Cop). Here, Atkins shifty, protean protagonist is not so much undercover as in too deep his identity hidden; his body immersed and submerged.
· Roger Hiorns - Untitled, 2013
This limited edition was produced to coincide with the installation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park of Roger Hiorns SEIZURE, 2008/13. It was the first edition ever produced by the artist, and was cast from the panel of copper sulphate crystals that was cut out to produce an access hatch into the artwork when it was first fabricated in London in 2008. Voided of colour, the pure white panel can be seen to make oblique reference to early twentieth-century British modernist works
· Raphael Hefti - From the Series Subtraction as Addition, 2013
Raphael Heftis work focuses upon photography and sculpture, the former often having resulted from experiments in the latter. In the series Lycopodium, colour photograms resembling both fireworks and spores under a microscope are generated by burning spores of the moss plant Lycopodium to expose photographic paper. The series Subtraction as Addition features double-glazed and colourful units of glass intended to be displayed propped against a wall, across a corner or in front of a window.
· Georgia Hayes - Saved by Drowning (Sicilian Fountain 2), 2013, and Birdcatcher, 2012
Georgia Hayes paints subjects that have a visual or emotional impact, drawing inspiration from friends, animals and objects in museums. Her new paintings have drawn on a mix of past and recent histories, including those of Western, Middle Eastern and Ancient Egyptian cultures. The paint, colour and form dictate how the work evolves, and Hayes aims to paint with a freedom and fluidity that allows for the unpredictable, causing the viewer to revisit the familiar with renewed interest.
· Pablo Bronstein - Museum Section with Artwork, 2013 and Trojan Horse, 2005
Pablo Bronstein approaches his interest in architecture through a wide range of media from drawing, sculpture and installation to performance. One of his key interests is how architecture has the ability to intervene in personal identity and inform our movements, behaviours, and social customs. Museum Section with Artwork was commissioned for the Hayward touring exhibition Curiosity: Art and the Pleasures of Knowing, and encapsulates the many spectacular and bizarre objects within the exhibition, in an imaginary building. Trojan Horse is a video work that was produced for Pablo Bronsteins postgraduate diploma show at Goldsmiths College, London.
For a full list of acquisitions visit - http://www.artscouncilcollection.org.uk/
Jill Constantine, Acting Director, Arts Council Collection, said, The Arts Council Collection, managed by Southbank Centre on behalf of Arts Council England, continues to support artists across the country by early and timely acquisition of their work. This year we have also been able to buy some exceptional work by regionally based artists and Im delighted that the breadth of practice across the country is represented in the Arts Council Collection.
Peter Heslip, Director, Visual Arts, Arts Council England, said, Through the acquisition of new work by artists at different moments in their career, the Arts Council Collection continues its long standing commitment to supporting living artists. It exemplifies Arts Council Englands mission of Great art and culture for everyone and that the many benefits art brings should also be enjoyed by all our communities. At a time when regional galleries are under huge financial pressure, this remarkable loan collection without its own dedicated space is increasingly in demand.
Arts Council Collection exhibitions currently on tour include Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences and Uncommon Ground: Land Art in Britain, 1966-1979. The programme brought intriguing combinations of contemporary art, historical artefacts and masterpieces to enthusiastic audiences in all corners of the UK. Two other exceptional acquisitions were made last year which were Grayson Perry's The Vanity of Small Differences and also Seizure, 2008/2013 by Roger Hiorns, which is now on display at Yorkshire Sculpture Park for the next ten years.