A Private Affair

20th May - 15th August 

In 2012, we present a major exhibition series focusing on the people and the stories behind collections – from private collectors to those individuals whose donations and vision founded museum collections such as the Harris’ for the enjoyment of all.

Firstly, A Private Affair tells the personal stories behind private collections of contemporary art asking; why do people collect contemporary art, what influences decisions on collecting, and how does it affect or enhance their lives?

The artworks are on loan from private collectors in the North of England, who have generously agreed to live without some of their favourite items for a while. The exhibition highlights a strong interest in supporting artists and the fascinating journeys undertaken by the collectors. A Private Affair demonstrates a variety of artistic styles from the past 40 years, and includes artists of regional and national importance.

In the summer, A Public Affair will celebrate 130 years of fine art collecting by the Harris. The exhibition will chart the growth of the Harris collection, changing tastes, and the enduring principles of the founders in acquiring new works by artists of the day.


A Private Affair has been curated in collaboration with Mark Doyle, Head of Collector Development, Contemporary Art Society North West.


To view videos about the exhibition and the collectors, and to find out more about the Contemporary Art Society or about how to start your own collection click here


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