“Church vs. State: Contemporary Collecting Praxis, on exhibition at the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art February 3 – April 11, 2015. Both governmental bodies and religious organizations have long histories in the collection of art that reflects the perceived dispositions of their communities. This practice continues to change and be changed by the dynamics of institutional identity, outside cultural pressure, and the natural cycles of civic participation. As is evident throughout the exhibition, the collecting practices of each institution differ. The state collection aims at gathering a diverse and almost encyclopedic picture of Utah’s cultural production regardless of subject matter and to provide Utah artists with financial support. While the LDS Church, especially through the practices of its museum, collects works that explore and celebrate notions of religiosity, spirituality and faith in relationship to the Mormon experience.
|In 1899, State Representative Alice Merrill Horne sponsored a bill to create a state arts organization and establish a state collection of artwork. In honor of that sponsorship, the collection was named the “Alice Art Collection.” The continued acquisition of artwork by Utah artists comes from purchases selected by the Collection Acquisition Committee and generous donations from patrons and artists.Image: Helen, Lee Greene Richards, oil on canvas, 1911|
|The only state museum of its kind in the country, the Chase Home Museum of Utah Folk Arts has become the place where traditional art and artists from Utah’s ethnic, native, occupational and rural communities share their craft, music and dance with their own communities, their Utah neighbors and with tourists from around the world.Image: Home of the Butterflies Basket, Mary Holiday Black, 1995|
|In 1985, the Legislature passed the Utah Percent-for-Art Act, which designates 1% of construction costs of new and/or renovated state public buildings is added to the project for the purpose of commissioning, maintaining and conserving site specific art at, on, or in the facility. There are over 200 pieces in the Utah Public Art Collection, including a broad range of media from textiles and glass to stone and metal monumental works.Image: Rainbow Cloud, Frank Nockos, aluminum and pigment, 1994; Located at the Utah State Hospital Adult Psychiatric Facility in Provo|
|The Traveling Exhibits Program (TEP), sponsored by the Utah Division of Arts & Museums, is a collaborative partnership with museums, colleges, university and community galleries, arts and cultural centers, libraries and schools in the State of Utah. This program brings the collections and resources of the Division and special exhibits provided by various organizations to you and your community.Image: From the Hills, Sandy Brunvand, Saltgrass Printmakers|
The Utah Division of Arts & Museums partners with Artists of Utah/15 Bytes to feature stories about the artwork in our collection. To read these stories, visit 15bytes.com and search for “inside the vault” in each monthly issue.