What’s Next? 100 Years of the Contemporary Art Society: Inside Public Collections

Byatt, Lucy
Troy, Charlotte
London: Contemporary Art Society

‘What’s Next?’ capitalises on the centenary moment of the Contemporary Art Society as a chance to reflect on its productive history of patronising public art collections but also as impetus to adapt and consider better practice for the future. The CAS exists to raise funds to purchase art for public collections and has done so since 1910. A reflection by the two directors highlights the importance of their audience to this activity, this audience who supports the collections via donations, bequests, friends groups and societies. A sample of this audience is featured in a conversation about the current challenges and ambitions facing them as supporters of fine arts in today’s economy where a global recession and cutbacks to national spending have curbed the growth of the UK’s national collections. ‘What’s Next?’ summarises the yearlong programme of centenary activity throughout their member institutions, outlines their Centenary Fellowship Programme, and displays images and conversations from artists included in their anniversary year activity. Arising from the conversations and essays in this text is the ambition to improve networks between patrons, curators and artists. Director Lucy Byatt speaks of the reliance of these national collections on relationships, and through them the possibility of encouraging the development of curatorial knowledge.

Shelby Lakins