The sixth and final event in the ‘Considering Collecting’ 2021/22 series will look to the future. Having looked at some of the key issues affecting those who collect art and who work with collections today, we will think about what needs to happen next: can collecting become a more democratic, representative activity, particularly for those institutions and organisations which serve the public?
There has been a significant movement in the recent past to evaluate major collections and consider how representative they really are: whether that be in terms of gender, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, or other characteristics of the artists or artistic collectives. A concerted effort has been made by some public collections to deliberately exhibit works for more diverse groups of artists; however, this has not always then been reflected in what is acquired into their permanent collection.
Our speakers for ‘The Future of Public Collections’ – Dr Anjalie Dalal-Clayton (UAL Decolonizing Arts Institute), Eliza Gluckman (Director, Government Art Collection) and Chantal Condron (Curator, Public Engagement, Government Art Collection) – will discuss their own work on projects which have sought to address issues of representation in public collections, through the ‘Black Artists and Modernism’ and ‘Representation of the People’ projects respectively. Exploring the use of audits and analysis of national collections, along with shifts in collecting policies and deliberate collecting focuses, our speakers will consider the importance of these reflexive activities in ensuring public collections more fully represent the public they are intended for, and will discuss whether this is something all public art collections should be doing in the future.
This event is part of the Open Courtauld strand, organised by The Research Forum.
Eliza Gluckman has been Director of the Government Art Collection since January 2022. She was previously Deputy Director and Senior Curator overseeing a new direction in public engagement through collaborations and initiating inclusive collecting through Art X-UK. In 2018, she conceived the Representation of the People Project, a ten-year commitment to assessing and addressing representation in the Collection.
Chantal Condron is Curator of Public Engagement at the Government Art Collection, co-developing (as a job share), in-person and digital public projects. She is currently working with the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum on a legacy project as part of Coventry UK City of Culture 2021; and in 2019, delivered the schools programme that accompanied the loan of GAC artworks to public spaces in Waltham Forest London Borough of Culture.
Anjalie Dalal-Clayton is an art historian, specialising in work by Black and Brown British artists. She is Research Fellow at the Decolonising Arts Institute at University of the Arts London, where she primarily focuses on collecting, interpretation and display practices in public museums, galleries and collections. She was a researcher on the 3-year, AHRC-funded Black Artists & Modernism project between 2015 and 2018, for which she led the first nationwide audit of works of Black artists in UK public collections. Since then she has been a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow with the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art, a Co-Investigator on Provisional Semantics and is currently a Co-Investigator on the Towards a National Collection discovery project, Transforming Collections.
The Considering Collecting Series
Collections of art and artefacts can be found everywhere, from major museums and galleries to the lobbies and offices of international businesses to people’s homes. Some collections are made by committee, influenced by trends and investments, while others are driven by personal taste and choice. Decisions about who and what to collect can be made strategically, based on gaps in an existing collection or the increasing value of a type of work, or can be more spontaneous and subjective, dependent on an affinity with an artist, medium, or period.
The six online events in the ‘Considering Collecting’ series explore collecting from different perspectives, lifting the lid on the behind-the-scenes of the art market and the museum sector. The series will cover a broad range of issues including: what motivates people and organisations to collect; the impact of digital technologies on collecting; caring for collections, including documenting, cataloguing, and labelling; how ephemeral artworks can be collected; the historical and contemporary position of women in the world of collecting; and how organisations are working to create more representative art collections.
Supported by Laurence C. Zale Associates, Inc., a visual arts advisory company