Whenever we told someone what we were doing, there were inevitably a number of common questions. This page seeks to answer some of the commonly asked questions.
What kind of legal agreement did you have?
We had a legal agreement to be part of “a joint venture for the purpose of developing a collection of Australasian contemporary art, with a focus on art generally not more than five years old at the time of purchase, for the benefit and enjoyment of members.”
Who actually owned the work?
According to our legal agreement, “All artworks purchased by the Group with funds contributed by the members are owned by the members in equal shares.”
How did you choose the works to purchase?
The brief for the group was to collect contemporary Australian art from the first decade of the twenty-first century. With such a brief, we realised there was a lot to choose from, and the choices became even more complicated with the booming art market and with the emergence of new art forms including video. In the early days we did a lot of the research ourselves, but sometimes found ourselves overwhelmed and conflicted about which works to buy when we all have quite different tastes. Later, we employed an independant art advisor (part-time), Lisa Corsi from Art Cell (previously Sherman Galleries and Safari) who has a specialisation in emerging artists. In a practical sense, we operated on a majority voting system, especially when it comes to larger purchases.
How dod you distribute and look after the works?
According to our agremeement, “The collection of artworks will be kept in the members’ homes or other equally secure premises approved by a resolution and will be distributed to members according to their place on the membership roster. Members responsible for artworks will ensure that they are securely hung in an environment free of dust, damp and direct sunlight and not too near or over an open fire or heater. Paint surfaces must not be touched and accidental contact must be avoided by distancing from high traffic areas. Should any artworks be damaged, regardless of cause, repair will only be made at the direction of the Group. The cost will be met by the member responsible for the artwork at the time of the damage, unless the members determines otherwise. A member must hold current home and contents insurance that includes cover for artworks.
What happened if someone wanted to leave the group or dies/divorces?
This did occur during the time of the group and so we were able to rely on the original agreement to work our way through that. According to our agreement, “A member may sell or gift his, her or its share to any purchaser or recipient approved by the members. Upon approval of that purchaser or recipient, at the next General Meeting the member is taken to have resigned. If any member seeks to resign, he, she or it must give notice of their intention to resign to the Secretary of the Group. If there is no approved purchaser, then the Group will repurchase the resigning member’s shares.
According to our agreement, “Six (6) months prior to the tenth AGM the Group will obtain two (2) independent valuations by a valuer recommended by a professional industry association and approved by the members to determine the net realisation worth of each and all assets after deducting estimated freight and other selling expenses.” After this, the Secretary will notify a time and make all necessary arrangements for the holding of a private auction for the purpose of the sale of the assets to individual members. Members will be free to bid for any artwork or artworks using their equity. In the event the artwork remains unsold then the artwork will be disposed of by way of sale to the general public in a manner determined by the Group.
This information is based on our Joint Venture Agreement. It’s an oversimplified version, but we hope it gives you a broad idea of the way in which we have chosen to operate.