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"Ideas and Ideology: The Art Museum from 1851 to 2001"

This symposium was presented by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Harvard University Art Museums, and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in conjunction with two exhibitions focusing on the history of one of the most influential musuems of the nineteenth century: A Grand Design: The Art of the Victoria and Albert Museum (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, February 25 - May 17, 1998) and The Museum and the Photograph: Collecting Photography at the Victoria and Albert Museum (Clark Art Institute, February 14 - May 3, 1998).

An international group of distinguished scholars gathered at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to evaluate the achievements of museums as evolving social and aesthetic institutions, exploring the potential of new social and cultural roles for museums around the world. Four moderated sessions of papers given by leading figures in academia and the art museum covered history, philosophy, sociology, and museuology while looking at the achievement of art museums in the past and the present.

Thursday, April 23

The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Art Museum Enterprise
Michael Conforti
Director, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute

Creating a Museum: The Museum of Fine Arts and Its Models
Anne Poulet
Russell B. and Andrée Beauchamp Stearns Curator of European Decorative Arts and Sculpture, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Friday, April 24

Art Museum Collections: Definitions and Their Limitations
Moderated by Malcolm Baker
Deputy Head of Research, Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Talks included:

  • At Home in the Museum
    Anne Higgonet
    Department of Art History, Wellesley College

    African Objects in Museums of Art
    Susan Vogel
    Independent scholar, New York

  • Aestheticism and the Cult of the Original in the Turn-of-the-Century Art Museum
    Alan Wallach
    Ralph H. Wark Professor of Art and Art History and Professor of American Studies, Department of Art and Art History, The College of William and Mary

  • Art for a Parish or Art for Eternity? -- The Municipal Art Museum in Britain
    Giles Waterfield
    Director, Attingham Summer School and Royal Collection Studies, London

Politics, Purpose, and Practice
Moderated by Andrew McClellan
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Art and Art History, Tufts University

Talks included:
  • Art, Government, and the Social
    Tony Bennett
    Professor of Cultural Studies, Director, Center for Cultural and Media Policy, Faculty of Arts, Griffith University, Brisbane

  • Aluminum and the Art Museum: The Practice and Practicalities of Corporate Sponsorship
    Sarah Nichols
    Chief Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts, Carnegie Museum of Art

  • Art, Envy, and Exclusion
    Mark O'Neill
    Head of Curatorial Services, Glasgow Museums

  • The Fading Ideals of French Museums
    Dominique Poulot
    Professor, Modern History, Institut Universitaire de France -- Université de Tours

Saturday, April 25

Are Art Museums' Aesthetic and Educational Roles Mutually Exclusive?
Moderated by Ivan Gaskell
Winthrop Curator of Paintings, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University Art Museums

Talks included:
  • Pushing the Boundaries: Assessing the Long-Term Impact of Museum Experiences
    John H. Falk
    Director, Institute for Learning Innovation, Annapolis

  • Public Scholarship as a Vocation
    Ivan Karp
    National Endowment of the Humanities Professor, Institute of African Studies, Emory University

  • Beauty and the Beast: The Challenges of Theory in the Practice of Museum Education
    Danielle Rice
    Senior Curator of Education, Philadelphia Museum of Art

  • The Art Museum as Palace: Courtly Ghosts and Aristocratic Artifacts
    Stephen E. Weil
    Emeritus Senior Scholar, Center for Museum Studies, Smithsonian Institution

The Art Museum (For Now): The Challenge of the Contemporary
Moderated by Peter Nisbet
Daimler-Benz Curator, Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums

Talks included:
  • Curiousity as a Paradigm for the Contemporary Museum
    Stephen Bann
    Professor, School of Arts and Image Studies, Rutherford College, University of Kent at Canterbury

  • The Ethics of the Museum after Duchamp: A Naive Theory
    Thierry de Duve
    Visiting Professor, Department of Art, University of Pennsylvania

  • Musealizing Media: Media Installation in the Museum Context
    Boris Groys
    Professor for Aesthetics and Media Theory, Center for Art and Media Technology, Karlsruhe

  • The Modern Museum as Collector
    Richard Wollheim
    Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of California, Berkeley

For more information, contact the Research and Academic Program or call 413-458-0460.

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