Thursday, January 11, 2024

Artists Setting Up Museums


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January 11, 2024
Good morning.
  • British artists tend to run private museums featuring their own works.
The Headlines
ARTISTS RULE! For Artlist, art critic Tabish Khan investigated British artists who run private museums with their own works, from Damien Hirst to Gilbert & George, and Glenn Brown. The phenomenon is, he noted, more recent that the concept of collectors finding or creating a space to steward their treasures. It seems to have all started in 2015 with Damien Hirst opening Newport Street Gallery in a rather neglected corner of Vauxhall in South London. Galleries are supportive of the idea. White Cube is happy to be showing Gilbert & George’s new creations, while The Centre allows them to exhibit and reposition previous bodies of work. Gagosian refers to The Brown Collection as “an absolute gift to the city” of London. This model begs the question of what happens to the museums in the long-term future. Will they persist once their owners are gone?

January 10th 2024

Art Market

Why These British Artists Are Setting Up Private Museums

Tabish Khan

Jan 10, 2024 4:22PM

Installation view of the Brown Collection. Courtesy of the Brown Collection.

What unites , and ? Apart from being British artists, they all, in 2024, run private museums which have shown their own works, and, in the case of Hirst and Brown, works by other artists that they hold in their collections as well.

So what is a private museum? According to Georgina Adams’s book The Rise and Rise of the Private Art Museum, it is an institution “intended to house and display the founder’s art collection, and generally lacks the ‘full services’ of a publicly funded institution,” such as curatorial and research departments.

The concept of collectors establishing museums is centuries old. The British Museum, for instance, traces its roots to the collection of physicist Hans Sloane, which was then acquired for the nation in 1753. A more recent example would be the Saatchi Gallery, which opened in 1985 and, according to the Private Art Museums Report, had the most visitors of any private museum in the world in 2015, with over 1.5 million.

The concept of artists setting up their own museums, however, is a more recent trend that seems to have been started in 2015 by Damien Hirst opening Newport Street Gallery in a largely neglected corner of Vauxhall in South London. Its primary purpose is to “present exhibitions of work from Damien Hirst’s art collection” and has staged shows by artists including  and . In the past few years, Hirst has used the space to showcase his own works with a survey of his works in 2020–21 and his latest series of physical and NFT works being shown in 2022.

Exterior view of Newport Street Gallery. Photo by Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. Courtesy of Newport Street Gallery.

The Brown Collection, set up by the painter Glenn Brown, is a newer addition to the scene and opened in 2022. The Brown Collection has largely shown work by Brown and is housed in an impressive building across four floors in Marylebone. The artist is very open about how it will evolve. “I’m concerned about it being something that we can play with, use as a mode of expression,” he told Artsy. “It’s a place to experiment, putting paintings, sculptures, furniture, drawings, and prints from a variety of periods together to harmonize and to challenge each other.”

Meanwhile, the Gilbert & George Centre, which launched last year, is only showing work by the artist duo; and in spring this year, The Wyllieum, a new gallery celebrating the work and legacy of the late Scottish artist George Wyllie, will open in the town of Greencock.

So what is behind this rise? According to Adam, the U.K. lags behind Asia, North America, and mainland Europe in its number of private museums. According to the Private Art Museums Report, the U.K. is in seventh place, with Germany, the U.S., and Korea making up the top three. This may be because the U.K. already has dozens of other museums and, while a new museum is always a welcome addition to the cultural scene, it may struggle to attract as many visitors.

For artists, one major factor in setting up a private museum is that many have amassed a large collection of their own works and works by other artists. Rather than relying on approaches from museums, they can have full curatorial control in their own space. “Museums are limited in what they can show of an artist’s work,” said Gilbert & George. “They can do a retrospective maybe once in a lifetime. Normally they put up one artwork every three or four years, but it’s limited. So that’s why, if you want to see something in-depth about our art, we need our own Centre.…It’s very important, and museums cannot do that.”

Portrait of Gilbert & George at the Gilbert & George Centre, London. Photo by Prudence Cuming. © Gilbert & George and Prudence Cuming. Courtesy of White Cube.

While the idea of giving back to the community is a welcome ethos cited by almost all private museums, there can be other factors at play. For example, displaying works in a museum exhibition is likely to raise the value of the works themselves.

Galleries are also supportive of the idea. , which works with Gilbert & George, was clear to separate its showing of the artists’ works with the artists from the Centre. “Whereas galleries like White Cube tend to show new pictures, The Centre allows Gilbert & George to exhibit and reposition previous bodies of work, and to have a public space to show their art on a more permanent basis,” said a spokesperson for the gallery.

Gallerist  also works with the pair and is a proponent of artists setting up their own museums: “We encourage and support our artists wholeheartedly in realizing their plans for foundations; it’s a fundamental part of our role and responsibility with the artists we represent,” Ropac told Artsy. “We are usually very much involved since we encourage artists to plan and ideally realize their plans within their lifetime, to really be sure that their foundation is a true reflection of their legacy, and that the various initiatives that their foundations run are in accordance with their hopes for them.”

Exterior view of the Brown Collection. Courtesy of the Brown Collection.

Portrait of Glenn Brown by Tom Jamieson. Courtesy of the Brown Collection.

, which represents Glenn Brown, is similarly supportive: “It is wonderful that Glenn has the opportunity to show his work—and indeed his curatorial skills—year-round in London,” said Hannah Freedberg, a director at the gallery. “The Brown Collection is an absolute gift to the city and we could not be more supportive.”

The nature of having a sole or two founders of a museum always begs the question of what happens to the museum in the long-term future. Notable examples of collections that have persisted long after the owners’ deaths include Sir John Soane’s Museum and The Wallace Collection, both bequeathed to the nation in 1837 and 1897, respectively, with strict guidelines aimed at maintaining the collections in a state closely resembling their original curation.

