tue 26/09/2017

Government Art Collection: At Work, Whitechapel Gallery | reviews, news & interviews

Government Art Collection: At Work, Whitechapel Gallery

Government Art Collection: At Work, Whitechapel Gallery

Political figures choose artworks from a rarely seen national collection

Paul Boateng tries to please the Treasury's 'bean-counters' with Bob and Roberta Smith's 'Peas Are The New Beans'All images courtesy of the UK Government Art Collection

It owns almost twice as many artworks as the Arts Council, and two-thirds of its 13,500-strong hoard is on display at any given time, yet it’s a collection the public never usually gets to see. Since its foundation in 1898, the Government Art Collection has been purchasing work by British artists not for the nation, but to hang exclusively in the corridors of power, from Downing Street to the British consulate’s office in Azerbaijan. Perhaps, in these cost-cutting times, it now feels impelled to justify its existence to the taxpayer by giving it a taster of its work – though, in all probability, the British taxpayer was probably unaware of its existence till now.

Art as a civilising force still has its loyal army of advocates

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters