The Science Museum insists it has no plans to close the Media Space gallery this year, in response to claims made in a letter signed by more than 80 prominent photographers and artists earlier this week.
Media Space opened in September 2013, after delays
Don McCullin and David Hockney were among high-profile figures to sign a letter protesting about the planned move of a historic photo collection from the National Media Museum in Bradford to London.
Some fear that moving the Royal Photographic Society Collection to the V&A will spell the end of a national photography museum that is able to unite both the science and art aspects of photography.
Furthermore, a letter sent to The Guardian and The Times suggested that the ‘planned closure’ of the Media Space gallery at the Science Museum later this year represented a move to ‘separate the interdependent aspects of the art and science of photography’ that will put the study of photo history in Britain ‘back several decades’.
The letter read: ‘Less than three years ago, the Science Museum opened Media Space – a £4.5m gallery designed as a London showcase for the Bradford collections.
‘At the time, the Science Museum’s director was quoted as saying that there was a “definite correlation between art and science”, but the planned closure of Media Space later this year suggests he has changed his mind.’
However, a spokeswoman for the Science Museum today told Amateur Photographer: ‘Media Space is not closing this year and the India exhibition is scheduled to take place in 2017.’
The India show is due to explore the development of photography as a significant medium within Indian culture.
The spokeswoman added: ‘Media Space will remain a key gallery within the Science Museum and continue to host a wide range of exhibitions and events drawing on the Science Museum Group’s world-class collections…
‘As with the rest of the museum, programming of this space beyond 2017 is under discussion.’
Media Space, which opened in September 2013, is the result of a tie-up with the National Media Museum.
The gallery had originally been due to open in the spring of 2013.
Media Space was forced to scale back its original programme as a result of a decline in grant aid.
In 2012, photographs donated by Michael G Wilson, co-producer of the James Bond films, were sold to help raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for Media Space.
James Bond himself played a part in Media Space’s funding when £47,000 was raised through the auction of a dinner jacket worn by the actor Daniel Craig in the movie Skyfall.