Contemporary Art Collections

This week’s #BeConnected blog looks at Scottish contemporary art and other places you can find out more about contemporary art.

Each week we have been encouraging you to look at our collections. You may have discovered an artist or artwork that you particularly like and may be interested in seeing more of a particular artist’s work. You may be no longer in Stirling, but are living near another gallery and wonder what collections they hold. Hopefully this post will point you in the direction of various sites where you can find out more.

Mary and Elizabeth by Jacqueline Donachie

The Art Collection at Stirling is a collection of Scottish contemporary art. The collection is one of a number of institutions around the country who collect contemporary art. We have recently contributed to a new site hosted by the Edinburgh College of Art Collecting Contemporary This site asks what does it mean to bring works of art together in a collection? What is distinctive about this or that collection? How, and indeed why, should contemporary art be collected? The site has interviewed Museum curators, private collectors and artists and posed these questions. It includes an interview with our curator Jane who considers collecting here at Stirling.

There are a number of online sites that you can look at to search collections including Art UK who have collaborated with overĀ 3,200 British institutions to host their public collections online. All the oil paintings and sculpture that Stirling hold are available through this site. You can search by artist to find out where in the country their collections are on display.

For those of you who are interested in Scottish Contemporary Art the Generation Project might be of interest. In 2014 the National Galleries of Scotland hosted Generation: 25 years of Scottish contemporary art, The aim was to get the very best contemporary art to reach people across the country, to ensure that anyone living in or visiting Scotland in 2014 would be able to enjoy a unique and inspiring programme of exhibitions and events. The website detailing the artists involved is still available and includes many artists held within the collections at Stirling.

We do not exist in isolation and work with other museums and galleries to promote our collections. We are a member of University Museums in Scotland (UMIS). Scottish universities hold diverse and immensely rich collections of more than 1.8 million items. They comprise 32% of the country’s materials on history of science, 31% of the nation’s coins and medals, 24% of its fine art, 20% of natural science collections and 18% of its world culture collections. UMIS work together on collaborative projects and this week our Deputy Curator is beginning teaching on a joint project Capturing Lives in Scotland’s Communities. This is a nationwide Arts Awards project and alongside curators from other Universities Sarah is working with student mentors from Stirling University and pupils from around the Forth Valley to utilise our collections as inspiration for the project.

Our collections are available through our collections site which was launched last September where you can search through our artworks and collections from the University archives. This article recently published in the Art Libraries journal talks about the project to create an online catalogue for the University collections.

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