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The Curator Is In, May 3, 2012

Posted on by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

MIA: Our curators are now online. They’d like to know what you love about the MIA and what we could do better. Feel free to ask the curators questions too.

Jon S.: Hi! Just wondering if the MIA bought “The Scream“? :-)

Christopher Atkins: Ha! I heard a rumor but nothing has been confirmed yet.

Jennifer Olivarez: Chris, if we did buy “The Scream,” we’d be saving our pennies for the next few years for art purchases, at least!

Christopher Atkins: JKO: haha, saving LOTS of pennies and looking for change in the period room couch cushions.

Thomas Rassieur: If we bid that high, our trustees might look like the figure in the picture!

Kyle J.: I love the MIA – you do a fantastic job of keeping it current and changing it up to make it interesting. Still, I wish we had more Greco-Roman art. Our Doryphoros statue is superb, and our other smaller Mediterranean statues are great too. Still, this is one area I would love to see expanded. That, and our William-Adolphe Bouguereau collection – can never get enough.

Thomas Rassieur: Kyle, I love classical art, too. Unfortunately, it’s really difficult to collect in this area. Much of the material that appears on the market was quite possibly looted.

Corine Wegener: Kyle, I also wish we had more Greek and Roman works of art. However, it is tough to find pieces on the art market with documented history of leaving the country of origin prior to 1970, which is part of our collecting policy for antiquities. Those that do have a documented history of ownership tend to bring very high prices.

Kyle J.: I imagine that makes things exceedingly difficult. Although the copy is not “ancient,” I still love the fact that we have a Borghese Gladiator/Warrior on loan. This is a simple example of the great things the MIA does. We should borrow all the good, ancient statues! :) Have anything to share about Bouguereau?

Charlotte E.: I confess to being a partisan of MIA (& a professional colleague). Was there briefly on Sunday afternoon and all the galleries I visited looked great. Fabulous collections, beautifully installed, some amazing new acquisitions and recently conserved works shown in a new light. I only have KUDOS for MIA curators (& can’t get get on board with the “for worse” part of this, though I appreciate the spirit of community engagement via social media). Voila: 2 cents.

Thomas Rassieur: Hi Charlotte! Sorry I missed you during your visit here, but thanks for the vote of confidence in the MIA!

Jennifer Olivarez: Thanks Charlotte! It was great to hear our colleagues’ comments about the MIA during the AAM conference! We appreciate the pats on the back!

Strickland Vintage Watches: Minneapolis Institute of Arts, we so love your Facebook posts … they help assuage the pangs of not being there in person!

Monte M. M.: To the curators: Thank you!!

Laura C.: Would love to see the expansion of your Mesoamerica collection!

Joe Horse Capture: So would we! We insure that the objects we acquire comply with state, federal, and international laws. There are a very limited amount of Meso-American objects on the market that are in full compliance, which makes it difficult for us to collect. But we will be installing a small exhibition in gallery 255 this fall that will feature objects and textiles from our permanent collection.

Brad L.: Hmm…How to improve the MIA? No doubt there are ways, but it is such a treasure as it is now. Please continue the arts leadership you are so well known for. The rotating exhibits are great, love the art carts, the photography collection, well, just about everything.

Here is an additional thought. One style of exhibit that captures me the most are where everyday ancient objects are placed in the context of their time, e.g. the Chinese scholar’s study and the Chinese meeting room. I don’t know exactly …why I like this style so much, other than to say it feels as if I am inside the art, rather than just looking at it from the outside. The European salon exhibit captured some of this sense as well.

Dave E.: any chance of putting the sand mandala horizontal, like it was meant to be? (or putting a painting on the floor? surrounded by velvet ropes, of course)

Jennifer Olivarez: Hi Dave, it’s not in my department, but yes, theoretically, we could show the mandala on the floor or horizontally, such as on a pedestal. I think it has mainly been displayed on the wall due to a need to keep floor space open, as it does take up quite a bit of floor space when shown horizontally. Something to keep in mind if we re-install the Asian art collections in the future or want to highlight the work in some way. I think it would need to be close to the ground for the best viewing of the colors and designs.

