Every year the Tate receives a welcome addition to its collection courtesy of the Outset/Frieze Art Fair fund, which gives two international curators early access to the fair to work alongside Tate curators to select works for the museum’s collection. With a budget of £150,000—the biggest in the fund’s nine-year history—José Roca, the artistic director of Philagrafika 2010 and curator of the 2011 Mercosul Biennial, and the director of the Kunsthalle Basel, Adam Szymczyk, assisted the Tate in acquiring three new works—all by women.
Two of the artists, the Portuguese Helena Almeida and Polish Alina Szapocznikow, are new to the collection, while the Tate already owns work by the British-born, Mexican-based Melanie Smith, who is representing Mexico at the current Venice Biennale.
“We had the freedom to look for things that we felt were important, and then we examined our choices in relation to the Tate’s collection, whether the museum owned any of the artist’s works, and whether they would complement pieces that were already there,” says Roca.
“We are really pleased,” says Frances Morris, the Tate’s head of international art collections. “The choice of these three artists fits perfectly into our ongoing strategy to readjust the collection to include artists that might have been overlooked or neglected, especially in relation to South America, Eastern Europe and women practitioners.”
Morris also points out that the Outset/Frieze fund’s practice of bringing in external curators to augment Tate’s pool of knowledge chimes with general gallery policy, especially in the sphere of new acquisitions. “Our acquisitions committees often use adjunct curators, but having the two curators here at Frieze is great—it’s a bit like phone a friend—but they are here.”
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Three of the best for Tate'