Contemporary Art Society Announces Museums Awarded New Media Acquisitions

The inaugural winners of their new Testing Media initiative, which enables institutions across the UK to acquire contemporary artworks in new or challenging media for their collections has been announced by The Contemporary Art Society, in association with the Art Fund.

The winners are: New Walk Museum & Art Gallery, Leicester and Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster in partnership with the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston

Testing Media is a new fund for the 65 museums that participate in the Contemporary Art Society’s Acquisition Scheme and is administered by the Contemporary Art Society and the Art Fund. The project has been designed to support the acquisition of significant works of contemporary art lying outside the traditional boundaries of fine art, for example, performance art, live art, works using new digital technologies, and works encompassing materials that present particular challenges relating to display and storage. Crucially, the fund will also develop the curatorial and conservation expertise of the successful museums.

Each of the winning museums will receive £30,000 to research and purchase a new work, and will liaise closely with the Contemporary Art Society and the Art Fund to make this selection and to develop a broader programme of new media in their institution. The fund also supports the winning museums to create case studies and best practice guidelines, with this information then being disseminated to the Contemporary Art Society’s and the Art Fund’s museum networks.

Final applications to purchase specific works will be submitted to the Contemporary Art Society and the Art Fund for consideration in November 2013, with acquisitions being made and exhibited fromDecember 2013. The Contemporary Art Society will host an exhibition of the purchased works and supporting seminars in its space at 59 Central Street, London, in May 2014.

Lucy Bayley, Museum Acquisitions & Public Programmes Manager at the Contemporary Art Society, said: “We’re thrilled to be working closely with the Art Fund on this new purchasing scheme. The winning proposals, developed by the curators at New Walk Museum & Art Gallery and Peter Scott Gallery in partnership with the Harris Museum & Art Gallery, are exciting opportunities to place these museums at the centre of research into collecting new or challenging artwork – work that has often been missed out of public collections. We look forward to seeing how these two ambitious projects develop.”

Sarah Philp, Head of Programmes at the Art Fund, said: “The quality of the proposals submitted to Testing Media was fantastic, and it is extremely exciting that the museums selected have decided to focus on collecting performance art, a particularly fertile and challenging area of current artistic practice. We are looking forward to working closely with the Contemporary Art Society and the selected museums, and cannot wait to see how their projects develop.”

The Contemporary Art Society is a national charity that encourages an appreciation and understanding of contemporary art in the UK. With the help of our members and supporters we raise funds to purchase works by new artists which we give to museums and public galleries where they are enjoyed by a national audience; we broker significant and rare works of art by important artists of the twentieth century for public collections through our networks of patrons and private collectors; we establish relationships to commission artworks and promote contemporary art in public spaces; and we devise programmes of displays, artist talks and educational events. Since 1910 we have donated over 8, 000 works to museums and public galleries – from Bacon, Freud, Hepworth and Moore in their day through to the influential artists of our own times – championing new talent, supporting curators, and encouraging philanthropy and collecting in the UK.

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