An Interview with Jo Baring, Director of The Ingram Collection

11 January 2017

As Director and Curator of the Ingram Collection, Jo Baring regularly works with some of the Modern British era's greatest art pieces. Here at The Lightbox, we're lucky to work with Jo on exhibiting many of these works, including at our upcoming exhibition at London Art Fair, 'Ten Years: A Century of Art'. Ahead of the fair next week, we had a chat with Jo about life at The Ingram Collection.  

For those that might not know, can you explain the story behind The Ingram Collection, and what kind of artworks it is comprised of?

The Ingram Collection is acknowledged to be one of the best private collections of Modern British art in the world. It belongs to Chris Ingram, a philanthropist and serial entrepreneur, who started collecting in 2002. The collection comprises over 650 works of art, of which 450 are by the most significant and important artists of the Modern British era – such as Barbara Hepworth, Edward Burra, Elisabeth Frink, Lynn Chadwick and Eduardo Paolozzi. Items from the collection are regularly requested for national and international museum and gallery shows.


Chris Ingram with Goggle Head, 1969 by Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) © The Estate of Elisabeth Frink, Image © JP Bland Photography

Are there any pieces in the collection that you are particularly fond of?

The Ingram Collection provides a tremendous insight into the art produced in Britain in the 20th century. It is a collection of great depth and that, for me, is what makes it particularly exciting. It has tremendous highlights and features a fantastic array of artists, with major works by key artists that are regularly requested for exhibitions. It is so hard for me to pick a favourite, but if I had to, it would be Dame Barbara Hepworth’s Sculpture with Colour and Strings. I have a real passion for sculpture. This piece is one of the works going on display at the 2017 London Art Fair.


Sculpture with Colour and Strings, conceived in plaster in 1939 and cast in bronze in 1961, Bronze with a light brown and light green patina and string, Barbara Hepworth © Bowness, photo © Peter Jones

What might happen on your typical day in the life as The Ingram Collection’s Curator?

No day is the same. The collection contains over 650 works, all of which are available for public loan and display.  Over the past year, 435 works from the collection were shown publicly in the UK. The collection has been lent to places such as the Royal Academy, The Hepworth Wakefield, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Kettle’s Yard and Somerset House.  

We also operate with a total lack of hierarchy when it comes to loan venues. We believe that access to art can improve outcomes for disadvantaged groups and our collection inspires transformative outreach projects for adults with learning difficulties, for those struggling with mental health issues and for restorative work with prisoners. We are proud of our association with The Clink charity and Paintings in Hopsitals. We welcome approaches from charities and unusual exhibition spaces with innovative ideas to encourage people to engage with art. I am responsible for this loans and exhibitions programme, and for the exhibitions and displays at The Lightbox, to whom we also loan the collection.

Supporting young talent is another extremely important strand for us. Chris is on the Vice Chancellor’s Advisory Board at the University of Arts, London and together we are regular visitors to graduate arts shows, where we buy works from emerging artists. Last year we held our inaugural Young Contemporary Talent Purchase Prize at a gallery space in London’s Waterloo which was extremely well received. There is a never a dull moment and none of this would be possible without the work of our Collections Manager, Alison Price.

 
Century: 100 Modern British Artists’ at Jerwood Gallery, Hastings © Peter Jones

Do you have any favourite exhibitions that have featured works lent by the collection?

My favourite exhibition, which has just closed, was ‘Century: 100 Modern British Artists’ at Jerwood Gallery, Hastings. Curated by writer and lecturer James Russell, this exhibition brings together one hundred Modern British artists, showcasing a vibrant mix of paintings, sculpture and works on paper selected from the Ingram and Jerwood Collections. It was the largest show of Modern British Art exhibited at the gallery and received great press. It was a joy to work on with the external curator James Russell, Jerwood Collection curator Lara Wardle and the team at Jerwood Gallery, led by their Director Liz Gilmore. 

What can we expect from the collaborative exhibition with The Lightbox at London Art Fair this January, ‘Ten Years: A Century of Art’?

At London Art Fair we are staging an exhibition called ‘Ten Years: A Century of Art’. This is a celebration of our 10 years of partnership with The Lightbox and is an exhibition showcasing highlights from The Ingram Collection. The display, curated by me and Peter Hall, Curator, The Lightbox, will demonstrate the breadth, depth, and quality of the Ingram Collection spanning a century rich in artistic innovation and discovery. Come and see for yourselves!

London Art Fair takes place 18-22 Jan 2017, at the Business Design Centre, Islington
BOOK TICKETS HERE

More information about The Ingram Collection at www.ingramcollection.com

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