Commissioning for purpose: investigating commissioning as a collecting strategy for municipal museums and galleries 2000-present

Hanley, Bo Else (2016) Commissioning for purpose: investigating commissioning as a collecting strategy for municipal museums and galleries 2000-present. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The use of the ‘commission-accession’ principle as a mechanism for sustainable collecting in public museums and galleries has been significantly under-researched, only recently soliciting attention from national funding bodies in the United Kingdom (UK). This research has assessed an unfolding situation and provided a body of current evaluative evidence for commission-based acquisitions and a model for curators to use in future contemporary art purchases. ‘Commission-accession’ is a practice increasingly used by European and American museums yet has seen little uptake in the UK. Very recent examples demonstrate that new works produced via commissioning which then enter permanent collections, have significant financial and audience benefits that UK museums could harness, by drawing on the expertise of local and national commissioning organisations. Very little evaluative information is available on inter-institutional precedents in the United States (US) or ‘achat par commande’ in France. Neither is there yet literature that investigates the ambition for and viability of such models in the UK. This thesis addresses both of these areas, and provides evaluative case studies that will be of particular value to curators who seek sustainable ways to build their contemporary art collections. It draws on a survey of 82 museums and galleries across the UK conducted for this research, which provide a picture of where and how ‘commission-accession’ has been applied, and demonstrates its impacts as a strategy. In addition interviews with artists and curators in the UK, US and France on the social, economic and cultural implications of ‘commission-accession’ processes were undertaken. These have shed new light on issues inherent to the commissioning of contemporary art such as communication, trust, and risk as well as drawing attention to the benefits and challenges involved in commissioning as of yet unmade works of art.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Commissioning, sociology, cultural institutions, contemporary art, art theory, trust, cultural policy, acquisitions.
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > History of Art
Supervisor's Name: Fiske, Dr. Tina and Hancock, Mrs. Elizabeth
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: MRS. Bo Hanley
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7449
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2016 15:41
Last Modified: 05 Apr 2024 12:42
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.7449

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