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The Contemporary Art Society and Frieze London Announce a New Partnership to Acquire Significant Contemporary Work for Regional Museums

21 June 2016 By
Migration Study Day at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. Courtesy of photographer Michelle Maddison
Migration Study Day at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. Courtesy of photographer Michelle Maddison

The Contemporary Art Society and Frieze London have announced a partnership to purchase a major work at the 2016 edition of the fair for Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.

The Contemporary Art Society’s Collections Fund was set up in 2012 and is designed to support the acquisition of significant contemporary works for Contemporary Art Society museum members across the UK, drawing together the knowledge and experience of private collectors with that of museum curators.

The Collections Fund at Frieze currently stands at £50,000, including a match-funded gift, which was awarded to Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art after a competitive application process open to the Contemporary Art Society’s 70 Museum Members across the UK.

Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art describes itself as a ‘useful museum’, or ‘Museum 3.0’, an organisation that wishes to play a civic role, operating in the public realm through a focus on education, activism and making towards community building.

Caroline Douglas, Director, Contemporary Art Society, said: “Our partnership with Frieze London this year is a wonderful opportunity to shine a spotlight on the fantastic work of regional museums. Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art operates in a unique cultural environment and the members of the Collections Fund committee were impressed by the museum’s engagement with issues that resonate with the community it serves, such as migration and exile. We look forward to supporting the acquisition of a major work that is emblematic of the period of history we are living through.”

Alistair Hudson, Director, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, said: “As the political climate continues to change, regional museums are increasingly adapting to find new ways to work with artists, develop collections and connect with their audiences. We have been evolving a new institutional model that responds to the urgent issues around us, becoming an active agent within society. Recently Middlesbrough has hit the headlines for having the highest number of asylum seekers in the country per head of population*. But ours is a vibrant, complex, post-industrial region that was created by migrants and we view this story as an asset to inform and shape our culture and influence social change. Offering access to the most significant contemporary artists working today, this wonderful research and acquisition opportunity provided by the Contemporary Art Society’s Collections Fund and Frieze allows us to strengthen our collection as a vital public resource and inject creativity into every aspect of ordinary life.”

Jo Stella-Sawicka, Artistic Director, Frieze Fairs (Europe, Middle East, Russia & Africa) said: We are delighted to partner with the Contemporary Art Society this year to support an inspirational institution from among the UK’s vibrant regional gallery scene. This work with Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art builds on Frieze’s legacy of helping museums build strong collections of contemporary art at an international level. We are proud to play a part in supporting new initiatives that ensure people across the country can access and enjoy world-class contemporary art.”

The work acquired through the Collections Fund at Frieze will be announced on 5 October at Frieze London.

*J. Reed, ‘Why does Middlesbrough have the most asylum seekers?’, BBC News Online, 23 October 2015