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Major Exhibition from Irish Museum of Modern Art’s Collection

The most extensive exhibition of works yet shown from the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s own Collection opens to the public on Thursday 25 June. A Collection in the Making is an important milestone in the Museum’s development. It marks a significant and permanent increase in the space devoted to the Collection to almost half of the total gallery space, signalling the ever-increasing interest in this area of the Museum’s work and the extent of its development. The exhibition will be officially opened by Ms Síle de Valera, TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands, at 6.00pm on Wednesday 24 June. The first fully-illustrated reference catalogue of works owned by the Museum will be launched at the opening.

A Collection in the Making comprises individual works and groups of works by some 50 artists. Covering all aspects of the Collection as it has developed to date, it seeks not only to present a wide cross-section of the Museum’s works, but also to make the processes behind the growth and development of the Collection visible to a wider public. It includes a number of recent acquisitions, such as a characteristic graffiti work by Jean Michel Basquiat, created in collaboration with Lee Jaffe; One Way of Containing Air, a stunning experiment in new materials by Maud Cotter made from delicate strips of plaster and corrugated cardboard, and a 1997 painting by Paul Mosse using psychedelic colours, sawdust, nails and other materials to create a new abstract comment on the landscape. More familiar works are also being shown, from Turf Stacks in the Bog c 1920 by Paul Henry, widely regarded as the founding father of Irish landscape painting, to Smoke Rising 1989, an exploration of the psyche and life of modern man by British artists Gilbert and George.

The Collection of the Irish Museum of Modern Art comprises approximately 580 works by 20th-century and contemporary Irish and non-Irish artists. It has been developed by purchase and donations, as well as by the commissioning of new works. The Museum’s acquisition policy, like its temporary exhibition and access programmes, reflects the shifting cultural context of the late 20th century. The Museum purchases the work of living artists, but accepts loans and donations of more historical art objects with a particular emphasis on work from the 1940s onwards – a benchmark decade in the visual arts in Ireland.

Commenting on the exhibition the Museum’s Director Declan McGonagle, said: “The Collection has reached a stage of development where we can create displays and themed exhibitions on an ongoing basis which will allow the public to explore art of today in the context of art of the past. People will also have the chance to see the Collection grow and develop further as we acquire new works. These new displays will create greater access to the Collection and also assist the National Programme in its work of dispersing the assets, skills and resources of the Museum throughout the country.”

The fully-illustrated, reference catalogue will list all works in the Museum’s permanent Collection of modern art, and will carry an introductory essay by the Director, Declan McGonagle. The Madden-Arnholz Collection of Old Master Prints, which is unique in Ireland, will be listed but not illustrated.

The distinguished international curator Rudi Fuchs will also speak at the opening.

A Collection in the Making will continue to show in rotating displays in the First and Ground Floor West Wing Galleries.

Important Notice


We would like to advise our visitors that our Main Reception area is closed for renovation from 22 April until mid-June. A temporary reception is open on the ground floor next to the original main entrance. There are three exhibitions to visit  Hilary Heron: A Retrospective; Derry Film & Video Workshop and Self: Determination: Artists Commissions. IMMA’s shop, café and gardens are all open.