Press Release: Contemporary Art Society Awarded Major Funding by Arts Council England Strategic Support Fund

5 April 2013 By

5 April 2013

The Contemporary Art Society is delighted to announce that Arts Council England (ACE) has awarded a grant of £211,000 to support three curatorial fellows to work on a series of displays at the Whitechapel Gallery. The displays will be accompanied by a touring exhibition, related talks and events, and a publication of essays by each curatorial fellow.

In early 2012, the Contemporary Art Society was invited by the Whitechapel Gallery to collaborate on the development of four displays from September 2013, running over a 12 month period. The displays will feature works from collections held by the Contemporary Art Society’s membership of 65 publicly funded museum and galleries across the UK. Focusing on the North West, East Coast, Midlands and South, the displays will use the theme of philanthropy, the founding principle of many of these institutions, as a springboard to explore specific themes and will bring together historic, modern and contemporary works from public collections across England.

The Whitechapel Gallery will work together with the Contemporary Art Society on these displays, drawing upon the Contemporary Art Society’s 103-year expertise in developing public collections of contemporary art in the UK as well as its diverse networks including artists, curators and collectors. The displays will be shown at the Whitechapel Gallery as part of an ongoing programme to open up public and private collections, and the inaugural display opens in September 2013.

For all press enquiries, please contact:

Jenny Prytherch, Communications Manager, Contemporary Art Society

+44 (0)20 7017 8412

Notes to Editors


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


Display 1: Nothing Beautiful Unless Useful, 17 September – 1 December 2013

Curated by Anna Colin and hosted by Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston.

Tour: Victoria Gallery & Museum, Liverpool, March – June 2014

The first display, opening in September 2013, is conceived and researched by curatorial fellow Anna Colin. Anna Colin’s fellowship is funded by a previous grant from ACE in September 2012. The exhibition takes its title from the architect Charles Barry who used it as a motto during the competition to design Manchester Art Gallery, which he built in 1824. The display will include photographs, paintings, woodcuts, ceramics and glass that reference local industries from the cotton trade and ceramics to shipping and mining upon which local philanthropists built their wealth and subsequent bequests. It will bring together artworks by Walter Crane, Emily Ford, Eric Gill, Jacob Kramer, Edward Wadsworth and photographers from the social research organisation Mass Observation amongst others, all of whom were responding to both the industrial and natural landscape of the North West and the momentous social change taking place in the first half of the 20th century.

Display 2: 10 December 2013 – 9 March 2014

Curatorial Fellow (East Coast), hosted by Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
Tour: Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, March – June 2014

Will explore the role of art schools as sites of making and production (recognising their particular relationships to past industries).

Display 3: 20 March – 1 June 2014

Curatorial Fellow (Midlands), hosted by Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Tour: Wolverhampton Art Gallery, June – August 2014

Will explore the positioning of particular works of art and the debates and discourses that have surrounded their perceived and actual value.

Display 4, 12 June – 6 September 2014

Curatorial Fellow (South), hosted by Brighton Museum & Art Gallery

Tour: Towner, Eastbourne, September – December 2014

Will explore the role of individuals in creating visions for particular collections.

Whitechapel Gallery Visitor Information:

Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 6pm, Thursday 11am – 9pm. Admission free.Whitechapel Gallery, 77 – 82 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX

Nearest London Underground Station: Aldgate East, Liverpool Street, Tower Gateway DLR.

+ 44 (0) 20 7522 7888


The Renaissance Strategic support fund supports activity that will contribute to the Arts Council’s goals, particularly in ensuring that museums become more sustainable, resilient and innovative, and able to attract wider audiences. For more information on the Renaissance programme please visit the Arts Council’s website.