Press Release: Contemporary Art Society launches high-profile fundraising gala 2013

7 February 2013 By
Clare Woods, Humble Complaints (2012), oil on aluminium, 70 x 50cm. To be featured in WANDERLUST.

7 February 2013

What: Fundraising gala and auction
When: Wednesday 13 March 2013, from 6.30pm
Where: Old Vic Tunnels, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN
Sponsored by: Boucheron

Press Preview:
There will be a press preview of selected works featured in WANDERLUST at 59 Central Street on Tuesday 5th March at 5.30pm.

Each year the Contemporary Art Society organises a major fundraising gala, which raises vital funds for its mission to purchase new works of contemporary art for museums and public galleries across the UK. Last year’s gala generated over £225,000 for the charity on the night.

Now in its fifth year and firmly established as one of the highlights of the art world’s social calendar, the Annual Fundraiser brings together personalities from the arts and celebrity in spectacularly designed settings to celebrate and support the vital work of the Contemporary Art Society. Previous locations have included Battersea Power StationShunt Vaults and The Farmiloe Building and guests have included Sir Bob GeldofJerry HallBianca JaggerMark Stephens; leading city figuresDavid BlitzerLord Myners, and Sir Stuart Rose; and art world figures like Turner Prize winnersGrayson PerryElizabeth Price and Mark Wallinger along with Dinos Chapman and Gavin Turk.

Chaired by Contemporary Art Society Trustee Antje Géczy and generously sponsored by Boucheron, the first jeweller of Place Vendome, the 2013 gala will take place on Wednesday 13 March 2013 from 6.30pm at the Old Vic Tunnels, Leake Street, London SE1 7NN. The tunnels will be transformed to reflect this year’s theme: WANDERLUST. Focusing on the artistic impulse to seek out new places, experiences and dimensions, WANDERLUST invites guests on a heady journey through time and space in pursuit of aesthetic perfection – and to other-worldly realms that only artists can conjure. Guests are encouraged to dress in accordance with the theme and artwork will be installed throughout the space.

The evening will feature a sumptuous dinner for guests as well as an auction of works specially commissioned for the gala by new and more established artists. The auction is hosted by Oliver Barker of Sotheby’s, with all proceeds benefitting the mission of the Contemporary Art Society.Reinforced by the Contemporary Art Society’s 100 year old reputation for identifying the art stars of the future, the charity auction offers guests an unrivalled opportunity to purchase works by internationally renowned artists as well as those who are attracting international critical acclaim but who may not yet be known beyond art world insiders. Artists whose work is featured in this year’s auction include Fiona BannerEdward BurtynskyConrad Shawcross, Jennifer SteinkampSaskia Olde WolbersClare Woods and Toby Ziegler, among many others.

Contemporary Art Society Director Paul Hobson said:
“We are delighted that some of the most exciting new names in contemporary art along with internationally acclaimed artists have accepted our invitation to create new works for our fundraising auction this year.  This unique evening at the Old Vic Tunnels will raise much needed funds that will enable the Contemporary Art Society to continue its mission of donating work to museums and galleries across the UK in the coming year where they will be enjoyed by millions”.

For further details on the Contemporary Art Society’s Fundraising Gala 2013 including booking information, please contact:
Dida Tait, Head of Market Development & External Relations
T. +44 (0)20 7017 8414
Please note that ticket prices start at £350.

For all press enquiries, please contact:
Jenny Prytherch, Communications Manager
T. +44 (0)20 7017 8412



Encouraging an appreciation and understanding of contemporary art by a wide audience and donating works by important and new artists to museums and public galleries across the UK.

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.

Boucheron, the first jeweller of Place Vendome, unites excellence in jewellery craftsmanship and a passion for watchmaking in a relentless quest for emotions and unique savoir faire where brilliance meets the exceptional.  Founded in 1858 by Frédéric Boucheron, the Maison continues to celebrate and embrace its highly contemporary tradition and passion for innovation. In 1889, at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, the Maison Boucheron was awarded for its creations and was recognised as one of the forerunners of the Naturalism movement.

It was Frédéric Boucheron’s work with René Lalique and Paul Legrand amongst others that established the Maison’s lifetime commitment to supporting artists and innovators. Frédéric Boucheron was also known to support and nurture many young artists and was considered a patron to many.   Boucheron’s involvement with Contemporary Art Society has allowed the Maison to continue their work with the arts, something Frédéric Boucheron was so very passionate about.

In October 2012, the Contemporary Art Society relocated to offices designed by award-winning architects Carmody Groarke. Based in Clerkenwell, London, the newly designed premises not only accommodates the Society’s offices but also provides the first publicly accessible platform in London for the Contemporary Art Society in its one hundred year history.  This marks a significant new development for the charity, which marked its centenary in 2010, providing a social and working environment for the organisation’s diverse networks and stakeholders, and a platform for greater visibility and engagement in the organisation’s mission to develop public collections of contemporary art in the UK. The new building will include spaces for hosting public events, seminars and displays of the works currently being gifted by the charity to museums across the UK, as well as an archive of the thousands of works donated by the organisation over the past 100 years, along with a study centre and research facility focused on collection development for curators, academics and arts professionals.

The Contemporary Art Society’s Consultancy team offers independent and expert advice on public art commissioning and cultural strategy and develop outstanding contemporary art collections for companies and private individuals.  With over 30 years of experience in commissioning, curating and project management, our skill is in understanding each client’s needs and creating visionary linkages to the best in contemporary art.  We advise on corporate and private collections internationally and our recent public art projects include major commissions for the Olympic Park, public art strategies for Camden Town, the University of Cambridge & the Waterways Trust.


