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The Curator Is In, April 7, 2011

Posted on by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

The time has come! Our curators are all ready for your questions!

Jennifer Olivarez: Joe, here’s a question: when will the teepees be coming down?
Joe Horse Capture: We are taking them down tomorrow at 11 AM. They have dried out and the poles are no longer frozen to the ground.
Jennifer Olivarez: Should be a nice day for it!

Karen E.I’m excited about the Titian map of Venice recently acquired by MIA. Will reproductions be produced?

Rachel McGarry: Thanks Karen for singling out Jacopo de’ Barbari’s “View of Venice,” a recent acquisition of the MIA’s that I am very excited about too. It was published in 1500–just around the time young Titian arrived in Venice from his hometown of Pieve di Cento. You can find an image of it on our website now, but stay tuned, there will be many more photos and details of this meticulous portrait of the Renaissance city on our website soon.

Joe Horse Capture: Jennifer Komar Olivarez, what are you working on these days?
Jennifer Olivarez: I’m in the final stages of the book to accompany the upcoming exhibition “Conversations with Wood: Selections from the Waterbury Collection.” Do you want to help looking over the book proofs? Over 500 objects in the book, but we only have about 80 in the exhibition!

Christian Peterson: I’m working on an exhibition of panoramic photographs, covering most of the history of photography, which is going back to the mid-nineteenth century. These photographers wanted to both mimic and extended normal human vision. The show will go up in the gallery this September.

Eike Schmidt: Welcome back, Tom! How was your trip?
Thomas Rassieur: Thanks, Eike! It was great. While I was in New York, I saw the Frick Collection’s show of Rembrandt prints and drawings. It whetted my appetite for the big exhibition of Rembrandt paintings that we will have here at the MIA in the summer of 2012!

Pamela C. S.: Who rules the museum: the artist, the curator or the scenographer?

Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers: I would say: it’s the visitor!

Kevin S.: follow the money…..

A.m. Downs: Don’t forget the docents. Those folks are unsung heroes (and sometimes volunteer mafia/babysitters/bouncers) of the museum.

Jennifer Olivarez: We are increasingly looking for ways for our visitors to have interactive experiences at the museum–we try to keep the art primary to the experience though.

Lori H.: The visitor. Otherwise, the museum is just a building full of stuff.

Kaywin Feldman: I am going to go with the artist; we wouldn’t be here otherwise!

Carissa G.: Yesterday, this page featured a post on the “Veiled Lady” bust, and I, like most everyone who sees her, thinks she’s captivating. I’ve always wondered — is she a study for a larger piece, maybe full-form or life-sized? And if so, where is that work? -cg

Eike Schmidt: She isn’t a study for anything else, but she was very successful at the time. That’s why Monti had porcelain versions made for sale, which further popularized his sculpture.

Monica R.: When will Jerry Rudquist’s painting, Skull Warflower be up on exhibit?

Eike Schmidt: We’re trying to find a wall which is large enough for it.

Katy L.: Other than the MIA, what are your favorite arts museums?

Joe Horse Capture: For me, the Met.

Eike Schmidt: The Museo degli Argenti in Florence, the Musee Jacquemart Andre in Paris, the Hermitage in St Pete. (There seem to be no accents on this keyboard.)

Dennis Michael Jon: So many favorites: Prado, Louvre, Tate Modern, Metropolitan, MoMA

Thomas Rassieur: Katy, that’s a tough question! High on my list would be the British Museum in London and the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers: My favorite arts museum is probably The Menil in Houston: different small-scale and beautiful buildings, and very diverse collections (surrealist paintings, abstract art, African sculpture, Byzantine frescoes, …).

Katy L.: Thanks for the responses. Looks like I better get traveling huh? Dennis, I see your first listed is el Prado. After studying, and then living near Madrid, Spain I have spent a great deal of time there as well as in their national art museum, Reina Sofía. I could look at Dali and Picasso for ages. Have you been? What did you think?

Rachel McGarry: Hmmm, that is a tough one. I love the Palazzo Barberini and the Capitoline Museum in Rome, and the Prado–I’d love in the Velazquez gallery right now.

David Little: I am with Jan-Lodewijk. Menil, Houston is my favorite. I also like Tate Modern and the old MoMA before the expansion.

Christian Peterson: The museum I’m always most excited to visit is the Eastman House in Rochester, NY, which is devoted solely to photography and film. But I usually go there to do research in their library, which probably is the most comprehensive on the subject. I’ll go into their galleries only for breaks or after I’m through with my research. And you don’t have to be a curator to use the library, so, Katy, you too can use it.

Jennifer Olivarez: In the Prado you bump into all the greats from art history class. It is indeed amazing as is the Reina Sofia. I also enjoy design-related exhibitions at MoMA, the Cooper-Hewitt, and the Museum of Arts and Design.

Dennis Michael Jon: ‎@Katy Linforth – Yes, I’ve been to the Reina Sofia. An easy walk from the Prado. It’s a marvelous museum and houses Picasso’s Guernica mural among many other treasures.

Angel A: Did you ever figure out why there is a footman’s helm on the jousting armor from Hungary or Prussia?

