Esther Bell Named Senior Curator of Clark Art Institute

Posted in museums by Editor on January 29, 2017

Press release (January 2017) from The Clark:

clark-2Esther Bell has been selected to serve as the Robert and Martha Berman Lipp Senior Curator of the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Her appointment was announced today by Olivier Meslay, Felda and Dena Hardymon Director of the Clark.

Bell currently serves as the curator in charge of European paintings at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, where she has organized a number of important exhibitions, including the recent critically acclaimed The Brothers Le Nain: Painters of Seventeenth-Century France, presented in partnership with the Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas and the Musée du Louvre. On February 25, Bell will open Monet: The Early Years at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor, an exhibition organized by the Kimbell in collaboration with the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

“Esther Bell is one of the brightest curators working today,” said Meslay. “Her creativity, intellect, and scholarship are only equaled by her passion and energy for the diverse demands of curatorial work. Esther’s international experience and her deep expertise in French paintings will be of great importance in her work here at the Clark. We are delighted to welcome her as a colleague.”

Prior to joining the staff of the Fine Arts Museums in 2014, Bell was the curator of European paintings, drawings, and sculpture at the Cincinnati Art Museum. She began her career in New York, serving as a research assistant at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as both a research assistant and curatorial fellow at the Morgan Museum and Library. In 2015, Apollo magazine named Bell as one of the top ten curators in North America under the age of forty.

Bell received her doctorate in the history of art from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, with a specialization in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century European art. She earned a master’s degree from the Williams College/Clark Graduate Program in the History of Art, and a bachelor’s degree in the history of art from the University of Virginia. She completed a Fulbright Fellowship at the Musée du Louvre in 2003, and held numerous fellowships, including those at New York University and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“I am honored to join the Clark Art Institute at this important moment in its history,” said Bell. “I have deep admiration for the Clark’s talented staff, world-class collections, its highly regarded Research and Academic Program, and, of course, the new and beautiful campus. While it is hard to leave the outstanding program and people at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco after such good years, the opportunity to return to Williamstown and be a part of the excitement of the new Clark was irresistible.”

During her tenure at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Bell has been responsible for a diverse array of exhibitions, including Botticelli to Braque: Masterpieces from the National Galleries of ScotlandJ.M.W. Turner: Painting Set Free; and Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia. She is the co-curator for Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade, currently on view at the Saint Louis Art Museum and opening in San Francisco in June 2017. At the Cincinnati Art Museum, Bell’s curatorial work included the recently completed Van Gogh: Into the Undergrowth, as well as exhibitions on Peter Paul Rubens, Jacob Ruisdael, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and François Boucher.

An accomplished scholar and author, Bell is a member of the editorial board of Journal18, a scholarly journal focused on eighteenth-century studies. She is the author and editor of a number of publications related to the exhibitions she has organized, and is regularly published in academic journals. Bell has delivered lectures in distinguished international venues such as the University of St. Andrews, Scotland; the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Nantes; the Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris; and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Bell currently resides in San Francisco. She will begin her work at the Clark in July 2017.

Funding Streams for New Museum of London in West Smithfield

Posted in museums by Editor on January 29, 2017


Architects Stanton Williams and Asif Khan were selected in July 2016 to design the new Museum of London; the design team also includes conservation architect Julian Harrap and landscape design consultant J&L Gibbons. 

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Press release (24 January 2017) from the Museum of London:

The Museum of London’s plans for a new museum in West Smithfield were today given a major boost thanks to huge support from the City of London Corporation and the Mayor of London, who have pledged £110 million and £70 million respectively. This marks an important next step for the project, which will save one of the last remaining derelict Victorian buildings in central London and transform an area of the capital with a rich and fascinating history. The support from Sadiq Khan is the largest cultural investment made by any Mayor of London, and together with City of London Corporation’s unprecedented investment, provides a £180 million package of confirmed funding towards its approximate £250 million cost.

