Every year the Outset/Frieze Art Fair Fund invites curators to have early access to the fair and, alongside Tate curators, to select works for Tate’s collection. This year’s fund was £120,000. Helen Legg, the director of Spike Island, Bristol, and Daniel Birnbaum, recently appointed director of Stockholm’s Moderna Museet, were this year’s selectors.
Birnbaum reveals the thinking behind their choices: “We were going for quality, not quantity and I hope we managed to find artists that, although not unknown, are not so visible as we would have hoped in European collections. They are all visually strong, and conceptually and politically relevant.”
Lorna Simpson, Five Day Forecast, 1991, Salon 94 (B12)
“Lorna Simpson is a key black American artist and, next to Kara Walker and David Hammons, she plays an important part in the black American art community as well as being a convincing artist in her own right. This is an early seminal work addressing power relationships and all that can be lost in translation. The Tate has a more recent work and this important piece really embeds her into the collection.”
Július Koller, four works, one shown, 1978, Martin Janda (G7)
“On one level these are totally modest works but they are also conceptually rich and have an incredible sense of materiality. They show that the networks of some of these art movements are bigger than we thought: for most of us conceptual art means Joseph Kosuth or Lawrence Weiner, but at the same time conceptually advanced art migrated to Eastern Europe, or maybe the ideas sprang up independently.”
Jimmie Durham, Dans Plusiers, 1993, Kurimanzutto (D4)
“Jimmie Durham is the only key Native American artist who is working both with his own origins and also way, way beyond. This is his first piece to enter the Tate’s collection. We all agreed that this is the right piece. It has a wealth of historical references—the Coca-Cola bottle, the text from Victor Hugo the relationship to Joseph Beuys.”