Today, Minister Catherine Martin announces that 422 artworks by 70 artists will be added to the National Collection thanks to the €1m fund provided to the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) and the Crawford Art Gallery in October 2020.
The Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media has been working with the National Cultural Institutions through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to develop meaningful ways to support artists across the country at this challenging time. In October 2020, Minister Martin committed €1m from her department to IMMA and the Crawford Art Gallery to fund the purchase of artworks by artists living and/or working in Ireland. The investment enabled the two institutions charged with collecting contemporary art to work collaboratively to support artists by buying existing artworks, bringing much needed financial resources to the sector.
IMMA and the Crawford Art Gallery have been working tirelessly to realise this progressive goal for the National Collection and today, the Minister announces the list of works which have been acquired. The body of 422 artworks by 70 artists from across the country has been selected through a rigorous process by both institutions to ensure strategic and thoughtful acquisitions for the nation. Spanning from 1972 to 2021, the works consist of paintings, photographic work, drawings, sculpture, installations, moving image, sound work, film, digital work, embroidery and performance. This is a significant boost to both collections, strengthening and enhancing the breath of style of work, making them truly representative of contemporary Irish practice and available for the public to enjoy for generations to come.
As the cultural repositories for the country, the role of the National Cultural Institutions is to reflect Ireland and her people and tell the story of our country. This is the first time in over a decade that substantial funding has been specifically allocated towards building the National Collection to reflect contemporary culture.
The Minister recognises the immense talent in the arts in Ireland as well as the significance of being represented in the National Collection. At a time when exhibition opportunities are limited, the fund has enabled IMMA and the Crawford Art Gallery to promote artists, supporting and enhancing their reputations by acquiring their work for the National Collection to enable them to practice as artists, now and into the future.
The Minister said:
“We are all aware of how difficult a time this has been for everybody in the artistic community. I am delighted to provide funding to IMMA and the Crawford Art Gallery so that they can support living artists by the purchase of their work. I am confident that our National Cultural Institutions will do justice to these artists in how they represent their work.”
The Minister went on to say:
“This has also been a challenging year for all our institutions but it has also offered an opportunity to think about museums and what they mean to people and how we share those precious artworks that form part of our National Collections. I look forward to see how IMMA and the Crawford Art Gallery will share these new additions nationally and internationally where they can be widely viewed by the public and act as a reservoir for future enjoyment, inspiration and research.”
Artist, Sandra Johnston, whose work has been acquired by IMMA, said:
“It is a real honour for me to have artworks included in the IMMA collection, especially because of the ephemeral, fleeting nature of public performance actions. So, I am gratified by the curiosity the curators have shown in exploring with me the total picture of how such an artwork is conceived, executed and disseminated beyond the live moment, which is a crucial framework for understanding the surviving artefacts.”
Artist, Tom Climent, whose work has been purchased by the Crawford Art Gallery, said:
“The acquisition of my work by the Crawford Art Gallery for the National Collection has been a great boost for me. Even more so now with galleries closed and opportunities to exhibit reduced. It is not just the monetary income but the recognition and affirmation in my work that is hugely encouraging. Having a painting on public display means it lives on and hopefully reaches so many more people. Thanks to all the team in the Crawford Gallery and the help of The Sternview Gallery for making this happen.”
Drawing on extensive research and internal expertise, both institutions worked in consultation with external advisors to adopt a rigorous selection process. This ensured that the works purchased were in line with their respective acquisition policies, filled identified gaps in representation and contributed to strengthening the collections for the nation.