The Government Art Collection will open a public exhibition space
The Government Art Collection (GAC) will open a dedicated public exhibition space at its headquarters for the first time in its history.
The organisation, which was established in 1899, is a national collection of historic, modern and contemporary British art which is displayed in government buildings across the UK and around the world. The GAC will unveil its public viewing room at its central London headquarters next year. The space will be used to display new acquisitions and other works of art that reflect the work in which the GAC is involved.
“We are incredibly committed to ensuring broader public access to the collections through our loans program, partnerships and public programs,” said GAC Director Eliza Gluckman. “You can explore the collection in different ways.”
The opening of the viewing room is part of a larger GAC goal to engage the non-governmental public in the collection through partnerships and by participating in local, national and international events. This work includes a new collaboration with the charity Artists in Residence, which will connect artists the GAC has commissioned with schools across the UK. This project will reach hundreds of schoolchildren in its first year, in addition to supporting artists and developing opportunities for teachers.
The initiative is linked to the Robson Orr TenTen Award, which each year commissions a British artist to create a limited edition that will be exhibited in diplomatic buildings around the world. A small number are available for purchase and the proceeds support the GAC Acquisition Fund.
This year’s Robson Orr TenTen Award went to Rachel Whiteread. The award is presented by the GAC with the Outset Contemporary Art Fund and is sponsored by philanthropists Sybil Robson Orr and Matthew Orr.
Untitled (Bubble), Rachel Whiteread’s new lithograph revisits the circular patterns the artist first used in a print commission for the London 2012 Summer Olympics, which is also part of the collection GAC.
Born in Ilford in 1963, Whiteread has lived and worked most of her life in East London. She has exhibited extensively in the UK and overseas, including a major traveling exhibition at Tate Britain in 2017. Whitread created the Monument for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2001.
The 10-year Robson Orr TenTen Award program was launched in 2018, with the top four awards going to Hurvin Anderson (2018), Tacita Dean (2019), Yinka Shonibare (2020) and Lubaina Himid (2021).
Items from the GAC collection can be seen in government buildings in over 125 countries around the world as well as at 10 and 11 Downing Street in London.
The Outset Contemporary Art Fund was established in 2003 to support artistic projects that engage the widest audience possible. The charity operates in nine countries and has raised over £14million worldwide in support of the arts.