LONDON, Dec. 22, 2006—The notoriously inconspicuous Arts Council Collection of Great Britain is finally open to the public—online. At least 7,500 works in the council’s collection are on display for all to see on its new Web site, http://www.artscouncilcollection.org.uk, The Guardian reports.
Visitors to the site can view works by more than 2,000 British artists, including Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud, Damien Hirst, Grayson Perry, Paula Rego and Gillian Wearing.
For years, the Arts Council has been difficult to pin down. Formed in 1946 and funded with taxpayers' money, it has had no permanent home, only storage facilities in London and Yorkshire that were hidden far from the public's view.
The main purpose of the collection, which has been administered by the Hayward Gallery in London since 1987, was to lend art to museums in the U.K. But it will now be accessible to general audiences.
"It's a people's collection, a national collection," said Hayward director Ralph Rugoff.