You can cut our money, but you’ll never take our dignity! Oh wait, okay you can have that too.
Public, political and diplomatic figures select works from the Government
Art Collection for Whitechapel Gallery exhibition
The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, Prime Minister’s wife Samantha
Cameron, Lord Mandelson and the British Ambassador to Moscow are among the
high profile figures to select work for the first ever public exhibition
of the Government Art Collection, opening at the Whitechapel Gallery on
3rd June 2011.
Highlights from the Collection will be shown in a series of five
successive displays, marking the first time the collection has been shown
in a public gallery in its 113 year history. It is part of the Whitechapel
Gallery’s ongoing programme of opening up collections that are rarely seen
by the public in the UK and will be free to attend.
The diverse nature of the Collection and its role promoting British
culture on the world stage is the subject of a total of five displays at
the Whitechapel Gallery.
The first display from 3 June – 4 September 2011 is chosen by high profile
political figures that have a close connection with the works.
The seven selectors are: Lord Boateng, former Government Minister and
British High Commissioner to South Africa; the Prime Minister’s wife
Samantha Cameron; Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg; Lord Mandelson, former
Business Secretary; Dame Anne Pringle, British Ambassador to Moscow; Sir
John Sawers, Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service; and Culture
Minister Ed Vaizey.
Key works include Lancashire Fair: Good Friday, Daisy Nook, a masterpiece
by the famous Northern English artist L.S. Lowry, selected by Samantha
Cameron; Peas are the New Beans by Bob and Roberta Smith, a humorous
comment on accountancy selected by Lord Boateng; and Queen Elizabeth I, an
enticing historical portrait by an unknown artist, selected by Lord
Staff who carry out a wide range of roles at Downing Street will be
involved in the selection of works for a further display. Their close
proximity to the art on show at the heart of Government will provide a
The Collection has more than 13,500 works dating from the 16th century to
the present day, shown in over 400 embassies and government buildings
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said
“The Government Art Collection is a unique cultural resource that has, on
a relatively modest budget, built up a collection that holds its own on
the world art stage.
“Thousands of works are already on display around the world and are
regularly seen by the numerous visitors to Government buildings, but this
is the first time that some of the many highlights have been brought
together in one place for the benefit of the wider public.
“I have no doubt that this will be a must-see exhibition, and the
carefully choreographed series of displays at the Whitechapel Gallery is
sure to draw art lovers from around the world.”
The Government Art Collection and the Whitechapel Gallery will present
four further displays on the following themes:
· A leading contemporary artist presents their personal take on
the Collection. 16 September – 4 December 2011.
· A cultural and political commentator makes a selection
highlighting the role of the Collection in cultural diplomacy. 16 December
2011 – 26 February 2012
· Staff from10 Downing Street choose their favourite works. 9
March – 5 June 2012
· The Government Art Collection commissions a new work of art for
the Whitechapel Gallery exhibition to be displayed alongside previous
commissions during the Cultural Olympiad. 21 June – 2 September 2012.
High profile selectors for each of these displays will be announced in the
The displays will be shown in the dedicated Collections Gallery.
Notes to editors
* The Government Art Collection showcases British art in Government
buildings including Downing Street, the Home Office and British
Embassies and Residences in nearly every capital city across the
world. The Collection promotes British art and culture to the world
and facilitates diplomatic and cultural links by selecting works of
art with connections between the host country and the UK.
* The Government Art Collection exhibition is a collaboration between
the Government Art Collection and the Whitechapel Gallery. The
presentation of the Government Art Collection is part of the
Whitechapel Gallery’s ongoing programme of opening up collections that
are rarely seen by the public in the UK. It follows the presentation
of five displays from the British Council Collection from April 2009 –
May 2010, and four displays from The D. Daskalopoulos Collection,
Greece, from June 2010 – May 2011.
* Following the end of its run at the Whitechapel Gallery the
exhibition will tour Birmingham Museums and Art Gallery and Ulster
Museum in late 2012 and 2013.
* The Whitechapel Gallery’s programme of collection displays is
supported by specialist insurer Hiscox.
The Government Art Collection
3 June 2011 – 2 September 2012. Admission free. Opening times: Tuesday –
Sunday, 11am – 6pm, Thursdays, 11am – 9pm. Whitechapel Gallery, 77 – 82
Whitechapel High Street, London E1 7QX. Nearest London Underground
Station: Aldgate East, Liverpool Street, Tower Gateway DLR. T + 44 (0) 20
7522 7888 email@example.com whitechapelgallery.org
For further press information regarding the exhibitions please contact the
Whitechapel Gallery press office:
Rachel Mapplebeck on 020 7522 7880, 07811 456 806 or email
Elizabeth Flanagan on 020 7522 7871 or email
For press enquiries about the Collection please contact the DCMS press
Simon Oliver on 020 7211 6269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sandra McKay on 020 7211 6267 or email Sandra.email@example.com