Right About Now: Recent Acquisitions at No.9 Cork Street

9 November 2021

In our 75th anniversary year, we are excited to launch Right About Now, an exhibition featuring a selection of our recent acquisitions.

Opening on Friday 3 December at Frieze’s new gallery space No.9 Cork Street, this free exhibition is the most extensive display of Arts Council Collection acquisitions to date, and highlights a diverse selection of artworks by 18 artists. From multi-part installations to painting and moving image, the works displayed joined the Collection in 2019–2021 and represent some of the best and most ambitious modern and contemporary British art. 

Right About Now will bring 33 works together across two floors of No.9 Cork Street. The artworks on display include Adam Farah’s I AM FREE (FREE AM I MIX), 2018. Displayed on the ground floor of the gallery, the work is a wall-sized poster featuring the artist wearing a t-shirt custom-printed with lyrics from the song ‘I Am Free’ by Mariah Carey. It represents an important influence in the artist’s life. The photograph has been digitally manipulated to express the desire to feel and be free enough to fly, while also being an ode to the power and life force of friendships. 

Liv Preston’s sculpture DOG QUEST, 2020, depicts a dog’s head. Cast from a piece of graffiti found in an outbuilding at an abandoned slate mine in North Wales, this object considers the representation and consistent presence of dogs in human culture. The word ‘quest’ in the work’s title alludes to its method of production by a team assembled to document the graffiti, rendering it as something closer to a treasure or relic than simply a record of a surface.

Magda Stawarska-Beavan’s installation Bracka 40, 2020, examines the city of Łódź in the artist’s native Poland, providing glimpses of Jewish lives obliterated by the Nazi ghettoisation of the city during the Second World War. Her delicate panels of printed and hand-painted paper hang from the ceiling, depicting rooms where rituals of parting and death once took place. Images of a cemetery are accompanied by a soundscape of birdsong and traffic noise, illustrating how an important layer of the cultural fabric was torn from the landscape, never to be replaced or mended.


Of the 98 artworks we acquired in 2019–2021, many of the remaining 65 not represented in Right About Now are already on display or committed to loan in exhibitions across the UK and abroad, fulfilling the Collection’s mission to bring art to every corner of the country through loans to museums, galleries, schools, hospitals, and other public institutions. Head to the Right About Now exhibition page on our website to view details of these loans and where they can be seen in venues across the country including Cardiff, London, Penzance, Sunderland and The Hague, the Netherlands. Beyond our 75th year, we will continue to extend our reach to have a greater impact, establishing the Arts Council Collection as everyone’s national Collection.


Images: (Above) Edward Allington, Metropolitan Egypt from the East / of London, 1987 © Estate of Edward Allington. Image courtesy of Thalia Allington-Wood. Gift of the artist’s estate, (Right) Magda Stawarska-Beavan, Bracka 40, 2020 © the artist.

The Arts Council Collection : Right About Now: Recent Acquisitions at No.9 Cork Street

Deborah Smith, Director of the Arts Council Collection, says: “We value the remarkable work that has built the Arts Council Collection and kept it in extraordinary condition during our 75 year history. Our mission now is to extend the impact of the Collection, so that it has a greater influence on more people: a greater impact on collection artists, on curators and partners, and on our audiences and participants across the UK. We are thrilled to present Right About Now at No.9 Cork Street as a celebration of our 75th anniversary year, and an opportunity to connect audiences with extraordinary British artists.” 

<p>Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, says: <em>“Throughout its history the Arts Council Collection has supported artists throughout the UK, often at a very early stage in their career, and has given people an opportunity to enjoy the best of British art in museums, galleries, schools and public places across the country. We’re delighted to mark its 75th anniversary by presenting these latest acquisitions, which are an exciting addition to the Collection and demonstrate the diversity of talent working across the country today.”</em></p><p> </p><p><strong><a href="https://artscouncilcollection.org.uk/exhibition/right-about-now" target="_blank"><em>Right About Now</em></a> is at 9 Cork Street, London W1S 3LL, 03 - 15 December 2022</strong></p><p> </p><p> </p><p> </p>


The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.