Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Luke Syson: How I learned to stop worrying and love "useless" art



Luke Syson was a curator of Renaissance art, of transcendent paintings of saints and solemn Italian ladies -- serious art. And then he changed jobs, and inherited the Met's collection of ceramics -- pretty, frilly, "useless" candlesticks and vases. He didn't like it. He didn't get it. Until one day … (Filmed at TEDxMet.)

Luke Syson joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2012 as the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Curator in Charge of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts. This year, he co-curated the small but innovative exhibition "Plain or Fancy? Restraint and Exuberance in the Decorative Arts." Before joining the Met Syson was Curator of Italian Painting before 1500 and Head of Research at the National Gallery, London. While at the National Gallery, he was curator of the exhibition "Renaissance Siena: Art for a City," and in 2011 he organized the groundbreaking "Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan."

Syson was also one of the curators who organized the acclaimed Enlightenment Gallery at The British Museum and was part of the team that planned the new galleries for Medieval and Renaissance Art at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

3 comments:

carter gillies said...

Carole, This was wonderful! Its exactly the sort of thinking that has been needed in so many of our art institutions, where the holy icons and the scared cannons have dominated and excluded so much of the pure joy of human creativity and imagination.

Thanks so much for posting this! It fits exactly with the ideas I've been mulling for a few days now.

carter gillies said...

In the strange sort of coincidence that seems to follow me lately, Luke Syson was scheduled to give a talk at UGA yesterday. I didn't even know about it until today, but it turns out the talk was canceled due to the aftermath of one inch of snow having fallen in Athens a few days before..... I'd have loved to have seen his talk in person and been able to ask him questions, but I'd never have know who he was without you posting this video. Thanks again for spreading these important and interesting points of view! Well done Carole!

carole epp said...

No way Carter!!! What a crazy coincidence. Are there any plans to reschedule the talk? I would love to have further insight and conversation about this!