From Douglas Gordon to Damien Hirst, the National Gallery of Modern Art is showing off its recent purchases.
Words: Helen Monaghan
t's the week before curtain up and most things are
still packed in boxes. In my sneak preview of the
National Gallery of Modern Art's recent acquisitions show. the curator Alice Dewey takes me on a quick tour of what‘s in store. Works by Ian Hamilton Finlay and Rachel Whiteread are propped up against the wall. Kerry Stewart's small baby in a car seat has been abandoned in the corridor.
In the Damien Hirst room. the newly acquired (the end of June to be precise) ‘spin painting‘ is ready to be hung. while his cabinet piece Love Will Tear us Apart is still enveloped in bubble wrap.
Every room houses familiar examples of British contemporary art. Christine Borland‘s Spirt Collection: Hippocrates. in mid installation. sparkles in the space as the light captures the glass vessels. The vinyl strips that make up Jim a9 Lambie‘s psychedelic ZOBOP floors are ready to be peeled off and adhered to the ﬂoor. Douglas Gordon‘s ongoing List of Names, people‘s names laid out in columns like a war memorial. are waiting to be pasted onto the wall.
New is the gallery's festival exhibition which showcases its most recent and important acquisitions of contemporary British art. From paintings and installation to sculpture and artist’s books. increased funding and generous donations have enabled the gallery to purchase some impressive works by established and up-and coming artists. Paintings by Victoria Morton. Graeme Todd. Julie Roberts and Jonathan Owen enter the collection for the first time. while more senior figures such as Howard Hodgkin. Lucien Freud and Alan Davie prove you don't have to be young to be contemporary.
‘When you talk about contemporary art. there‘s a
‘We wanted to Show Like many galleries. the artists of all
es are making brilliant
Spirit Collection: Hippocrates, 1999 by Christine Borland
common assumption that it's by young artists. but we wanted to show that artists of all ages are making new. brilliant work.’ says the show’s curator Alice Dewey. The new purchases are welcome additions to an approximately 5()()()-strong collection of modern art. It
may. however. surprise some people that List of
Names is its first work by the Glasgow artist Douglas Gordon. Financial constraints have meant. of course. that the gallery can‘t have everything it wants or. as director Timothy Clifford put it. 'our aspirations inevitably outstrip our means'.
You also have to take into account that the permanent collection spans the period from 1890 to present day. collecting work by international and Scottish artists. There are bound to be gaps. but it would appear that the gallery is making amends and plans to keep on collecting contemporary art.
‘I hope people will enjoy what we have been able to buy as it represents collecting contemporary art over a decade.‘ says Dewey. ‘lt is also equally important to say that this is not a definitive statement about British art from the last ten years.‘
collection relies on funding and donations. receiving money from the Scottish Executive. charitable trusts and grant-giving bodies. The generous donation of lain Paul. a keen collector of Scottish art. has facilitated the purchase of works by Scottish artists from a fund he established following his death. Visitors to the gallery have also assisted in purchasing works by Yinka Shonibarc. Jonathan Owen. Howard Hodgkin and Christine Borland through their contributions in the donations box in the entrance hall.
Because of the enormity of the collection. the recent purchases will be shown only on a rotating basis after the exhibition ends. Take the opportunity now to view what looks set to be an impressive slice of British contemporary art.
New: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art is at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Sat 6 Jul-Sun 17 Nov.
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PassingTime: a new internet project by Dane
THE QUEEN’S HALL IN Edinburgh is looking for contemporary artists to show two dimensional work at the venue. Send your details and slides/photos to Jacquie Ewens at the Queen’s Hall, Clerk Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9J6. Phone 0131 668 3456 or email jacquie@queenshall edinburgh.org
BALTIC. THE MAJOR NEW international centre fo" COnte'npomry art situate t in Gateshead in the north of England. opens its doors to the public on Saturday 13 July. Hetised in a disused 1950s f'lo-..r inill. the llG‘.‘.’|y ll't’lltSl()""‘(3(l building opens with a". .inpressii. e programme of exhibitions IllClUCll"g Chris Burden. Julian Opie. Jane and l ouse \". .SOlT. Carsten Holler Jamie l’lensa an: Chad McCaii.
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