Major moving image works acquired through Art Fund's scheme

Work by Isaac Julien and Omer Fast are purchased by leading museums through the Moving Image Fund for Museums.

Isaac Julien’s acclaimed Ten Thousand Waves and Omer Fast’s 5,000 Feet is the Best are the first works to be acquired through Art Fund’s scheme the Moving Image Fund for Museums.

Jointly acquired by the Whitworth in Manchester and Towner in Eastbourne, Ten Thousand Waves (2010) is a film inspired by the cockle-pickers tragedy in Morecambe Bay in 2004. It is the first time that a film by Isaac Julien has been acquired for a public collection in the UK outside of London.

Isaac Julien, artist, said: ‘I am deeply honoured that Ten Thousand Waves is the first work to be acquired by this important initiative of the Moving Image Art Fund… The work has been collected by museums and collections [the] world over and its acquisition in England, and even more significantly outside of London, shows the dedication that the Art Fund has towards the conservation of moving image works and their democratisation to wider audiences.’

The two galleries are the first recipients of the Moving Image Fund for Museums, which the Art Fund launched last September to ensure that major artist’s film and video works are acquired for public collections, which can be expensive to produce and complex to display.

In addition, Omer Fast’s 5,000 Feet is the Best (2011) was jointly acquired by the Towner (though the moving-image initiative) and IWM (through the Art Fund’s New Collecting Awards scheme). It is a 30-minute film that weaves together a former drone operator’s account of his life and work along with scenes depicting crimes in and around Las Vegas.

Omer Fast, artist, said: ‘I am very pleased that 5,000 Feet is the Best will now be represented in UK public collections and cannot think of more appropriate homes than Towner and the Imperial War Museum. The work was previously presented at the IWM and it's a wonderful opportunity to reach a broader audience than it typically enjoys in art gallery contexts.’

This investment in major acquisitions for collections outside the capital comes at a time when there is widespread concern about the impact that the local authority settlements will have on 94% of UK museums. The initiative, supported by a consortium of benefactors, is giving £180,000 each to the Whitworth and Towner to collect artists’ film and video.

Stephen Deuchar, director of the Art Fund said: ‘These are hugely important works, and now they are in public collections around the country they can be experienced by everyone. Given the pressure regional museums are under right now, it is imperative that we do all we can to help them continue investing in building up the national collections. Our heartfelt thanks to Thomas Dane Gallery and all our supporters for making this new initiative happen.’

The Moving Image Fund was created by the Art Fund in partnership with the Thomas Dane Gallery, and is generously supported in addition by the Ampersand Foundation, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman, Gerry Fox, David and Rose Heyman, Pierre Lagrange, Rebecca Marks, the Outset Young Production Fund, the Rothschild Foundation and Sfumato Foundation.

Further acquisitions and plans for displays of the films will be announced later this year.

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