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18 Apr 2019

Elton John makes significant V&A donation for photography collaboration
BY Luke Cloherty

Sir Elton John and David Furnish at home in their art gallery

Sir Elton John and David Furnish at home in their art gallery
photo: Dave Benett Getty Images for the V&A

London’s V&A Museum has announced a partnership with Elton John and his husband, David Furnish, that will see its Gallery 101 in the newly opened V&A Photography Centre renamed 'The Sir Elton John and David Furnish Gallery'.

The musician and his husband have also made a huge but undisclosed donation to the museum, which John says is "known for its dedication to teaching, public research facilities and learning-based exhibitions focused on the mechanics and history of the photographic arts".

The link-up will see a major co-curated temporary photography exhibition to be held at the Photography Centre announced soon and furthers the museum’s association with British classic rock legends, following its mammoth David Bowie and Pink Floyd exhibitions in recent years.

Bringing together some of the V&A’s vast 800,000 strong photography collection and that of John and Furnish – a 7,000 piece collection the V&A calls "one of the greatest private photography collections in the world" – the collaboration will be ongoing and will have a focus on the contemporary.

Work from artists in John and Furnish’s collection that will be on display includes that by modern masters such as Man Ray, André Kertész, Dorothea Lange and Edward Steichen and contemporary active artists such as Cindy Sherman, Alec Soth and Alex Prager.

"We're immensely grateful to Sir Elton John and David Furnish for their generosity in supporting our Photography Centre and mission to make historic and contemporary photography available to the widest possible audience," said Tristram Hunt, director of the V&A.

"We're united by a deep commitment to the medium, and there are huge synergies between our collections, particularly around 20th-century modernist and contemporary colour photography."

Elton John, meanwhile, added: "For David and me, this commitment to education and this mission to celebrate the medium present a perfect partnership.

"The new Photography Centre, along with the 2022 extension, will not only elevate photography but it will help foster new artists, patrons and collectors, like myself.

"We hope that audiences will walk away with the same excitement and appreciation for photography, as I did when I first started collecting."



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