10 May 2011
Last week two of RAMM’s curators were among eight winners of Art Fund Collect, an initiative run by the Art Fund and Crafts Council aimed at boosting contemporary craft in UK collections.
Penelope Sexton, RAMM’s Curator of Exhibitions, and Holly Morgenroth, RAMM’s Assistant Curator of Natural History, bought The Secret Life of Plants, 2010 by Danish maker Steffen Dam at Joanna Bird Pottery, with their share of the £75,000 prize. Costing £8,820, the delicate, hand-blown objects encased within the glass panel are inspired by half-decaying bulbs and fungi.
Cllr Rob Hannaford, Lead Councillor for Environment and Leisure, Exeter City Council, said: “We are absolutely delighted to be one of the winners of Art Fund Collect 2011. The Secret Life of Plants will enrich the Royal Albert Memorial Museum & Art Gallery’s collections; it draws together contemporary craft and natural history and offers us the opportunity to reinterpret the collection. The work will be integrated into RAMM’s new displays where visitors will be able to see the natural history collection in a fresh light. We are very grateful to the Art Fund for providing this wonderful opportunity for our curators to develop and to add another contemporary craft work to our displays.”
Alongside the other shortlisted curators, Penelope and Holly had special access to the fair, ahead of VIPs and private buyers. They had just one hour to go around the 37 international galleries represented and pick one object they wished to add to their collection, before presenting it to a panel of judges. This year’s panel was chaired by Anthony Griffiths, Art Fund Trustee and Keeper of the British Museum’s Print Collection.
The Art Fund Director
Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, said: “We’re delighted that all eight museums and galleries have chosen wonderful pieces this year. It’s always a really exciting day, and a unique opportunity for curators from across the country to come together. We were so impressed by the curators’ presentations and the vision and ambition they demonstrated. We hope their pieces will be enjoyed by the public for years to come.”
The Crafts Council Director
Rosy Greenlees, Executive Director of the Crafts Council, said: “Congratulations to the eight galleries and museums that were successful this year. As usual the proposals from the shortlisted curators were of high quality and very well considered. We are sure these exceptional objects will be a great asset for their institutions and enjoyed by their visitors.”
Art Fund Collect
Art Fund Collect takes place annually on the preview day of COLLECT, the Crafts Council’s international art fair for contemporary objects. Winning objects are purchased outright by the Art Fund, which provides the £75,000 funding pot.
Second time win for RAMM
This is the second time that RAMM has won an object through the scheme. Last year Penny Sexton took part in Art Fund Collect alongside colleague Tony Eccles, Curator of Ethnography, winning Golden Fields of Rice by Mutsumi Suzuki, an exquisite piece of Japanese lacquerware worth £17,000.