LONDON’S ART FUND announced the appointment of artist Isaac Julien to its board of trustees for a five year term. Art Fund is a national fundraising charity that encourages exposure and access to art in public collections throughout the UK by supporting museum and gallery acquisitions, exhibitions, special curatorial projects, tours, and professional training and development. The board is composed of curators, scholars, and former government officials. Julien is the body’s sole artist.

“I feel honoured to be joining the board for Art Fund, a charity I have long admired for their commitment to growing public collections, and access to them, for everyone across the UK. I look forward to bringing my knowledge of contemporary art and artists’ film to the incredible expertise of the board,” Julien said in the announcement.

“I feel honoured to be joining the board for Art Fund, a charity I have long admired for their commitment to growing public collections, and access to them, for everyone across the UK.” — Artist Isaac Julien

According to the fund, it is supported independently by 123,000 members. In 2015, its charitable activities reached nearly $14 million. Over the past five years, investments were about $42 million. Forty percent of grants are directed toward contemporary acquisitions and commissions.

Among its endeavors, the fund helped Cartwright Hall Art Gallery in West Yorkshire acquire “Wanderer” by Yinka Shonibare MBE in 2007, and through public appeals enabled the purchase of “Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle” by Shonibare in 2012 for permanent display outside the National Maritime Museum in London. The Victoria & Albert Museum was named Art Fund Museum of the Year 2016, a designation that includes a prize of about $124,000.

A TURNER-PRIZE NOMINATED ARTIST and filmmaker, Julien lives and works in London. Recognized for his innovative approach to film and the inventive multi-screeen gallery installations he creates to present them, Julien’s visual narratives reference a range of disciplines from dance, photography and music, to theatre, painting and sculpture. He received early acclaim for “Looking for Langston,” a 1989 drama-documentary about poet Langston Hughes and the Harlem Renaissance. More recently, major film installations have included “PLAYTIME” (2014), which examines art, finance, and the global flow of capital, and “Ten Thousand Waves” (2010), an exploration of China’s past and present through a series of interconnected narratives.

Julien participated in the 2015 Venice Biennale curated by Okwui Enwezor, where he presented the first chapter of “7 Songs for Lina Bo Bardi,” a work in progress about the life and designs of Lina Bo Bardi, an Italian-bord Brazilian architect.

“Isaac Julien: Playtime” is on view at Platform-L in Seoul, Korea (Feb. 22-April 30, 2017) and his work is featured in “The Place is Here,” a group exhibition at Nottingham Contemporary that traces some of the urgent conversations among the UK’s black artists, writers and thinkers during the 80s about identity and representation.

“Art Fund trustees play a crucial role in ensuring that money we raise is used in the best possible way to support museums and galleries,” Board Chair Lord Smith of Finsbury said.

“We are working more closely with artists than ever before. It is wonderful to have such an esteemed artist join our board, and we know that Isaac will be a valuable addition to the board’s skillset.” CT


TOP IMAGE: Nov. 30, 2015 – Isaac Julien poses with Stones Against Diamonds (Ice Cave) his installation for the Rolls-Royce Art Programme, presented in partnership with the National YoungArts Foundation at their Jewel Box, Art Basel in Miami Beach. | Photo by Rodrigo Varela, Getty Images for Rolls-Royce


Described as an intellectual biography, “Isaac Julien: Riot” is the first volume to explore his entire career. Rife with images, bell hooks is among the scholars who weigh in on his work. “Isaac Julien: Playtime & Kapital” is forthcoming next month.


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