Page 20 - Studio International - November 1968
P. 20

TheTate Gallery                          Picasso, Matisse, Braque, are beyond the Tate. An   usurped in recent years by Mr and Mrs Paul Mellon
                                                                                        in \iirginia—as it is to see the Tate play the role of a
                                               important blue period Picasso would cost £200,000,
                                               and as Mr Reid points out, a 1912 Braque now fetches   museum of modern art in supporting and encouraging
      Report1967-8                             over £100,000. In the last five years. with £250,000   contemporary art. Both need money and both need
                                               at their disposal, the Tate has only managed to buy   space. To try and do both within the confines of one
                                               six paintings of this class, including two Mondrians,   building is at present difficult; in the future, if the
                                               Picasso's  The Three Dancers,  a Delaunay, and a   collections are to grow, it will be impossible. Addi-
                                               Braque which used to belong to Sir Roland Penrose.   tions to the Tate will just put off the evil day.
                                                Few people would quarrel or wish to minimise these   Here is one solution. The Tate's British and modern
                                               acquisitions. The Picasso is about the only really   collection should be separated and both given ade-
                                               important painting by him in the country, and the   quate purchasing grants. Ideally the modern collec-
      In the 1967-8 Tate Gallery report, the Director, Mr   Mondrians were a must. However, think of some of   tion should be housed in a new modern building
      Norman Reid, is mainly concerned with the need for   the missed opportunities that have occured in the last   but if this is too costly then it should be kept in the
      a substantial increase in the Tate's purchasing grant.   five years; for example there have been several first   present building. Tne British collection should then
      The Trustees, he says, have asked for a grant of   class Fauve Derains on the market in London, one   be moved to some existing Crown property. One
       £500,000. At present they receive £60,000 a year,   eagerly snapped up by a small provincial museum in   remote possibility might be the old Astor home in
      and since 1964 they have also had a special grant of   West Germany.              Carlton House Terrace, at present used for filming and
       £50,000 a year to buy foreign works of the period   The history of the Tate's modern collection has   for makeshift offices. (There are other old London
      1900-50.                                 unfortunately been one long missed opportunity—the   houses in the West End hardly used by the Govern-
       Demands for more money are a routine feature of   most glaring example being the failure to buy   ment which could be suitable and which could
      all national museum's reports, but the Tate's does   Matisse's Red Studio  for just over £500 after the   provide a setting similar to the Frick Museum in
      seem more deserving 'than most. With so many   War—and it is hard to see how this can ever be put   New York.)
      hungry mouths to feed, even £500,000 seems hardly   right. Apart from the high cost it would entail, there   Separated, the British Collection could enlarge its
      adequate. The Tate has three roles to play and three   just aren't the major key twentieth century works   range to include sporting and marine pictures which
      collections to look after—the British collection, the   around. One has only to go to the Museum of   may not be artistically of the highest quality but
      section devoted to works of the first half of the 20th   Modern Art, New York, to see where some of them   which reflect the interests and tastes of past gen-
      century, and contemporary painting and sculpture.   are.                          erations. Victorian painting could then be treated as
       Of these three, the Tate is only equipped at present   If the Tate were to receive £500,000 a year. how   something more than a whimsical and nostalgic joke.
      to look after the contemporary section, and make   would they spend it and which department would   The modern collection would be able to do more
      occasional forays into buying old British masters. A   get the lion's share ? The report does not say. Therein   about reflecting contemporary phenomena and be-
      work by a young British artist will cost them just   lies its weakness.           come as active and stimulating as some modern
      under £1,000, a young American artist, about £3,000.   Nobody in the Tate seems to know which section is   museums abroad, the Stedelijk for example.
      There are still a number of high-quality paintings by   in most need of repair. How could they? All are   A pipe dream? Possibly, but increasing purchase
      British artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth cen-  important. It is just as vital to see that the British   grants and adding new rooms to the Tate are surely
      turies which can be obtained for less than £10,000.   Collection grows and reflects the artistic life of   only piecemeal arrangements.
       Works by the great masters of the twentieth century,   Britain in the past—a function which has been           Ian Dunlop

      'Public Eye' at                          to place an object there which people in the normal   motives have ever applied ; this cannot be said of the
                                                                                        Documenta (an antiquated form of exhibition like
                                               course of events must encounter. We do not choose
                                               a lawn, seal it off and erect sculpture on it as if it   the rest, despite its contents). The brief introductory
       Hamburg's                               were an open air gallery. The sites we have chosen   survey at the entrance to the Kunsthaus exhibition
                                               in Hamburg bring about direct confrontation between   is intended to place what follows within a context.
       Kunsthuas                               the everyday pedestrian flow and the objects we   Compared with some other aspects of modern art,
                                                                                        kinetic, constructivist and environmental art share a
                                               place on them. Admittedly the exhibits will not be
                                               changed or moved around during the exhibition (a   pronounced social concern, yet Public Eye is not a
                                               matter of finance). but we have arranged a series of   unanimous statement. Inevitably the degree of social
                                               disc ussions to take place during the exhibition about   commitment of the participating artists varies as
                                               the need for new initiatives to secure our collective   greatly as the extent to which their work conforms to
      An attempt to establish a more direct    wellbeing. This has allowed us to invite knowledge-  the strict scope of the exhibition.
      relationship between artist and          able speakers in any subject.             We are grateful for all the help and support we have
      public.                                   In every art exhibition artists should be very parti-  been given etc. etc. I suggest that rather than con-
                                               cular about how their works are arranged, otherwise   sidering art objects appearing in the art market as
      'Public Eye' is an attempt to examine the exhibition as   why exhibit? Better still, artists should not auto-  safe investments—individuals should make private
      a means of communication. It seeks to establish a   matically consider themselves br be considered in the   funds available for work which is ultimately directed
      more direct relationship between the artist and the   Renaissance sense of a person apart from the con-  at the betterment of humanity's survival. More public
      public, to bring to Hamburg some aspects of current   cerns of society—an attitude perpetuated by an   money should also be made available for this pur-
      involvement in kinetic, constructivist and environ-  elitist alliance of artists, dealers, collectors, critics,   pose. The old investment pattern may prove a very
      mental art.                              private and public galleries. Object-making too often   false economy.
       Traditionally exhibitions are a static means of com-  results in gallery exhibitions which are a means of   Peter Kuttner
       munication (world and trade fairs excepted). Works   marketing rather than communication—a socially
       are put into a special situation (the gallery) and left   corrupt tendency.
      for a length of time to be looked at or ignored as the   Public Eye has brought together the work of sixty
       case may be. The outcome of this form of communi-  artists from all over Europe who are engaged in the
       cation  is exclusively determined by the display, the   three categories of the exhibition. The way in which
       selection of works and their setting. Public Eye is   works are selected for exhibition, the way in which
       using the Kunsthaus as a starting point (indeed we   artists are invited to participate is fraught with
       should not need to rely on the emptiness of galleries   anomalies. The artists invited to take part in Public
       for showing works of art), from there it has extended   Eye were known to the organizers, many as friends,
       into the immediate area of the Kunsthaus and then   many as experimenters and many through recom-
       into selected public places in the city. Finally we   mendations of friends. Everyone received a letter of
       have put works into shop windows, to bring them   invitation explaining the aims of the exhibition. This
       into a more mundane setting. Our thinking is thus—if   letter, we considered, determined whether an artist
       we find a large area of pavement, we use some of it   felt he could honestly participate. No commercial
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