The Media Space gallery in London has won u2018long-termu2019 backing from Virgin Media and funds from the sale of a dinner jacket worn by James Bond in Skyfall.
Picture credit: © 1962-2012 Danjaq, LLC and United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.
Due to open in London in June 2013, Media Space is the result of a tie-up between the Science Museum and the National Media Museum (NMM) in Bradford, West Yorkshire, which recently announced major cost cuts.
Project bosses today said Virgin Media has made a ‘long-term commitment’ as principal sponsor of Media Space – a gallery that will take over a 1,800m2 purpose-built area on the second floor of the Science Museum in South Kensington.
A 500m2 exhibition area will play host to two major exhibitions a year, while installations and events will be staged in a 290m2 ‘flexible studio space’.
The first exhibition will showcase around 80 scientific photos from 1850-1920, plucked from the NMM’s and Science Museum’s historic collections.
The work of British photography inventor William Henry Fox Talbot will feature in the show, which will be called ‘Revelations: Experiments in Photography’ and run from June-September 2013 with a £6 entrance fee.
Daniel Craig jacket boost funds
Support from the makers of the James Bond films continues to play a vital role in funding Media Space’s development, according to a statement released by the Science Museum today.
‘A major donor for the project is the Dana and Albert R Broccoli Foundation set up by the family of the late Bond producer “Cubby”.’
The Science Museum adds: ‘A photography auction at Christie’s in May raised £370,000 toward the project and the recent James Bond 50th Anniversary auction raised a further £47,000 through the sale of the Tom Ford dinner jacket worn by Daniel Craig in Skyfall.’
Bond film co-producer Michael G Wilson, a former chairman of the National Media Museum, donated photos from his own collection to the fund-raising auction and has played a key role since the project was first mooted more than seven years ago.
The project had attracted an initial budget of nearly £9m, but that was before a £2.8m Heritage Lottery Fund bid was reportedly rejected in 2009.
Earlier this year, Amateur Photographer (AP) revealed that more than half of the £4m needed to fund Media Space would need to come from private sources, such as corporate sponsorship and donations from individuals.
Artists today confirmed as lending their support to the project include photographers Mary McCartney and Luc Delahaye.
Media Space, before building work began
Project ‘long overdue’
Media Space will use the NMM’s archives ‘as a starting point to explore, exhibit and discuss works by contemporary artists across a variety of disciplines’.
Ian Blatchford, director and CEO of the Science Museum Group, said the project was ‘long overdue’.
He added: ‘The National Photography Collection ought to be widely known and exhibited because it really is astonishing in quality and scale.
‘We hope to reach diverse audiences and the dynamic, innovative and compelling programme at Media Space will make this happen.’
Hannah Redler, the recently appointed head of Media Space and the Science Museum Arts Programme, said: ‘Media Space is a
really exciting project that in many ways realises the original vision for South Kensington to be a place where the two cultures of art and science coincide.’
She claimed the venue will offer ‘unprecedented opportunity for our audiences to encounter photographers and artists’ own investigations into our collections’.
Media Space – which will include an on-site café/bar – had been expected to open in spring 2013.
AP understands that organisers have added in contingency time, in a bid to ensure everything is ready for the public opening in June.
Earlier this year, the National Museum of Science and Industry, to which the Science Museum belongs, said it had ‘underwritten’ the full £4m project cost.
This Calotype negative of insect wings (c.1840) by Fox Talbot will be among the first images to go on display at Media Space
Picture credit: National Media Museum Collection
The work of British photographer Clare Strand is also due to go on show
Picture credit: Copyright Clare Strand