Photography gallery at V&A museum named after Elton John following ‘significant’ donation

Photography gallery at V&A museum named after Elton John following ‘significant’ donation
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Elton John and his husband David Furnish will have a photography gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London named after them following a significant donation.

The singer is a passionate and prolific acquirer of photography and has been collecting art for over 30 years, building one of the world’s finest private collections with an estimated 7,000 photographs ranging from Man Ray to Cindy Sherman.

The V&A museum has the national collection of photography with more than 800,000 photographs, and recently opened phase one of its new photography centre, with phase two extension due in 2022.

The museum announced on Tuesday that John and Furnish have made an undisclosed but significant donation to the new photography centre. Gallery 101 at the V&A will be renamed the Sir Elton John and David Furnish gallery. The move promises a new long-term partnership between the museum and the couple in photography, encompassing a “major co-curated temporary exhibition”, whose details are yet to be released, according to the project statement.

John commented that the V&A is known for “its dedication to teaching, public research facilities and learning-based exhibitions” on the practice and history of photography. He added: “For David and I, this commitment to education and mission to celebrate the medium presents a perfect partnership. The new photography centre, along with the 2022 extension, will not only elevate photography but it will help foster new artists, patrons and collectors like myself.”

Tristram Hunt, the director of the V&A, said it was “immensely grateful” for the couple’s generosity. “We are united by a deep commitment to the medium and there are huge synergies between our collections, particularly around 20th-century modernist and contemporary colour photography.”

John has long supported major photography exhibitions in the past and was a major lender to the V&A’s 2014 Horst P Horst retrospective. In 2016, a selection of works from John’s photography collection were shown at the Tate Modern for The Radical Eye exhibition. The exhibition included works by Tina Modotti, Dorothea Lange and Brassai, among others. Artists such as Cindy Sherman, Alec Soth and Man Ray are also represented in the collection.

“We are delighted to be part of this exciting moment and we hope that audiences will walk away with the same excitement and appreciation for photography, as I did when I first started collecting.”