Briefing

UK Government Art Collection to be opened to the public after years in storage; Jay Sanders appointed executive director of Artists Space

L S Lowry, Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook, 1946, one of a number of works from the UK Government Art Collection included in 'Government Art Collection: At Work', 2011, Whitechapel Gallery, London. Courtesy: Whitechapel Gallery, London, the UK Go

L S Lowry, Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook, 1946, one of a number of works from the UK Government Art Collection included in 'Government Art Collection: At Work', 2011, Whitechapel Gallery, London. Courtesy: Whitechapel Gallery, London, the UK Go

L S Lowry, Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook, 1946, one of a number of works from the UK Government Art Collection included in 'Government Art Collection: At Work', 2011, Whitechapel Gallery, London. Courtesy: Whitechapel Gallery, London, the UK Government Art Collection © The Estate of L S Lowry

  • After years of pressure, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has announced that it will establish a public gallery in order to display the UK’s Government Art Collection (GAC), which boasts around 14,000 works, the majority of which are by British artists. As Martin Bailey reports for The Art Newspaper, the state-funded GAC has faced criticism for close to a decade over its decision to shield its collection from the public in a storage facility in central London. As recently as last year, the former Labour shadow secretary for culture, media and sport, Michael Dugher, said that only ‘a privileged few’ could see the works. The location and date of the gallery’s opening have yet to be confirmed.
     
  • Jay Sanders has been appointed executive director and chief curator of the New York non-profit Artists Space, succeeding Stefan Kalmár, who left New York to join London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in November of last year. Sanders, who assumes the role in April, has served as Curator and Curator of Performance at the Whitney Museum since 2012, and was director of New York’s Greene Naftali gallery from 2005–10. In a joint statement, David Joselit and Eleanor Cayre, the co-chairs of Artists Space’s executive search committee, commended Sanders’s energy, adding that he shares the ‘sense of adventure that Artists Space demands, combined with great depth of critical insight and a wide-ranging knowledge of contemporary art.’ Artists Space is expected to announce its new location within the coming few months, having lost its Greene Street location in May of last year.
     
  • New York-based arts organization Creative Time has appointed Elvira Dyangani Ose as senior curator. Ose, who will take up the new position in July, joins Creative Time from Goldsmiths, University of London, and the Thought Council, a curatorial group operating out of Fondazione Prada, Milan, having previously served as Curator of International Art at Tate Modern, London. In a statement, Ose said: ‘I’m honoured to be joining Creative Time. The quality and impact of the work that this organization has done over its history is politically and culturally challenging and very much in line with my current academic and curatorial interests.’ Ose will work closely with Nato Thompson, who has been promoted to the position of Artistic Director having been with the organization since 2007.
     
  • Suhanya Raffel, director of Hong Kong’s M+ Museum (scheduled to open in 2019), has vowed to protect the institution’s independence, after it emerged that the government had been secretly planning to establish a branch of Beijing’s Palace Museum in the West Kowloon Cultural District. The plan became public at the start of this year, shortly after Raffel joined M+ from the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Australia, and has drawn heavy criticism due to the government’s failure to consult the public. Talking to South China Morning Post, Raffel stressed that she wasn’t against the idea of a new museum being established, but was unsure of how M+ would be involved, adding: ‘Politics is not something that has stopped me for the last 30 years and I don’t intend for it to stop me this time.’
     
  • Several galleries may be forced to relocate from Midtown New York as speculation rises over the fate of a building on 20 West 57th Street that houses Washburn Gallery, Laurence Miller Gallery, and Peter Blum Gallery. The block, which was purchased by Solow Realty & Development in 2007 for USD$60m, could be demolished for redevelopment in 2018. Speaking to ArtNews, Lawrence Miller said: ‘No one knows what Solow’s up to. It’s hard to know why he never rented out this building. But, ultimately, this building and several others will come down, I would think.’ Joan Washburn, owner of the eponymous Washburn gallery, added that the block is one of many that have affected by the increased security presence around the nearby Trump Tower.

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