In addition to conserving this historically important West Smithfield site, this ambitious project will deliver significant economic and social benefits for London and Londoners. This includes traineeship opportunities across London and approximately 1,700 new jobs. Located right next to the major new transport hub to be created at Farringdon, the new museum will be ideally situated to make the most of London’s biggest infrastructure project, Crossrail, and help to turn the area into a dynamic destination. As part of a burgeoning cultural hub within the City, the new museum will aim to broaden its visitor profile and double its visitor attendance from one million to more than two million, displaying much more of its rich collection of over 6 million items, telling the 2,000-year story of London, in 8,000m2 of permanent gallery space plus 1,500m2 of temporary exhibition space.


Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, who was touring the West Smithfield site, said: “From the outset of my Mayoralty, I pledged to make culture a core priority and I’m proud that this is the biggest ever cultural investment made by any Mayor of London to date. The world’s greatest city deserves the world’s greatest museum, which is why I’m delighted to announce £70 million of funding for the new Museum of London. This is on top of the £110m funding announced by the City of London Corporation. This major landmark project will be a jewel in our crown. It will reveal 2,000 years of fascinating London history for Londoners, visitors, and every schoolchild in the capital. It will rejuvenate West Smithfield, protecting its heritage while also creating a dynamic new public space—strengthening London’s credentials as an international powerhouse for culture.”

museum-of-london-stanton-williams-asif-khan-winners-competition-west-smithfield-dome-underground_dezeen_936_0Mark Boleat, Chairman of the Policy and Resources Committee at the City of London Corporation, said: “It is widely recognised that the current building at London Wall does not allow the Museum to expand and flourish, and that the former market buildings are in a poor state of repair. The approval of this significant contribution makes good business sense and is a major step forward towards the creation of a new Museum of London, both iconic in design and unparalleled in the way in which it tells the capital’s vibrant history.”

Sharon Ament, Director of the Museum of London, said: “This is simply fantastic news and a great way to start 2017. The £180m funding package from the City of London Corporation and Mayor of London provides us with the perfect springboard for the fundraising drive for the new Museum of London at West Smithfield. It also shows that, like us and many others, the Mayor of London and City of London Corporation recognise the huge benefits for London that a new Museum of London at a rejuvenated West Smithfield will deliver. Working with our design team we can now move forward confidently with detailed plans for the new museum and remain firmly on target to open the new Museum in 2022.”

This funding milestone follows the appointment of the architects Stanton Williams and Asif Khan in July 2016. The design team, which also includes conservation architect Julian Harrap and landscape design consultant J&L Gibbons, is now working to turn the initial concepts into a fully formed vision for the new museum alongside the City of London Corporation and the GLA. This includes further analysis of the complex West Smithfield site, a critical piece of work that will feed into the design process. Following a full and extensive public consultation process, a planning application is expected in 2018 to enable the delivery of the new museum by 2022. Further appointments to the project team are due to be announced over the next few months.

Attingham: The London House Course, 2017

Posted in opportunities by Editor on January 29, 2017
View of Soho Square in London, from Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, 1812
(Wikimedia Commons)

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From the programme flyer:

Attingham: The London House Course, 3–9 October 2017
Applications due by 12 April 2017

The programme studies the development of the London house from the Renaissance to the present. It combines numerous visits to houses—many of them private—with a series of lectures by leading authorities. Progressing chronologically and exploring all over London, the course takes members inside grand aristocratic buildings, smaller domestic houses, artists’ studios, and the garden suburb.

Beginning in the medieval period, the course starts with a visit to the Abbot’s House at Westminster (now the Deanery). The following day is spent at Lambeth Palace and the Charterhouse. The Restoration period and eighteenth centuries are explored in Bloomsbury and Spitalfields, before we spend the following day in the aristocratic grandeur of great houses in St. James’s. Day five focuses on the artists’ houses and studios of Chelsea and Holland Park. On day six we study the Garden Suburb and consider twentieth-century domestic developments. The course concludes with an in depth study of Sir John Soane’s house and a look at the London house in the twenty-first century. Speakers include Neil Burton, Caroline Dakers, Joseph Friedman, Sarah Nichols, and Gavin Stamp. The course is directed by David Adshead.

The fee for the course is £1280. This is a non-residential course, which will include all lunches, travel by coach, admission fees, and receptions on a few evenings. All applications should be received by 12th April 2017. Candidates will be informed by 30th April 2017. For further information please consult the Attingham website or contact Rebecca Parker, rebecca.parker@attinghamtrust.org.

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