The Fonds régionaux d'art contemporain (Regional collections of contemporary art - Frac) are public collections of contemporary art created in 1982 as part of the policy of devolution of power set by the government via regional councils in order for art to be present in each and every one of France's region.
Their first mission is to gather a collection, to display it for all kinds of audiences and to invent new ways to educate to contemporary creation. Today, the Fracs' collections gather 25,000 works from 4,200 French and foreign artists. Unlike museums and centres of art, Fracs can't be linked to a unique exhibition place. Fracs' collections are essentially nomadic and use peculiar broadcasting and educating tools.
They are displayed in France and abroad. Every year, a third of the works is exhibited which makes the Fracs' collections the more disseminated collections of France. Mobility defines them as essential players of a policy of cultural land settlement that aims at reducing geographical, social and cultural discrepancies, introducing contemporary art to several different types of audiences.
Their displaying task leads them to simultaneously exhibit several projects in regions every year, nearly 400 exhibitions and 1,300 educating events. It places them at the centre of a network composed of various and numerous loyal partners: art schools museums, centres of art or town council associations, schools and universities, heritage sites or parks, galleries, sometimes hospitals etc.
In 2013, the entirety of the exhibits organized for the Frac's 30th Anniversary welcomed over 806,000 visitors, around various events all over the country. The joint exhibition that was presented at the Midi-Pyrénées Frac - les Abattoirs in Toulouse, entitled Les Pléiades, was seen by more than 39,000 visitors. This initiative made it possible to touch a broad public, also through outreach activities, in train stations for example.
The International Presence of the Frac
Over the past several years, initially under the impetus of the five Frac Grand Est, and then through Platform, the Association of French Regional Contemporary Art Funds, a large number of works have been shown in various countries: Italy and Poland in 2003, Spain and the United Kingdom in 2004, Germany and Slovakia in 2005, Israel and the Czech Republic in 2006, Argentina, Croatia, Italy, and Romania in 2007, Belgium and Lithuania in 2008. The year 2010 takes on particular importance for Platform and the 23 Frac with Spatial City and its three stops in the Midwest.
Diversity and singularitu of the collections
The 26,000 works acquired by the Frac are part of an ambitious and selective approach to the most progressive artistic proposals produced largely since the 60s, by artists from five continents.
Within these twenty-three entities, each director, as part of the artistic and cultural project supported, expresses many orientations and distinct perspectives on contemporary art through the acquisition policies encouraged. To help them in the definition of this policy and the choice of works, a technical acquisition committee is formed from voluntary members including art critiques, museum curators, directors of art centres, exhibition commissioners, artists, leading figures or private collectors.
Mindful of cutting-edge artistic creations or developed out of a keen interest in a specific field of artistic creativity, dominant features and sheer diversity lend structure to collections formed of 200 to 3,000 works: paintings; sculptures; drawings; photographs; videos; installations; architectural models ...at least half of which are by French artists.
Purchasing works from artists and galleries remains the main form of enrichment thanks to yearly grants allocated by the State and regions, completed sometimes by those from other regional authorities or patrons. However, many of the Frac request the commission or production of works, including individual or group exhibitions, residencies or any artist involvement in a dissemination, publication or mediation project. Artists or generous donors also contribute through donations for the enrichment of collections.
For the first time, the website "les collections des Frac" offers an easier access to these 23 collections, which list over 26,000 works acquired between 1981 and today.