Installation view of Ideal [Dis-]Placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer. The Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. Photograph by Robert Pettus

Thinking Museums:
What Do We Do
With the Old Masters?

Clark/Pulitzer Foundation Colloquium
October 25 - 26, 2008

This colloquium, co-sponsored by the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, brought together curators, museum directors, architects, and academics, all inspired by the question: what is to become of the “old masters” in the twenty-first century? Participants asked questions about how best to display permanent collections of older art, relevance (who cares about old masters?), and the relationship to contemporary art and the moving image. This colloquium was inspired by the show Ideal (dis)placements: Old Masters at the Pulitzer. The group, led by Matthias Waschek, director, Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, and Emily Rauh Pulitzer, founder and chairman, Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts, discussed potential results of experiments such as the Pulitzer’s and how lighting conditions and physical spaces affect our seeing and understanding of works of art.

Participants included: Michael Conforti (director, the Clark), Thomas W. Gaehtgens (director, The Getty Research Institute), Francesca Herndon-Consagra (Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts), Eik Kahng (The Walters Art Museum), Judith Mann (Saint Louis Art Museum), Richard Rand (the Clark), Joseph Rishel (Philadelphia Museum of Art), Martha Ward (University of Chicago), Giles Waterford (novelist, independent curator, and director, Attingham Summer School and Royal Collection Studies, London), Stephanie Wiles (director, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College), Stephen Wolohojian (Harvard Art Museum), James N. Wood (president and CEO, The J. Paul Getty Trust), and Kulapat Yantrasast (Partner, wHY Architecture, Culver City, CA).