Construction boss Jack Kirkland’s collection gets Sheffield outing

While much of construction boss Jack Kirkland’s collection has been loaned for international exhibitions, 13 out of the 14 works going on show at the Graves Gallery in Sheffield next month have never been exhibited in the UK before. 

The exhibition (2 September-2 December) has been organised by Going Public, an initiative launched in 2015 by Museums Sheffield to foster collaboration between major international collectors and regional museums. It follows a show of the London-based philanthropist Valeria Napoleone’s all-female art collection last year. 

The selection on display mirrors Kirkland’s expansive tastes. They include Minimalist sculptures by Carl Andre and Donald Judd, geometrically abstract paintings by Anni Albers and Bridget Riley and  photographs by Lewis Baltz. 

  • Donald Judd, Untitled (1986) (Image: © Donald Judd
    Foundation/VAGA, New York and DACS, London

  • Anni Albers, Study for Triadic II (1969) (Image: © The
    Josef and Anni Albers Foundation / Artists Rights
    Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 2017)

  • Carl André, Nineteenth Copper Cardinal (1975) (Image: © Carl Andre/VAGA, New York and DACS, London 2017)

  • Richard Tuttle, How Red and Blue Become
    Yellow (1971) (Image: © Richard Tuttle, Courtesy Pace

Kirkland, who is a director of the Bowmer & Kirkland construction group, first started buying art around 20 years ago, purchasing a work by the US conceptual sculptor Tom Friedman. While rich in American modernism and Latin American contemporary art, his collection also includes Hellenistic bronzes, a Carracci portrait and an Egyptian faience baboon. 

Kirkland’s sizeable collection of interwar European photography is promised to the Tate, where he is a member of the international council. He is also the chairman of Nottingham Contemporary and a trustee of the Bridget Riley Art Foundation.

For Kirkland, Sheffield is a city close to his heart. “My late mum was from there and of course I am very proud of the building work Bowmer & Kirkland have done and are doing in the city,” he says. “One thing I have noticed when putting this display together is how much of the work I collect relates in one way or another to construction. Maybe the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” 

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