The Art Fund Backs the First UK Tour of ARTIST ROOMS

  • 22 January 2009

The tour of ARTIST ROOMS, a unique scheme to bring one of the largest and most imaginative acquisitions of post-war and contemporary art to audiences across Britain, from Bill Viola in Stromness to Joseph Beuys in Bexhill on Sea, is launched today.

Throughout 2009, 18 museums and galleries across the UK will be showing over 30 ARTIST ROOMS from the collection created by the dealer and collector, Anthony d’Offay, and acquired by the nation in February 2008. This is the first time a national collection has been shared and shown simultaneously across the UK, and has only been made possible through the exceptional generosity of independent charity The Art Fund and, in Scotland, of The Scottish Government.

The 2009 ARTIST ROOMS On Tour with The Art Fund supported by The Scottish Government will include works by Diane Arbus, Joseph Beuys, Vija Celmins, Ian Hamilton Finlay, Ellen Gallagher, Gilbert & George, Johan Grimonprez, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Alex Katz, Anselm Kiefer, Jeff Koons, Jannis Kounellis, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long, Robert Mapplethorpe, Agnes Martin, Ron Mueck, Bruce Nauman, Gerhard Richter, Ed Ruscha, Robert Therrien, Bill Viola, Andy Warhol, Lawrence Weiner, and Francesca Woodman.

Anthony d’Offay’s guiding principle for the creation of ARTIST ROOMS was the concept of individual rooms devoted to particular artists. ARTIST ROOMS on Tour with The Art Fund supported by The Scottish Government has been devised to take those displays beyond the collection’s owners, Tate and National Galleries of Scotland, and to reach and inspire new audiences across the country, particularly of young people.

The Art Fund is giving £250,000 per year to help Tate and National Galleries of Scotland to work with 13 regional partners in 2009 and more thereafter. In 2009 ARTIST ROOMS will be shown at Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh; Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate Modern and Tate St Ives; Wolverhampton Art Gallery; Tramway, Glasgow; Inverness Museum and Art Gallery; Ulster Museum, National Museums Northern Ireland, Belfast; National Museum Cardiff; Pier Arts Centre, Stromness, Orkney; Aberdeen Art Gallery; De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill; New Art Gallery, Walsall; mima Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art; Graves Gallery, Museums Sheffield; The Lightbox, Woking; and firstsite, Colchester.

ARTIST ROOMS is jointly owned and managed by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate on behalf of the nation. It has materially strengthened Tate’s ability to represent some of the most important art of the latter half of the twentieth century, and helps establish Scotland as a world-class destination for contemporary art.

John Leighton, Director-General of the National Galleries of Scotland, said: "ARTIST ROOMS provides wonderful opportunities for audiences throughout Scotland and the rest of the UK to experience a diverse range of top-quality modern and contemporary art. We are delighted by the scope of this year’s programme and we look forward to working with our partners across the country on this ambitious and innovative project."

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: "The presence of contemporary art across the UK will be dramatically transformed by the ARTIST ROOMS tour. This new form of dynamic national collection is without precedent anywhere in the world. We are extremely grateful to The Art Fund and the Scottish Government for the significant financial commitments that have enabled us to realise this ambitious project."

Anthony d’Offay said: "It is wonderful to see ARTIST ROOMS coming to museums and galleries across the United Kingdom and am delighted that the works in the collection will be used in this way. I am deeply grateful to all the artists and institutions who have participated in the idea of ARTIST ROOMS with such creative energy and generosity."

David Barrie, Director of The Art Fund, said: "The Art Fund's core purpose is to give people all over the UK the chance to encounter great works of art. For more than a century, we've done this mainly by giving money to help museums and galleries buy works of art. But we can do other things, and although it is a new departure, our funding of this ambitious tour of exhibitions is perfectly in line with our mission. Having helped last year with the acquisition of ARTIST ROOMS, we are now proud to be making real Anthony d'Offay's generous vision."

Linda Fabiani, Scottish Government Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture said: "ARTIST ROOMS is an imaginative and powerful collection that will truly ‘open the doors’ to contemporary art for people in towns and cities across Scotland and the UK. The economic benefits linked to these exhibitions will be very welcome particularly as we look to maximise tourism revenue through Scotland’s Year of Homecoming. The Scottish Government is providing the National Galleries of Scotland with £175,000 per annum towards the costs of touring Artist Rooms across Scotland, benefiting museums and galleries in 2009 from Orkney to Edinburgh."

Barbara Follett, Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism said: "One of the best things about Anthony d’Offay's gift is that it is not just about London. Nor even just about London and Edinburgh – but about the country as a whole. This highlights the responsibility that we – the Government, the national museums, artists and donors – have to make world-class art accessible to audiences nation wide. There is no point in talking about universal cultural entitlement if people cannot take this up because they do not live in, or near, a capital city."

For more information on Anthony d'Offay, the artists and tour dates, click here.

Notes to editors:

The Art Fund will provide ARTIST ROOMS On Tour with The Art Fund £250,000 plus VAT in 2009 and 2010 with the 2011 allocation to be confirmed by 31 July 2010.

The collection of 725 works, representing one of the most important holdings of post-war and contemporary international art in private hands, was assembled by Anthony d’Offay, whose London galleries played a key role in the promotion and understanding of twentieth-century art in the UK over a period of more than 30 years.

The acquisition for the national collection was made under a part gift/part sale at cost agreement. The cost of the collection to Anthony d’Offay was some £26.5 million, and he asked for and received £26.5 million, i.e. the original costs of these works. The collection was valued in 2008 at £125 million. The costs of the acquisition, which included the purchase of the artworks and set up and accessioning was £28 million. These costs were met by £10 million each from both the Scottish and British Governments, £7 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, and £1 million from The Art Fund. All taxes were paid in full.

The agreement also includes a provision for the establishment of a £5 million endowment fund by the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate, the interest from which will be used for the acquisition of further rooms by important contemporary artists, ensuring that the collection can continue to grow in the future. An initial contribution of £500,000 each from the National Galleries of Scotland and Tate has been made towards the £5 million endowment fund. The endowment has been increased significantly by a major grant of £500,000 from The Henry Moore Foundation, one of the largest gifts made in its thirty-one year history.

Richard Calvocoressi, Director of The Henry Moore Foundation, comments: "I cannot think of a more effective way of realising one of the principal aims of the Foundation – which is to promote public appreciation of art – than helping ARTIST ROOMS expand and develop in new directions. The unique feature of this exciting project is that world-class contemporary art will be seen by hundreds of thousands of people, not only in London and Edinburgh but throughout the UK."

The museums have asked Anthony d’Offay, to serve as an unpaid ex officio curator for a period of 5 years, and he has agreed.

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 funded from public donations and has 80,000 members. Since 1903 the charity has helped secure 860,000 works of art for museums and galleries across the UK. In addition to helping secure Anthony d’Offay’s collection, ARTIST ROOMS, for Tate and National Galleries of Scotland (NGS), last year it also helped save Rubens’ sketch for the ceiling at Banqueting House, Whitehall, for Tate and pledged £1m to help NGS acquire Titian’s Diana and Actaeon with The National Gallery. For more information contact the Press Office on 020 7225 4888 or visit . The Art Fund is a Registered Charity No. 209174

Press Enquiries:

Patricia Convery, National Galleries of Scotland
Tel: 0131 624 6325

Helen Beeckmans, Head of Press, Tate
Tel: 020 7887 4940

Erica Bolton, Bolton & Quinn
Tel: 020 7221 5000 (5 lines)

Madeleine Burbidge, Interim Head of Press, The Art Fund

Tel: 0207 225 4820