Issue Number: 102
What would you do if you had amassed a valuable collection of art in your lifetime? Would you give it to the nation, as Arthur R. Miller has? Miller, a distinguished lawyer and presenter of ethical discussion programmes on television, is no stranger to hypothetical questions, as you will read in our interview. But for him this dilemma was real and he had his answer ready.
Thanks to his generosity, the British Museum now holds one of the finest collections of prints by Kuniyoshi, and the Royal Academy has the privilege of being the first institution to put these vibrant works on display.
Barbara Follet MP, the Culture Minister, drew special attention to those who donate works to the nation as she launched the ‘Artist Rooms’ project. Specifically, she was talking about Anthony d’Offay, whose outstanding collection of contemporary art tours Britain, giving more people access to the kind of works that have excited audiences in London for years.
It’s easy to become blasé about the worth of such gifts at a time when the Government is being forced to spend billions rescuing the financial sector. Yet the long-term wealth of the nation benefits enormously from these individual acts of beneficence. The Kuniyoshi prints will play their part in maintaining the pre-eminence of the British Museum, which in turn will attract tourism and business to London.
D’Offay’s gift, meanwhile, makes it more likely that the nation can capitalise on the success Liverpool has had as last year’s European Capital of Culture - according to Follet, launching an annual British culture capital programme is now high on the Government’s wish list.
Art is a precious thing and if we invest in it we will all be the richer. Yet if you ever wanted a reminder that things aren’t quite that straightforward, take a look at the work of Michael Landy RA, our ‘Out to Lunch’ guest. Not only has he made art out of destroying things, but some of the things he has destroyed have been other people’s works of art.
Perhaps all we should conclude is that art is an investment like no other. We were nevertheless delighted to tell magazine reader Keith Britten he had won the print Stephen Chambers RA had donated for our 100th issue.
‘I was bowled over,’ Keith told us. ‘The evening I got the news I had been out with a friend talking about printing and I mentioned Stephen’s print in the magazine so it was great serendipity to get home to read the email announcing I had won it.’
To coincide with the publication of his new book, A Line in the Water, Norman Ackroyd RA has generously offered an original print, Magharee Islands, for one lucky reader.
For a chance to win this valuable and beautiful prize, simply answer the following question: What was the title of the book that celebrated Norman Ackroyd's previous collaboration with poet Douglas Dunn? Send your answer on a postcard, together with your name and address, to Norman Ackroyd Print Competition, RA Magazine, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J OBD. Entries should arrive no later than 25 May 2009.
Friends of the RA can enter the competition online. Visit the new Friends website, then follow the log-on procedure and look for the link to the RA Magazine competition page. If you are not yet a Friend, visit the site to find out more about the benefits of Friends membership.
For competition rules, click here .