An interesting development in the plans for a new gallery of contemporary art for Birmingham reported here way back in January. A consortium composed of the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, Ikon Gallery and Walsall’s New Art Gallery have won Â£1 million “to spend jointly on contemporary international art over the next five years” reports Terry Grimley in the Post
The collaboration is being seen as a stepping stone to the creation of a new museum of contemporary art for Birmingham. A feasibility study into the museum, first proposed by Ikon Gallery last year, is about to begin.
The former Municipal Bank building on Broad Street has been suggested as one possible location.
Each consortium was asked to identify a theme for its proposed collection, with the West Midlands selecting “The Metropolis â€“ reflections of modern urban life”.
You’ll remember.. actually, you probably won’t as this blog didn’t have many readers back then, but the Big Idea behind having a new contemporary art gallery was that it would act as a “cathedral”, providing an umbrella for further cultural and artists development. As Ikon director Jonathan Watkins said in the original article:
“The more institutions you have, the more artistic activity you can attract, the more artists decide to stay. Then an art market might start to happen. Commercial galleries might decide Birmingham is a good place to be.”
Hmm. Reminds me of a chat I had with Matt Price about developing a community of art critics in the city.
Photo of the Municipal Bank cropped from this old postcard as no-one seems to have taken a decent photo of it recently.