Open Courtauld Hour – The Courtauld’s digital series on all things art history – is back for monthly instalments in 2021!
The Courtauld houses one of the most significant collections of works on paper in Britain, with approximately 26,000 prints ranging from the late Middle Ages to the 20th century avant-garde. This Open Courtauld Hour will celebrate the ways in which printmaking is radical. As an art form with a potential mass audience, with the ability to be produced in abundance, it is culturally democratic and inexpensive in comparison to paintings. In addition to this, it is permeable into the public sphere through advertising.
‘Radical Printmaking’ aligns with, and explores, the exhibition ‘Renoir and the New Era: Impressionist works from The Courtauld’ at our partner organisation, National Museums NI (Ulster Museum). This exhibition, and the prints included, explore the Impressionists in the late 1900s, refocusing attention on their position as agitators and anarchists against the established art system. Fast-forward to 2020 we will contextualise this ‘radicalism’ in relation to contemporary works in the Courtauld Collection and further afield. The parallels between the impressionist artists and contemporary printmakers — works addressing marginalisation, identities, inequalities, conflict, censorship and environmental concerns — will make-up the bedrock of this episode.
We are delighted to be collaborating with Anna Liesching (Curator of Art, National Museums NI), Elaine Shemilt (Artist and Professor of Contemporary Art Practice at Duncan and Jordanstone College of Art and Design) and Nathan Crothers (Artist) for an Open Courtauld Hour which will delve into our impressionist print collection, explore how a political drive continues to permeate contemporary practice while also giving you the opportunity to get creative yourself and make your own radical prints!
This online mini series will provide concise one hour packages of pop-up talks, performances and in detail object study sessions that explore and celebrate our collection, research in art history, curation and conservation.
The series will touch on pertinent issues — magnifying contemporary thinking in society through the field of art history. These episodes will explore how the public, artists and galleries are adapting to a digital world, showcasing art historical research in light of this global pandemic and providing a platform for creative practice in the age of social distancing.
Most importantly, as art is relevant to all, these informal sessions will give attendees the chance to access, engage and read art and art history through a different lens— revamping and rethinking art historical discussions through retelling hidden stories. These episodes will platform new perspectives, new ways into art practice, looking at art and reading its history through themes that impact us all.