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Culture minister visits Tate Modern to launch Artist Rooms

Culture minister Barbara Follett has visited Tate Modern to announce a nationwide display of art recently presented to the nation.

No Title Robert Therrien
Robert Therrien: No Title (Table and Four Chairs) 2003 © Robert Therrien / ARS, NY and DACS, London 2008
Barbara Follett
John Leighton (National Galleries of Scotland), Barbara Follett and David Barrie (The Art Fund) at Tate Modern

The collection of 725 works, one of the most important holdings of contemporary international art in private hands, was assembled by Anthony d'Offay.

A year long initiative called the Artist Rooms 'tour' will bring Robert Therrien's gigantic sculpture of a table and four chairs to Tate Modern in April. Also chosen from the collection for show at Tate Modern is work by Andy Wharhol, Ansem Kiefer, Jeff Koons, Jannis Kounellis and Ed Ruscha.

"One of the best things about Anthony d'Offay's gift is that it is not just about London," said Barbara Follett commenting on the seventeen locations from Orkney to Bexhill.

The minister said that she disagreed with Southwark's famous resident Dr Samuel Johnson who had no time for patrons. She described Anthony d'Offay's gift as being a great benefit to the whole nation.

"We are talking about the value of art and not the price. Most people talk about art in terms of how much it is worth. They leave out the psycological effect. This psycological effect of coming to a place like this is something we must take into account as a government and people in the arts world."

Tate director Nicholas Serota, welcoming the minister, said: "The presence of contemporary art across the UK will be dramatically transformed by the Artist Rooms tour. This new form of dynamic national collection is without precedent anywhere in the world."

The exhibition funding includes 250,000 from The Art Fund.

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