Frick Pittsburgh Unveils New Strategic Plan and Acquisitions Program

Posted in museums by Editor on June 26, 2017

Manufacture de Monsieur le duc d’Angoulême, Paris, Pair of Vases, ca. 1785, porcelain with enamel and gilded decoration; each 9 × 5.5 × 5.25 inches (The Frick Pittsburgh Collection).

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Press release from The Frick Pittsburgh (via Art Daily) . . .

The Board of Trustees of The Frick Pittsburgh announces the adoption of a new five-year strategic plan, 2017–22 and Beyond, and the activation of a new acquisition program, resulting in the recent acquisition of new collection objects.

Strategic Plan

On Tuesday, June 20, Frick Board of Trustees Chair Charles R. (‘Chip’) Burke, Jr. and Executive Director Robin Nicholson presented the museum’s recently adopted strategic plan to more than 20 representatives from regional foundations assembled at The Duquesne Club in Downtown Pittsburgh. 2017–22 and Beyond is the result of a two-year planning process which began shortly after the late 2014 appointment of Mr. Nicholson as the institution’s third executive director. The process was led by the Board’s Strategic Planning Task Force, under the leadership of Chair, Trustee Louis L. Testoni. The new strategic plan features a revised ideology for the organization, encompassing new vision, values, and mission statements. These new guiding principles provide the foundation for three overarching institutional goals: audience growth, organizational efficiency, and long-term planning.

Mr. Burke, Chair of the Board of Trustees says, “We are excited about the clearly defined vision and direction articulated in the new strategic plan. In addition to laying the groundwork for the next 25 years, the plan reflects the commitment of The Frick’s board and staff to leverage and enhance the museum’s assets for the benefit of all visitors and program participants.”

The plan identifies three equal and interwoven components to the unique experience offered by The Frick: art, history, and nature—all of which, in turn, underpin the museum’s core ideology, or three ‘powers’: the power of art to inspire and educate, the power of the past to inform the future, and the power of beauty and place. Five strategies build on these principles with specific calls to action: to define and refine the many experiences that The Frick offers, invest in marketing to build audience and revenue, increase efficiency, acquire better information and data, and to think realistically about the future. The museum’s new mission statement aligns with the newly defined institutional ideology: “Continuing the legacy of Helen Clay Frick, we will offer one of the best experiences of art, history, and nature, in a welcoming environment that inspires and delights.”

Executive Director Nicholson comments, “Planning for the future provides an extraordinary opportunity for innovative and aspirational thinking about the role of museums and culture for future generations. The Frick’s new strategic plan thoughtfully addresses both the short- and long-term challenges faced by all cultural organizations in the United States. At the same time, it recognizes that nothing we do has any value unless it helps to ‘inspire and delight.'”

The complete strategic plan is available on The Frick’s website.

New Acquisition Program

Museum benefactress Helen Clay Frick envisioned The Frick to be a vital, growing museum that continues to acquire items that build on the strength of its collection. Building on the strategic goal of “defining and refining the Frick experience,” the museum recently activated a new acquisition program by holding its inaugural Collectors Dinner on April 25, 2017. Fifty members of The Frick Societies, a recognition group for individuals who support The Frick by contributing $1,000 or more annually, attended a black-tie event at The Frick Art Museum, during which three works of art were presented for potential acquisition. Guests were invited to vote for the objects of their choice. Receiving the most votes were a pair of late-18th-century Angoulême porcelain vases and Cream (2015), a color photographic print by Dutch artist Hendrik Kerstens. At its June 14, 2017 meeting, The Frick’s Board of Trustees approved these two objects for purchase.

Produced around 1785 by Manufacture de Monsieur le duc d’Angoulême, Paris, which operated from 1781 to 1793, the pair of exquisite porcelain vases feature enamel and gilded decoration. The vases are an extraordinary example of Parisian porcelain produced at the end of the ancien régime in France. The Manufacture le duc d’Angoulême was one of the few factories at the end of the 18th century to rival Sèvres in the quality of its porcelain and the technical excellence of its decoration. The vases enhance the museum’s collection of 18th-century French decorative art, complementing the fabulous examples of French furniture and paintings collected by Helen Clay Frick. The Frick owns two examples of furniture by Martin Carlin, which incorporate Sèvres porcelain plaques. Angoulême works are in the collections of other major museums: a vase related to the pair acquired by The Frick is in the collection of The British Museum. Tableware by Angoulême is also part of the collections of museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Winterthur. Mount Vernon owns a service by Angoulême purchased by George Washington in 1790.

Contemporary Dutch artist Hendrik Kerstens creates a dialogue between past and present through an almost hyper-conscious homage to the history of Dutch art combined with a slightly playful subversity. The artist began studying photography at age 40 and quickly became known for his interest in creating large-scale painterly photographs with an emphasis on light effects and the use of poses and props that echo the conventions found in Old Master painting, particularly of the 17th century. He began working with his daughter Paula as his subject in 1994. His 2007 photograph, Bag, in which she is posed with a plastic grocery bag on her head caused a sensation, winning the prestigious Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize awarded by the National Portrait Gallery, London. Bag also attracted the attention of fashion designer Alexander McQueen, who based his 2009 collection on the image. In Cream, Paula is posed against a dark background and beautifully lit, allowing for a painterly, Baroque sense of chiaroscuro and an emphasis on luminous skin tones. Kerstens typically injects his work with humor and disrupts his emulation of Old Masters through the interjection of unexpected materials or props—in this case, a coiffure of shaving cream. Cream is a compelling photograph that serves as a catalyst for conversation about painting and photography, past and present. Acquisition of this work enables The Frick to further explore ideas of portraiture and representation by providing a contemporary counterpoint to works in the collection, such as the Rubens Portrait of the Princess of Condé, as well as other examples of portraiture in the collection by Nattier, de Troy, Hogarth, Gainsborough, and Reynolds. Since gaining public attention through his Paula pictures, Kerstens has been commissioned to create commercial portraits for Vanity Fair and The New York Times Magazine. His work is widely represented in public and private collections in the Netherlands as well as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Museum of Photographic Art in San Diego, the Pilara Family Foundation Collection in San Francisco, the Elton John Collection, the Alexander McQueen Collection, and others.




Excavating the Burial Ground at St James’ Gardens in London

Posted in on site by Editor on June 26, 2017

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With thanks to Nick Grindle for noting this work:

St James’ Gardens—the former site of a late 18th- and 19th-century burial ground—will be excavated this summer in connection with the construction of Britain’s ‘High Speed 2′ (HS2) rail link from Euston to Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds. The burial ground was used by the parish of St James’ Piccadilly, with the first recorded burial taking place in 1790. The burial ground was closed in 1853 and turned into public gardens in August 1887. Notable internees in St James’ Gardens include Lord George Gordon, Matthew Flinders, and the painter George Morland.

Wired reported on the project in September 2015.

More information on the archaeological work is available here»






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