Hunterian receives support from Contemporary Art Society’s Rapid Response Fund

Published: 15 July 2020

The Hunterian is amongst six UK museums to receive support from the Contemporary Art Society’s Rapid Response Fund.

The Hunterian is amongst six UK museums to receive support from the Contemporary Art Society’s Rapid Response Fund.

The fund, in partnership with Frieze London, is a new initiative supporting artists and museums during the Covid-19 pandemic. Over £230,000 has already been raised, with a crowdfunding campaign raising the majority.

The CAS Rapid Response Fund is being used to purchase works by artists to add to collections of museums across the UK – ensuring financial support goes where it is needed most.

The Hunterian has acquired Eglantine by Glasgow-based artist Margaret Salmon, as part of the second round of acquisitions through the fund. Over £90,000 has been spent in this round, supporting six artists and six museums around the UK.

Thanks to the funding, The Hunterian will receive the feature-length ‘avant-garde nature film for children’ by Margaret Salmon. Eglantine, 2016, is perhaps her key work to date and the film will resonate with The Hunterian’s historic landscape collection, bringing the natural world to those who might not otherwise be able to access it.

Margaret Salmon said:

“I am delighted by the acquisition of Eglantine by The Hunterian, as supported by the Contemporary Art Society. This film marks a bold departure within my 20+ years as an artist filmmaker. It combines elements of 16mm observational filmmaking alongside classic 35mm narrative children’s cinema to form an intimate reflection upon fascination, inter-species community and multi-sensory experiences of the outdoors. To have it reside within a collection so intimately engaged with learning, natural phenomena, and the Scottish landscape is a brilliant outcome from this challenging and rewarding endeavour.”

Dominic Paterson, Curator of contemporary art at The Hunterian said:

“Margaret Salmon's Eglantine is a visionary, tender and generous film. Acquiring this work will allow us to share its attention and care for the natural world with our audiences as we recommence our public programme in due course, through both physical and online presentations. We are aware that at this time the possibility, the necessity, of seeing the world in new ways is widely felt.

Eglantine looks at landscape, animal life and human contact through the lens of a child's experience; it is full of wonder and apprehension, and draws us into its way of seeing. Thanks to CAS's support that experience can be shared more widely, and we are really excited to work with Margaret on engaging our visitors new and old, in person and online, with the work.”

Other museums and artists supported by the scheme are:

  • The Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art – Devotional Wallpaper and Placards, 2008-2020, by Sonia Boyce OBE RA.
  • The Harris Museum, Art Gallery & Library in Preston - Graveyard Shift, 2020, and Let’s play hide-n-seek, 2020, by Shawanda Corbett.
  • The Hepworth Wakefield - Packing, 2020, Between Two Bodies, 2020, and The Island, 2020, by Rosanne Robertson.
  • The Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle - three works by Mike Silva.
  • Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton - 12 ceramic works by Matt Smith.

These six acquisitions build on an initial three announced at the beginning of June – a commission from Eleanor Lakelin for Reading Museum, a room-size body of work by Liverpool’s Granby Workshop for the Victoria Gallery & Museum in Liverpool and three works by Glasgow-born artist Rabiya Choudhry for GoMA in Glasgow.

CAS Rapid Response Fund

The CAS Rapid Response Fund, in partnership with Frieze London, is a response to the Covid-19 pandemic to support both artists and museums across the UK. Museums which are members of the Contemporary Art Society are invited to apply to buy art and craft that will support their civic role when they reopen after the lockdown is lifted.

The fund is designed to support as many different artists and local museums as possible, based on the understanding that our museums will play a vital role in our communities as we exit the crisis. The money raised purchases artworks by British-based artists, providing financial support to artists, technicians and art handlers, many of whom work on a freelance basis and have seen their income streams decimated over recent weeks, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The CAS Rapid Response Fund also ensures that when museums reopen, they are able to reach out to their communities through new acquisitions, playing a vital role in civic healing and mental wellbeing.

The fund has raised £234,000, which will support over 20 acquisitions. £109,000 was raised through the generosity of CAS Patrons and a further £125,000 was raised through the CAS’s first crowdfunding campaign, which closed on 10 June 2020. People who donated £35 received a limited-edition facemask designed by top artists – David Shrigley, Eddie Peake, Linder and Yinka Shonibare. £120 bought a pack of all four.

The Contemporary Art Society’s partnership with Frieze London allows the campaign to reach even more art lovers and collectors, both attendees to the art fairs and readers of the magazines.

Rapid Response Fund applications are reviewed by the 2020 CAS Acquisitions Advisory.

First published: 15 July 2020

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