Sunday, 16 June 2013

Curating Popular Art

An all day series of lectures on Friday at Whitechapel was a great way to be kept indoors on such a sunny day.
Including morning talks from Penny Sexton, curator of the Marx/Lambert collection at Compton Verney, on redesigning the collection to best reflect Enid (colloquially known as Marco),  Liz Farrelly on the inclusion of the work of flower arranger Constance Spry in the Design Museum and the national and public arguments it provoked. The morning inspired discussion afterwards on the evolution of the meaning of design, the place of gender/ domesticity in folk art and the organic/living nature of folk art and what this presents to a curator when trying to exhibit it.
The afternoon provided a sneak preview, from curator Martin Myrone and artist Jeff McMillan, of what we are to expect at next year's Tate Britain show of British Folk Art (June 2014) - I can tell you it looks to be pretty good! This led to an interesting discussion about the emotional investment in folk objects and the question of how to recognise the often anonymous makers of folk art when curating an exhibition. All in all it was a much needed, inspirational break from my desk and computer - thank you Whitechapel!
As a side note - got to catch up with Desdemona McCannon and hear more about her upcoming event, organised with Rosemary Shirley, about 'Enid Marx and her Contemparies' which is to be held at Compton Verney in September - I can't wait! To register to go, go to

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