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Portrait of the Artist As…

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Portrait of the Artist As...

26 June - 22 July 2012

An MA Curating exhibition
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Self-Portrait with Bandaged EarThe exhibition Portrait of the Artist As… looks at the ways in which artists have portrayed themselves, their peers, and their predecessors from the 18th century to the present day.

Inspired by the unique pairing of two powerful masterpieces, Vincent van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear (1889), and Francis Bacon’s Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh VI (1957), it uses works from a variety of media to show the richness, complexity, and singularity of the artist’s position within our culture, and addresses the many and varied implications of asserting an artistic identity.

Portrait of the Artist As… has been curated by students on the MA course Curating the Art Museum, and draws on the holdings of two major collections, The Courtauld Gallery and The Arts Council Collection.
Several of the students have written ‘spotlight’ essays, offering insight into the artworks and their creators, and addressing themes of artistic inspiration, influence, process and method.

 

This 2012 exhibition was been co-curated by the following 13 MA students: Noura Al-Maashouq / Grace Ambrose / Shira Barak / Sandra Boks / Sarah Capes / Elizabeth Carney / Sascha Feldman / Davida Fernandez-Barkan / Jenny Foot / Mardee Goff / Stefanie Lenk / George Mogg / Meredith More

Hailing from Great Britain, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Germany, and the Netherlands, the students have cut their teeth at museums and galleries all over the world and have come to the Courtauld Institute to hone their curatorial skills.

In December 2011, the team was given an assignment: to devise an exhibition using works from The Courtauld Gallery and The Arts Council Collection that would open at the end of June 2012.

Several months, dozens of meetings with art world professionals, and an unspecified amount of chocolate later, Portrait of the Artist As… stands as a unique merging of two significant collections that explores artistic identity and process over four centuries.

 

About the course

The MA course Curating the Art Museum, led by Martin Caiger-Smith, is aimed at art curators of the future.

Its purpose is to extend and develop graduates’ art historical interests, expertise and scholarship into the area of curatorship and active engagement with collections and exhibitions in the museum and gallery realm.

It puts the physical object back at the heart of curatorial training and sets specialist knowledge firmly within the context of the modern museum and the expanding remit of the art curator in the 21st century.

Vincent van Gogh, Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear
Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1889)
Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, 1889
Oil on canvas, 60.5 x 50 cm
© The Courtauld Gallery, London
Sarah Lucas (1962 -) Fighting Fire with Fire (from Self Portraits series 1990-1998), 1996 Iris print, 97.3 x 73.3 cm Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London © The artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London
Sarah Lucas (1962 -)
Fighting Fire with Fire (from Self Portraits series 1990-1998), 1996
Iris print, 97.3 x 73.3 cm
Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London
© The artist, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London
Edvard Munch (1863-1944) Self-Portrait, 1902 Lithograph, 47 x 33 cm  © The Munch Museum / The Munch - Ellingsen Group, BONO, Oslo/DACS, London 2012
Edvard Munch (1863-1944)
Self-Portrait, 1902
Lithograph, 47 x 33 cm
© The Munch Museum / The Munch – Ellingsen Group, BONO, Oslo/DACS, London 2012
Self-portrait in a wig
Jonathan Richardson the Elder (1665-1745)
Self-portrait in a wig, 1738
Chalk (red) on paper, 50.8 x 34.2 cm
© The Courtauld Gallery, London
Gilbert and George (1943-, 1942-) A Portrait of the Artists as Young Men, 1970 Video and certificate Running time: 7 minutes Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London  © The artist, courtesy White Cube
Gilbert and George (1943-, 1942-)
A Portrait of the Artists as Young Men, 1970
Video and certificate
Running time: 7 minutes
Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London
© The artist, courtesy White Cube
Francis Bacon (1909-1992)* Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh VI, 1957 Oil on canvas, 198.1 x 142.2 cm © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All Rights Reserved. DACS 2011
Francis Bacon (1909-1992)*
Study for a Portrait of Van Gogh VI, 1957
Oil on canvas, 198.1 x 142.2 cm
© The Estate of Francis Bacon. All Rights Reserved. DACS 2011

The curators of the exhibition are all students on The Courtauld’s MA Programme Curating the Art Museum. Several have written texts expanding on the exhibition. These ‘spotlight’ essays offer insight to many of the artworks and their creators, addressing themes of artistic inspiration and influence, as well as process and method.

These texts are intended as extensions of the exhibition and aim to provide further information and insightful anecdotes to those who are interested in learning more about the exhibition and the works on display.

Spotlight on Jonathan Richardson the Elder
Noura Al-Maashouq
Examining the works of Jonathan Richardson the Elder, a prominent portraitist and art theorist in the 18th century.
Roger Fry: Aligning Himself with the Half Idiot, Half Divine
Sandra Boks
Roger Fry may have revered Paul Cézanne, but his opinion of what it takes to be a great artist is perhaps not what we might expect.
 Sarah Lucas’ Self Portraits 1990-1998
Sascha Feldman and Davida Fernandez-Barkan
Sarah Lucas uses various props to examine her image as an artist. The ways in which she presents herself and her legacy as a feminist artist are discussed here.
Male Bonding: Francis Bacon meets Lucian Freud
Jenny Foot
How a recent discovery by Christie’s Auction House has revealed an intriguing insight into the relationship between Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud.
 Gilbert & George: A Portrait of the Artists as Young Men
George Mogg
Gilbert & George capitalise on the idea of the “solitary artist” – yet, as a pair, they are fundamentally never alone. This spotlight explores how their video A Portrait of the Artists As Young Men fits into the exhibition as well as their career.
 ‘A Specific Kind of Eye’: Richard Hamilton’s Polaroid Portraits
Meredith More
An impromptu snapshot shows the friendship between Richard Hamilton and filmmaker Derek Jarman, created in a series of Polaroid Portraits, and how the particular character of an artist may appear even through a photograph.
 ‘By Different Device: Polaroid Portraits of the Artist As…
Mardee Goff
Two artists in the exhibition, Richard Hamilton and Saul Fletcher, use the medium of Polaroid. Read on to find out why this medium can produce a particularly powerful portrait.
‘Interview with Glenn Brown’
Mardee Goff
A conversation between Glenn Brown and Mardee Goff regarding his work Decline and Falland his working methods, recorded at Brown’s studio in East London on 7 June 2012

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