In a climate of increasingly ferocious arts funding cuts, the role of the cultural philanthropist has rarely been more significant. Photographer Stuart Leech is working with Spear’s magazine to exhibit an interesting set of pictures which explores the relationship between altruistic donors and the various ways in which their largesse is recognised. From the solemn stone inscriptions of the British Museum to the modern, monochrome typographic treatment of the Design Museum, and from funny theatre seat dedications to ornate gold leaf inscriptions, Stuart’s series (taken over the course of a single day) tells us something about generosity and the need for it to be validated.
Spear’s editor Josh Spero said he was struck by the amount of names that reoccur across various museums and galleries but added: “The variety of donors is heartening, reflecting the percolation of the philanthropic ideal (and necessity) throughout society. Philanthropy in this way has acquired a fashionable patina, which is no bad thing, although like most fashions, there is the danger it might be replaced. What we need to do is ensure it endures — the question is how.”
To find out more about the show, which takes on February 12 in London, email Josh.