Regional museums need more philanthropic support, say art dealers

Ivor Braka and Thomas Dane make call as they donate artworks to the Whitworth
Jonathan Knott
Charitable giving to regional galleries needs more support and encouragement, claim two contemporary art dealers who have just donated artworks to the Whitworth gallery in Manchester.

The donation by Ivor Braka and Thomas Dane includes Meow, a large appliquéd blanket by Tracey Emin, Rebecca Warren’s installation Sylvesternacht, which was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2006, and the Gilbert and George work Race Hate, comprised of posters of tabloid headlines. The other artists represented are Anya Gallaccio, Paul Graham, and Michael Landy.

In a joint statement, Braka and Dane said: “In America every major city (Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Detroit, Seattle, among others) has a major museum, often comparable to a national museum in terms of both quality and scope. In the UK, outside of the capital cities, this is not the case.

"Since the donations by the late 19th century industrialists there have been few significant gains from philanthropists to our regional collections, with some notable exceptions such as the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich."

They hoped that the Whitworth could serve as an “encouraging example of what can be achieved with focus and determination”, adding: “Charitable giving by individuals in this country needs to be encouraged and this also requires the effort of government.”

Maria Balshaw, the director of the Whitworth, said: “Acquiring major works by contemporary artists is perhaps the biggest challenge facing UK public collections today and it is where collectors can offer the greatest help to galleries. This support is vital to help ensure the whole of the UK is able to enjoy and learn about the greatest artists of our nation.”

The Whitworth reopened in February this year after a £15m redevelopment. It won the Art Fund Museum of the Year prize in July and was shortlisted for this year’s Riba Stirling Prize for architecture.

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