The different approaches of private museums reflect the outlooks of their founders. The Gilbert & George Centre, for instance, is “managed by a Board of Trustees,” said a spokesperson. “The Centre will be dedicated to art and the programme will focus on presenting exhibitions of Gilbert & George’s works of art—thus continuing as The Gilbert & George Centre.”

Installation view of the Gilbert & George Centre, London. Photo by Prudence Cuming. © Gilbert & George. and Prudence Cuming. Courtesy of White Cube.

They added: “After the deaths of Gilbert & George, it is intended that the properties in Fournier Street occupied by them, which contain their archives will become a place of scholarship and research into the art of Gilbert & George.”

Similarly, the Brown Collection is also open about what happens to the collection in the future. Brown commented that “the museum is not necessarily about creating a legacy. We are just enjoying sharing the collection with the public for now.”

While both positive and negative sides do exist to artists opening up their own spaces, it does feel like the overall benefits to the art consumer outweigh the downsides. Given all the museums we’ve mentioned in this piece are free to enter, it’s also a boon for the art-consuming public who get the chance to see more free exhibitions by a greater range of contemporary artists. While individual private museums, artist-run or otherwise, may come and go, artists setting up their own museums could continue as an ongoing trend. 

Tabish Khan

Night Of Nudies


Michael Flores from The Global Psychotronic Film Society 

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Softcore in the 60's- a magic time before hard kicked in, so many great and now forgotten tease films.


Watch SCUM OF THE EARTH by clicking here!

An innocent college student, Kim Sherwood (Downe), is lured into doing "glamour" poses to earn money for tuition. Once she has done this work she is blackmailed by the photographers into doing more and more explicit posing.

In his autobiography, David F. Friedman wrote that Scum of the Earth was shot in six days, just two weeks after filming on Blood Feast had ended and was filmed in most of the same Miami and Miami Beach locations as in the previous film. It was filmed in black-and-white not to save money, but to intentionally give it a dirty look, "like an old, scratched 16 mm stag film." Friedman had the idea of promoting the film a week before its showing by giving theater audiences comic books of the story. 

Click this link for SCUM OF THE EARTH

Watch LUSTING HOURS by clicking this link!

Presented as an inquiry into the ways of lust, LUSTING HOURS is staged as a documentary. It moves from rural prostitution (the roadhouse) to pornographers, then on to streetwalkers, male hustlers, and high-class call girls. The madam runs the bordello, she depends on the photographer to supply her with pornography; he's in the city, using his camera to lead him into depravity. The streetwalkers risk arrest from the cops and abuse from the johns. Even the call girls have a tough time: from their expenses to their lack of self-reflection. 

Photo: Janet Banzet in LUSTING HOURS.

Janet Banzet (May 17, 1934 – July 29, 1971), also credited as Marie Brent and several other names, was an American actress who appeared in several sexploitation films of the late 1960s and early 1970s. She starred in several provocatively titled films directed by Michael Findlay and Joseph W. Sarno.

Watch Janet Banzet in LUSTING HOURS click here:

Born Jeanette Banzet on May 17, 1934 in Dallas, Texas, Janet Banzet moved to New York in the late 1950s to pursue an acting career. At first the signs were good; she attended Bill Hickey’s acting classes at the HB Studio in Greenwich Village and had a string of roles in off-Broadway theater productions as well as uncredited walk-on parts in the films ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ (1961) and ‘Lilith’ (1964).

An attractive Mary Tyler Moore lookalike, she also had her fair share of newspaper column inches, including a curious mention in Walter Winchell’s Herald Journal gossip column in January 1960 which referred to her as a “bit-player in the off-Broadway ‘Waltz of the Toreadors’ … who inherits $30 million in Texas realty when she becomes 30”. Whatever the truth behind this, Jeanette continued to tread the boards, and in 1963, was reported to be taking a recurring part in the acclaimed ABC police drama ‘Naked City’. The show was cancelled later that year before her big chance came.

By the mid 1960s, acting roles were becoming less frequent, and so she replied to an ad to appear in one of Barry Mahon’s low budget films. Mahon was the king of the first wave of New York sexploitation films, and she featured in an uncredited part in his ‘The Beast That Killed Women’. It was easy money – and she earned more for that afternoon’s work than she did for two week’s work in the theater.

For the rest of the decade, Jeanette featured in a steady sequence of soft core films. Most of the time she hid behind anonymous names like Pat Barnett and Marie Brent for fear of damaging her spiraling mainstream career.

By now mainstream acting parts seemed to have completely dried up, and her film work was increasingly in the cheaper sex films that were being churned out. Concerned that the films were becoming more sexually explicit, Jeanette started supplementing her income by working as a manicurist. One of her last appearances was Stallone’s “The Party at Kitty and Stud’s” as a girl in Central Park who flashes the future Rocky. Reportedly homeless at the time, Stallone took the work out of desperation. “It’s funny how you can readjust your morality for the sake of self-preservation,” he told Playboy in 1978.

She committed suicide on July 29, 1971 in her apartment at 1762 First Ave in New York City. She was due to meet up with friends that evening for dinner – one of whom was Joseph Kaliff, a well know syndicated Broadway columnist and caricaturist. She covered her face with a bag before hanging herself.

The tragic life of Janet Banzet click here

Behind the paywall- Sweden actually started soft core several years before anyone else. Blonde In Bondage in 1957 was banned in many states in the U.S.- in 1957 this film about drugs and sex shocked audiences and the powers that be- but within a few years American filmmakers began doing their own softcore films.

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