First works of art bought in £5million charity scheme

  • 30 November 2008

The first major works of art bought through Art Fund International, the £5million collecting scheme from the UK's leading independent art charity The Art Fund, have been bought by a Scottish art gallery, The Art Fund announces today (Sunday 30 November).

Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art, one of five UK museums to win £1million each to develop an outstanding collection of international contemporary art, has bought 12 works by four cutting-edge artists from across the globe - all bought entirely with Art Fund International funding. The works by Matthew Buckingham, Emily Jacir and Peter Hujar will be the first by those artists to enter a public collection in the UK. One of the gallery’s key collecting aims is to buy works using documentary media such as photography and film, and the purchases reflect this; a special exhibition, Collected: Matthew Buckingham/Peter Hujar, will showcase eight of the new purchases by two of the artists at the Gallery from 11 December.

The acquisitions featured in this exhibition will include seven iconic photographic prints by influential American artist Peter Hujar (1934-1987). Best known for his striking image of New York transsexual AIDS victim Candy Darling on her deathbed, Hujar’s work influenced Robert Mapplethorpe, Diane Arbus and Nan Goldin. These gritty images  - Girl in My Hallway (1976), West Side Parking Lots, NYC (1976), Boy in Plastic Pants (1978), Chair, Canal Street Pier (1983), Hallway, Canal Street Pier (1983), Blanket (1985), David Lighting Up (1985) - expose the dark underbelly of 70s and 80s New York by night. The series cost £55,263.

The eighth new acquisition in the exhibition will be a moving video narrative – Everything I Need, 2007, by American artist Matthew Buckingham (b.1963).  The artist explores human rights and social justice issues, particularly in relation to sexuality; this work is based on the memoirs of Charlotte Wolff, an exiled German Jewish lesbian returning to post-Nazi Berlin in the 70s. The work cost £32,254.

Other works of art bought with Art Fund International funding include three video works by Emily Jacir (b.1970). Born in Saudi Arabia, the artist lives and works in Ramallah and New York, and her critically acclaimed work - for which she was awarded a Golden Lion award in Venice last year - highlights the incredibly restricted day-to-day lives of the Palestinian people. Crossing Surda (A Record of going to and from work), 2002, From Texas with Love, 2002, and Ramallah/New York , 2004, cost £35,576 and will be shown at the Gallery next year.

In addition to these, The Art Fund has bought for the Gallery a much sought-after  installation piece by German artist Lothar Baumgarten (b.1944). Unsettled Objects (1968-69) is a seminal early work by this influential German artist looking at how non-western art and artefacts are displayed in a Western museum (Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford). In this slide projection Baumgarten uses a combination of text and image which has informed the work of subsequent generations of artists. GoMA will be the only UK institution outside London to hold work by Baumgarten. Unsettled Objects cost £71,480.

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said:  “Thanks to Art Fund International, Glasgow’s Gallery of Modern Art can for the first time  start building a collection of international contemporary art that can bear comparison with those on show in other parts of Europe. These acquisitions are truly trailblazing, and we eagerly look forward to helping the other partners in the scheme make equally exciting purchases.”

Councillor Archie Graham, the Executive Member for Culture and Sport at Glasgow City Council, said: “These are outstanding acquisitions, which reflects our ambition to build on the city’s reputation as the home of the very best in modern art outside London.  We are extremely grateful to The Art Fund for their significant contribution, allowing us to purchase these significant works for the people of Glasgow.”

Katrina Brown, Director of The Common Guild, said: 'The first few acquisitions in this amazing scheme were always going to be of particular excitement to us and we are truly delighted to be bringing the work of such important, respected and influential artists to Glasgow on a permanent basis. These first works will already allow GOMA to show something of the context for the work of our home-grown contemporary artists and the city is truly indebted to The Art Fund for this extra-ordinary and much-needed possibility.'

The Gallery of Modern Art established a partnership with The Common Guild, a new Glasgow based visual arts charity for contemporary projects, exhibitions and events, to apply for the Art Fund International Award.   The partnership won for its aim of developing a collection that will give an international context to GoMA’s recent acquisitions of Scottish contemporary art by artists such as Simon Starling, Martin Boyce, Christine Borland, Douglas Gordon and Claire Barclay.

Art Fund International is one of the most important and ambitious schemes The Art Fund has ever launched. The scheme is funding the creation of collections of international contemporary art over five years, whilst encouraging a radical change in the scale and ambition of contemporary art collecting in the UK.

The five partnerships to win £1million each to build their collections are:
º Bristol Museums, Galleries and Archives in partnership with Arnolfini
º  Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow in partnership with The Common Guild
º  Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (mima) in partnership with
The Drawing Centre, New York
º  Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne in partnership with Photoworks, Brighton Photo Biennial and Artsway
º  West Midlands partnership: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and New Art Gallery Walsall in partnership with Ikon

Collected, showcasing the work of Peter Hujar and Matthew Buckingham, will open to the public on December 11 at the Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow.

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Notes to editors

About The Art Fund
The Art Fund is the UK’s leading independent art charity. It offers grants to help UK museums and galleries enrich their collections; campaigns on behalf of museums and their visitors; and promotes the enjoyment of art.  It is entirely funded from public donations and has 80,000 members.  Since 1903 the charity has helped museums and galleries all over the UK secure 860,000 works of art for their collections.  Recent achievements include:  helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland in February 2008 with a grant of £1million; putting together a unique funding package to ensure Dumfries House in Ayrshire and its contents were secured intact for the nation in July 2007; and running the ‘Buy a Brushstroke’ public appeal which raised over £550,000 to keep Turner’s Blue Rigi watercolour in the UK.  For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit www.artfund.org