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Minister Catherine Martin announces the addition of a significant body of artworks to the National Collection

Today Minister Catherine Martin announced the acquisition of over 100 works of contemporary art to the National Collection. This was supported by an allocation of €1.5m from the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media to the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Crawford Art Gallery. The purpose of the award was to respond to significant gaps identified in the Collections of the National Cultural Institutions. These new additions to the National Collection will ensure that it is more representative of the diverse communities of contemporary Ireland.

The new works include painting, sculpture, photography, installation, works on paper, digital media works and textiles, by both Irish and international artists. The acquisitions, which encompass pressing issues including climate change, diversity and global migration, will ensure that seminal artists previously missing from the National Collection are now represented. This investment builds upon the €1m fund provided to Crawford Art Gallery and IMMA in 2020 for the acquisition of artworks to support Irish artists during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking today, Minister Martin said:

“It is critical that our National Collection speak to Irish audiences about the issues that matter now. This significant investment in acquisitions at IMMA and the Crawford delivers on that need and strengthens the holdings of both institutions. It is heartening to see generations of artists finally find their home in the Collection and to see the complexity and diversity of our nation reflected in these exciting works.”

Director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Annie Fletcher, stated:

“The impact of this acquisitions funding cannot be underestimated. It has re-focused and reinvigorated the Irish Museum of Modern Art’s resolute determination to build a vital, accessible and ambitious world class Collection for Ireland. We recognise and sincerely thank Minister Martin’s commitment to the arts and for her Department’s support in realising these strategic aims with our valued colleagues in the Crawford Art Gallery. This important injection of funding matches our ambitions and commitment to make IMMA a significant site and resource of Irish and international artwork for the Irish public now and into the future.”

Director of the Crawford Art Gallery, Mary McCarthy, said:

“We are deeply appreciative of the Minister and her Department’s support of Crawford Art Gallery to expand our Collection at this key time. The works acquired breathe new energy into our Collection and will ensure that new conversations through the artworks can continue to be made across the centuries. It provides much needed support for artists and galleries as well as providing the public with an opportunity to see these works in context with the wider National Collection. The collaboration with IMMA has been significant and one that we will sustain into the future.”




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Notes to Editor:

The fund announced in June 2022 provided €850,000 to IMMA and €650,000 to the Crawford Art Gallery for the acquisition of contemporary artwork. The fund was designed to enable both institutions to address gaps that have persisted in the contemporary art holdings of the National Collection. On this basis:

  • IMMA have acquired 24 works from 17 artists.
  • Crawford Art Gallery have acquired 80 artworks by 40 artists.
  • 48 of the 57 artists were Irish.
  • 38 artists identify as female, 16 as male and 3 as non-binary.

The Crawford Art Gallery acquired works that:

  • represent a cross-section of contemporary Irish and international artists.
  • represent the diverse perspectives and identities of contemporary Ireland.
  • develop its Collection of historical works from the 1800s onward.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art purchased works:

  • From global communities and geographies that have particular resonance for Irish audiences.
  • From the 20th century and 21st century that speak to Irish and international contemporary art practice. This may include artists’ archives and digital archives.
  • That stand outside market forces, including works that reflect modernist and forgotten histories.
  • That address diversity and plurality and tackle the urgent issues of our time such as climate change and global mobility.
  • That develop IMMA as a leader in the collection and preservation of performance artworks.
  • That further develop the IMMA Collection as an international resource in the development and preservation of new media, born-digital and time-based media art in general, as well as new technologies.

 Capital redevelopment at the Crawford Art Gallery

The Crawford Art Gallery is currently undergoing a major capital project, supported by the Department. This ambitious redevelopment will see the expansion and modernisation of the Gallery, the provision of new exhibition spaces, a new public gallery and a Learn and Explore facility to engage new audiences. Planning permission for the project was granted on March 15th by Cork City Council. The gallery will remain open to visitors until the autumn of 2024 after which time the redevelopment will commence on-site.


IMMA Collection developments

This year sees works from the IMMA Collection go on display across the country in a range of locations including at the Crawford Art Gallery, The Butler Gallery, Wexford County Council, The Clifden Arts Festival, The Ulster Museum and at EVA, Limerick.

In 2024 IMMA presents a three-year exhibition from the Collection. The new display will follow a number of lines of research; including the notion of ‘the Return’, in which new acquisitions connect with or re-envision earlier works in new contexts – artwork such as world-renowned Joan Jonas’s work Woman in the Well, 1996-2002; Nil Yalter’s Exile is a Hard Job, 1977-2015; Andrea Geyer’s Revolt they said, 2012; Daphne Wright’s Stallion, 2009; Willie Doherty’s Unseen, 2020 will feature.

A new Collections Acquisitions Policy has been developed as part of the Museum’s Strategic Plan, 2023 – 2027.