Museums in Sheffield work with private art collectors - Museums Association

Museums in Sheffield work with private art collectors

Project aims to increase philanthropy outside London
Nicola Sullivan
Museums Sheffield is working with private art collectors to put on a series of exhibitions featuring the work of Sarah Lucas, Marcel Duchamp and Jake and Dinos Chapman.

The project Going Public: International Art Collectors in Sheffield, comprises five exhibitions, running from 16 September to 12 December, at Sheffield Cathedral, Millennium Gallery, Graves Gallery, Site Gallery and Sheffield Institute of Arts Gallery.  

Sheffield Cathedral has taken the decision to display highly provocative works, including Cyber Iconic Man by the Chapman brothers.  

“We have shown contemporary art before but not on this scale”, said Peter Bradley, the senior priest of the cathedral, speaking last week during a press conference at art collector Nicolas Cattelain’s house in Knightsbridge, London.

“In a space like a Christian cathedral which is so strongly ideological in telling one story we have discovered that the art that will speak in it has to be very high quality," he added. 

Initiated by Mark Doyle, the head of collector development at Contemporary Arts Society North and art specialist Sebastien Montabonel, the Going Public project aims to increase philanthropic giving outside London at a time of severe cuts to public funding.

A summit event, taking place on 12 October, will bring international art figures together to debate the role of private philanthropy for the arts.

“There’s a lack of public debate over private collecting and what it can bring to the public sector,” said Doyle. 

Kim Streets, the CEO of Museums Sheffield, said the Going Public project could create a new model for philanthropic giving to public institutions across the country.  “It is also a great opportunity for us to explore the notion of philanthropy in the public arts sector,” she said.

“We want to be part of a national debate about philanthropy. Who are the philanthropists of the 21st century and how can they impact the public arts sector outside of London?”

The artworks that will be exhibited for Going Public will be taken from the collections of: Nicolas Cattelain, Dominique and Sylvain Levy, Egidio Marzona and Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo.

Cattelain said: “We see the price of artworks and we see the budgets of museums cut in the UK quite significantly but also in France and Italy. There is an issue there. There is a responsibility for collectors.

“If you think about the history of art people very often talk about artists and museums but in reality galleries and collectors play a big role in how art develops.”

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