Jennifer Olivarez: We curators heard a lot at this weeks’ American Association of Museums conference about including the visitors’ voice in the musem in different ways. How do you visitors see yourselves being included in what we curators do here? (e.g. anyone for sharing label writing duties? Just kidding–but a serious request for your thoughts.)

Carissa G.: When I was in Boston in 2010, select works had poetry posted next to them — some of it, I believe, by patrons. Has MIA worked with poets? -cg

Jennifer Olivarez: Carissa, I have heard of that idea, or even of asking prominent people in the community to give their own audio interpretation of specific works. Definitely an interesting idea, kind of an “Art in Bloom” flower interpretation idea transferred to poetry paired with artworks.

Thomas Rassieur: I’ve included poetry in exhibitions but have not yet worked directly with poets. Sounds like it could be fun. Anyone have a poem on a work of art the you’d like to share right here?

Carissa G.: I will nerd out by saying that I enjoyed the “Flickr” feature recently on hauntings. More short, fun stuff like that would be great. For instance, is there documentation about where and how any particular work was displayed when it was still under private ownership? Photographs of a painting or sculpture in situ in a private mansion a century ago? -cg

Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers: In the exhibition “iAfrica: Connecting with Sub-Saharan Art” (2009-2010), we included a photograph of the apartment of Arman, the French-American artist who had an excellent collection of African art. The photo was displayed next to a fantastic West African sculpture (a rhythm pounder from the Senufo people) that is visible on the photo. It would have been even better, of course, to have an image of the object in use in a Senufo village…

Carissa G.: Excellent — and was it placed online for those of us who have to travel 350 miles each way to visit you? :)

Carissa G.: I must say, I loved how the museum supplemented the traveling Titian show (which I was able to attend) with its own prints. I’m sure that was an obvious move, but the “supersize” bonus was appreciated. -cg

Sheila R.: If you could buy any piece for any amount of funds, what would you get?

Ericka A.: Mucha, probably the Moravian singing group piece.

D’Arcy A.T.: I always wanted Brower Hatcher’s ‘Prophecy of the Ancients‘…

Corine Wegener: A major piece of furniture by 18th century cabinetmaker André-Charles Boulle (and anything by Peter Paul Rubens.)

Liz Armstrong: From the universe of artworks that are available (i.e., not in other collections), it would be Ed Keinholz’s 1959 “Mother Sterling,” his first figurative sculpture and a turning point in modern and contemporary art.

Yesenia G.A.: Chuck Close’s self portrait at the Walker has always been one of my favorites.

Jennifer Olivarez: How about Edvard Munch’s “The Scream“? I have to say when I heard about the sale yesterday (for $199M) I fantasized about how we could use that painting at the MIA if it were ours.

Barbara H.: Veiled Lady – my absolute favorite

Carissa G.: Jennifer, I think the MIA’s Munch is very enigmatic in its own right. -cg

Heidi Q.: or the $199 million that bought it :)

Jennifer Olivarez: Oops, sorry, it was only $119M…

Katie S.: Anything Degas!

Anne-Marie W.: One of Pollock’s drip paintings or a great Rothko.

Casey P.: Anything Van Gogh.

Joe Z.: I love the new contemporary arts section. The feeling of seeing the contemporary art with so many classics helps bring the section full circle versus going to say the walker and spending the entire time wondering around modern art the entire time. It brings a sense of growth to modernism that is missed when its not side by side with traditional pieces..Also I was just their 2 weeks apart and wondering the hallways with the art in bloom installation was very exciting and I felt brought some unique perspectives on the pieces as well as interpretations. This was my first art in bloom I attended, and I had an absolute blast. Thanks for everything that you provide to the twin cities and Minnesota arts community. It truly is invaluable.

Carissa G.: Thank you.

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