Elizabeth Price 9 JAN — 8 FEB
USER GROUP DISCO (2009) by acclaimed British artist Elizabeth Price was recently donated by the Contemporary Art Society to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. This important work by the recent Turner Prize winner is the second piece in a trilogy forming part of an on-going series that navigates the notional architecture and collection of a fictional museum, with this work being the ‘Hall of Sculptures’.

Stephen Nelson 11 JAN – 28 MAR
The Contemporary Art Society is delighted to present a playful intervention by one of our Artist Members, Stephen Nelson, as the inaugural PROJECTS display at our new home. Nelson makes strange and highly personable objects and constructions, using a wide variety of salvaged materials selected for their colour, texture and character.  Working with anything from sea worn plastic toys, clay pipes, wire, painted drift wood to cloth, carpet and leather, Nelson’s sculptures have an improvised and makeshift attitude, forming part of a curious world of ‘possible objects’ which defy critical context by reaching out through their physicality.

Louisa Fairclough 13 FEB — 1 MAR
The Contemporary Art Society recently purchased a moving image work, Bore Song (2011) by British artist Louisa Fairclough for Cheltenham Art Gallery and Museum. The piece relates to a spectacular Gloucestershire phenomenon — the Severn Bore, a large tidal wave that surges up the River Severn — and will be shown together with related drawings at the Contemporary Art Society. Louisa Fairclough will be in conversation with Cherry Smyth at the Contemporary Art Society on 21 February.

Annual Fundraiser 6 MAR — 11 MAR
Each year, the Contemporary Art Society organises a themed fundraising gala and auction to raise funds for its mission to purchase contemporary works for museums and public galleries and their audiences across the UK. For one week, we will be displaying a selection of the artworks that have been specially commissioned for inclusion in this year’s auction (WANDERLUST), giving our members and the public an opportunity to preview the works and leave absentee bids before the event.The gala, which is chaired by Contemporary Art Society Trustee Antje Géczy and sponsored by Boucheron, will take place at the Old Vic Tunnels in Waterloo on 13 March and the auction will be conducted by Sotheby’s.

Phyllida Barlow 20 MAR — 16 APR
Phyllida Barlow is a central figure in the development of contemporary British sculpture. Her deliberately playful and non-monumental works Untitled: Basel Structure (2010), Untitled: Crushed Shape (2011) and Untitled: Disaster III (2010), were recently gifted by the Contemporary Art Society to Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. These works will be on display at the Contemporary Art Society, along with selected work from the museum’s collection. Deborah Dean of Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery will be giving a talk at the Contemporary Art Society on 26 March.

Ivan Seal TUE 23 APR — FRI 24 MAY
Ivan Seal’s painting plemploted fowidead (2011) and its accompanying drawing ors devurth at seven (swingerbuffetbit) (2011) were gifted by the Contemporary Art Society to Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery in 2012. These works will be on display at the Contemporary Art Society with works from Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery’s collection selected by the artist. Ivan Seal will be in conversation with Harriet Loffler of Norwich Castle Museum and Art Gallery at the Contemporary Art Society on 19 April.

Displays to follow will feature works by John StezakerCaroline Achaintre and a selection of important modern and contemporary works donated to the Contemporary Art Society by philanthropists Eric and Jean Cass, which form part of a recent donation of over 300 works to the Contemporary Art Society by the couple totalling over £4 million.

Philanthropists Eric and Jean Cass have dedicated over 35 years of their lives to supporting artists. During this time they built up a one of the most important collections of modern and contemporary sculptures, ceramics, drawings, prints and paintings in modern times, with work by Karel Appel, Lynn Chadwick, Michael Craig-Martin, Barbara Hepworth, Allen Jones, Henry Moore, John Piper, Joan Miro and many others. The entire collection was housed in the interiors and gardens of ‘Bleep’, Eric and Jean Cass’s spectacular modernist home in Surrey named after the high pitched bleeping sound emitted from pocket paging receivers, a product that formed part of Eric business, Cass Electronics. Each piece in their collection was purchased because it gave the owners immense enjoyment as a standalone work of art.

Eric and Jean Cass made the decision to gift over 300 important modern and contemporary artworks (totalling over £4 million) from their personal collection to the Contemporary Art Society for allocation to public institutions and to support contemporary art in the UK. In 2012, the Contemporary Art Society invited seven UK-based museums to research Eric and Jean Cass’s donation and to pitch to receive clusters of works that would complement or enliven their current collections. The museums proposed works by artists including Karel Appel, Michael Craig-Martin, Barbara Hepworth, Joan Miro, Henry Moore, Eduardo Paolozzi, Victor Pasmore, Pablo Picasso and Niki de Saint-Phalle. The successful museums are Gallery of Modern Art (Glasgow), Hepworth Wakefield, Leeds Art Gallery, National Museum of Wales (Cardiff), Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art (Edinburgh), The Royal Pavilion and Museums (Brighton) and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

As part of the Whitechapel Gallery’s ongoing programme of opening up public and private collections, the Whitechapel Gallery presents a series of displays curated in collaboration with the Contemporary Art Society. The displays show works drawn from these collections including gifts from the Contemporary Art Society over the last 100 years, brought together from across England for the first time.
Whitechapel Gallery, 18 September 2013 – Summer 2014. The project is generously supported by Arts Council England. The Whitechapel Gallery Collections programme is generously supported by Hiscox.