Government Art Collection: At Work
3 June – 4 September 2011
Works of art that are normally displayed in embassies and government buildings worldwide have been brought together in the Whitechapel Gallery in London.
It is the first time that works from the Government Art Collection have been put on display in a public gallery.The exhibits have been selected by high-profile political and diplomatic figures, including Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, former Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, the Prime Minister's wife Samantha Cameron, MI6 Chief Sir John Sawers and Lord Boateng " former Government Minister and British High Commissioner to South Africa.The Government Art Collection exists to promote British art and artists worldwide and has amassed more than 13,500 works since becoming an official entity in 1899. This is the first in a series of five displays at the gallery to explore diverse aspects of the collection.Artists represented in this first exhibition include LS Lowry, Derek Boshier, Zarina Bhimji, Edward Burra, Tracey Emin, Elizabeth Frink, Jim Lambie, Michael Landy, Bridget Riley and Walter Sickert.Following the end of its run at the Whitechapel Gallery, the exhibition will tour Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and Ulster Museum in late 2012 and 2013.
Frederick V, King of Bohemia (1596-1632) and Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia (1596-1662), 'The Winter Queen', a pair of portraits by Gerrit von Honthorst, have been on display at the British Embassy, Prague, since 1952. The pair was selected by Dame Anne Pringle, the British Ambassador to Moscow.Much has been made in the press of the fact that Samantha Cameron appears to like LS Lowry, with the Telegraph suggesting that the artist was an overly safe choice, and the Guardian highlighting a perceived ideological incongruity. She chose Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook, which was recently housed at 10 Downing Street.The thumbnail that links to this story is Peas are the New Beans by Bob and Roberta Smith, chosen by Lord Boateng.