Recent Acquisitions 2000-2004

This exhibition is now closed

An exhibition of recently acquired works in the Gallery's permanent collections.

Recent Acquisitions 2000–2004 is an exhibition of 24 artworks acquired since the turn of the millennium. The works have been selected by the Gallery's curatorial team – Neil Roberts (Manager of Collections/Senior Curator), Felicity Milburn (Contemporary Art) and Peter Vangioni (Works on Paper) – to reflect a sample of the outstanding works that have enhanced the permanent collections in recent years. Artists include Tony Bond, Julian Dashper, Ralph Hotere, Rita Angus, Sandra Thomson, Leo Bensemann and Evelyn Page; the artworks range in watercolours and oils, photographs, mixed media, sculpture and fired clay.

The process of acquiring artworks for the Gallery is both lengthy and involved. As Christchurch's public art museum, the Gallery has a responsibility to collect artworks that contribute to the development and quality of the Gallery's permanent collections on behalf of the city's present and future citizens, and so continue to build upon what is already one of the country's finest art collections.

To begin with, the permanent collections consisted solely of gifts, loans and bequests. However, since 1949 the Gallery has received an annual acquisitions allocation from the Christchurch City Council. Today, the collections number over 5,600 works and includes paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, textiles, ceramics and glass.

Acquisitions are selected by a committee made up of the Gallery's three curators (Historical, Contemporary and Works on Paper) and the Gallery Director. The Committee develops a three-year acquisitions strategy, which outlines key targets for acquisition and gaps in the current collections. Any member of the committee can recommend an acquisition by circulating an acquisition proposal that outlines the details of the work and its significance. Where possible, members of the committee view the work either by visiting the artist's studio, dealer galleries or having the work brought to the Gallery. Occasionally, works are also acquired through auction. Gifts and bequests are subject to the same process of consideration and are not accepted unconditionally.

Artworks may come to the attention of the committee via a number of avenues. The Gallery may be approached by an artist, or by a member of the public looking to gift or sell a work. However, the most common scenario is that the curatorial team will be aware of a particular artist whose work has developed to a level where acquisition is appropriate, or will find that a targeted work has become available on the art market.

Artworks are selected for their intrinsic cultural and aesthetic merit, and a particular emphasis is placed on reflecting the achievements of artists with a connection to Canterbury. More than 700 artworks were collected over the last four years.

FELICITY MILBURN

Felicity Milburn is Curator (Contemporary Art) at the Christchurch Art Gallery.

(Extract from Bulletin 137 June – August 2004)