Jennifer Olivarez: Angel, our curator of arms and armor is currently traveling, so we’ll see if she logs on, but otherwise, we’ll save that for her!

Karolis D.: How much of the average visitor’s time is attributed to them being lost and unable to find the exit?

Eike Schmidt: Being lost in front of a work of art, hopefully as much as possible. Finding the exit, hopefully never.

Jennifer Olivarez: Karolis, we really try to minimize way-finding problems for our visitors, and train all of our staff to help out (please look for anyone with a badge)! But also remember that some of the best discoveries for visitors are those made when on the hunt for something else–this is a big museum!

Christian Peterson: That’s more likely to happen at a shopping mall, where they don’t want you to leave.

Rachel McGarry: or casinos, where they can’t escape.

Bruce R.: Does the MIA have any Scandinavian Art as part of its permanent collection? I don’t recall ever seeing any?

Jennifer Olivarez: Well, Bruce, we do have a small collection. Right now we have an installation at one of our two off-site areas, the Wells Fargo Center in Minneapolis, featuring Nordic design objects.

Eike Schmidt: Of course we do! Amongst the less obvious, check out the punch bowl with a Swedish banknote, made in c. 1762 in China for Swedish patrons – it’s on view in gallery 209.

Jennifer Olivarez: ‎…continued…I am also researching Finnish design for an exhibition here at the MIA for several years from now. We also have some Finnish printed textiles in the exhibition “Magnifying Nature” at the MIA.

James V.: Speaking of Scandinavian art, I’ve always thought it a shame that the MIA has no painting by Edvard Munch, arguably the most important Scandinavian artist of the 20th century. I know you have a few prints or drawings, but why haven’t you pursued purchasing a canvas?

Rachel McGarry: A Munch painting would be nice, James, I agree, but I have to say, I think Munch is a far more exciting, innovative, and influential printmaker than painter. We have some great examples, but I’d love to see us acquire some more–especially some color woodcuts.

Eike Schmidt: Too bad our predecessors didn’t do that when the museum was founded. Nowadays we would need a lot of patience to wait for one to come up – and a few dozens of millions of dollars would help.

Thomas Rassieur: Call the MIA’s Print Study Room (612-870-3105) to make an appointment to see our fine collection of Anders Zorn prints. We also have several prints by Edvard Munch. We truly welcome people who want to come to the Print Room to explore their interests.

Kelly S.: Does MIA still bring reproductions into the class rooms of young children for discussion/Q&A? This had a huge impact on me as a child. It sparked my curiosity and made art seem more accessible.

Joe Horse Capture: We sure do. You must have went on an Art Adventure!

Kelly S.: Yup, thats the one! Thank you!

Joe Horse Capture: anytime!

Hazel B.: How long does it typically take to go through the Titian exhibit?

Eike Schmidt: I’ve been trying since the opening to get through the exhibition, but typically I don’t get further than the Jacopo de’ Barbari map.

Rachel McGarry: There are just 26 works in the show but a number of these works are extraordinary masterpieces, which can hold your attention for hours. I try to go up to this show everyday, and I always discover something new.

Carissa G.: I spent almost two hours, and it’s just four or five rooms. Then I bought the book. Couldn’t get enough of the great old masters. -cg

Kate B.: Curators: What is a part of your job that might surprise someone who doesn’t work in the museum field?

Jennifer Olivarez: Maybe that I look after two houses–my own, and the museum’s, the Purcell-Cutts House! But that’s not typical of most art museum curators.

Thomas Rassieur: We have a special place, the Herschel V. Jones Print Study Room, where anyone can make an appointment to come see works of art that are not currently on view. Call 612-870-3105 or e-mail printstudy@artsmia.org to make an appointment. After doing this as a young man in my 20s, I loved it so much that I changed careers and wound up as a curator!

David Little: We have to be detectives. When organizing exhibitions, we spend a lot of time making up lists of artworks that we want and then try to figure out where works are hiding. This is particularly the case when works move into private collections. In the contemporary field, galleries also play an important role since they are connected to the artist who made the work and often have collector records.

Andy C.: Where can I buy original and affordable art? Thanks in advance!

Rachel McGarry: At the MIA Print and Drawing Fair. Come check it out; April 16-17, with the Benefit Preview Party April 15.

Thomas Rassieur: That’s right, the Print and Drawing Fair is a great opportunity. Click on “Events” to see more details.

Jennifer Olivarez: Don’t forget about our wonderful media-specific craft and art organizations in the Twin Cities, such as the Northern Clay Center, the Textile Center, the High Point Center for Printmaking, and the Center for Book Arts–all have galleries and/or shops where local and national artists are shown.In addition to the Print and Drawing Fair, of course!

Christian Peterson: There are a number of public events at artists’ studios in both Mpls. and St. Paul where you can see their studios and buy directly from them. One of the largest is “Art-a-Whirl,” which I think is coming up in May. Try googling the name for details.

Heidi Q.: the MCAD art sale! And the MIA’s Prints and Drawings Fair!

Joe Horse Capture: Thanks everyone–see you next time!

Rachel McGarry: See you next month….or come find us at the MIA Print Fair April 16-17.

Minneapolis Institute of Arts: Over and out until next time!

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