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Author Topic:   Input on the 2010 silver gallery
Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 10-18-2009 12:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I just got back from a conference at Yale unviersity art gallery, where they have temporarily installed some of their massive silver collection in specially-built cases that rest on top of historic pieces of furniture from their equally important collection of that.

In setting up my silver gallery at the Newark Museum next year, would it be more important to show MORE silver, or show the silver in a stronger thematic way (other than just chronologically)? I'd be interested in getting input from the argentiphile community (that sounds vaguely sinister).

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 10-18-2009 01:45 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That would depend on the purpose and context of the exhibit. If I were to go out of my way to visit a silver exhibit, I wouldn't be interested in the furniture and would expect to see as much silver as possible. On the other hand, if I were interested in the furniture, I wouldn't want to see it obscured by a lot of other objects. If the furniture were there before the silver was added and would remain afterwards, that shouldn't be an obstacle. If the objective were to show rooms as they were furnished in a historical context, there would not be that much silver displayed - like the legislative process, compromises satisfy no one. If it is truly to be a silver gallery, I would include as much silver as necessary to illustrate whatever theme you decide on, in as thorough a manner as possible with the available material. Make it worth the trip.

[This message has been edited by swarter (edited 10-18-2009).]

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Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 10-18-2009 02:54 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
That's very helpful. I'm rethinking this use of cases on furniture. As a curator of all decorative arts, I keep thinking of the furniture I have in storage that my furniture collectors can't see--but if this is to be truly a silver gallery, then I've got to stick to silver.

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jersey

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iconnumber posted 10-18-2009 09:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jersey     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In media stat virtus!

Use both!

Jersey

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Brent

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iconnumber posted 10-18-2009 10:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Brent     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the decorative arts, the exhibits that make the most sense to me are ones that put silver into context. However, there can be both historical context and artistic context. Historical context would be putting the objects in period rooms, and, as Swarter points out, there wouldn't be much on display in most historical contexts. Artistic context would mean showing how the decorative arts evolve and borrow from one another. One can group silver with pictures of furniture, ceramics, etc. with similar design elements, and throw in some history of where these design elements came from, and why. Wintherthur does exhibits like that in their galleries, and I think they balance the needs of both the enthusiast and the general public.

Basically, silver, or any other material for that matter, needs some context to make sense. How do we get from Baroque to Rococo to Neoclassical to Empire to Rococo redux to Aesthetic to Art Nouveau and so on? What happened in the world, and how is history reflected in the silver? That's what I would like to see.

Brent

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seaduck

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iconnumber posted 10-19-2009 10:13 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for seaduck     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have mixed reactions. As a collector, I want to learn as much as possible and see as much as possible. I already 'get' a lot of the general context, e.g. what furniture/paintings/objects might have been produced at the same time. But the opportunities to see good examples from a range of makers are frustratingly slim. How can I develop a connoisseur's eye without seeing lots of material?

Maybe I'm old-school, but my mind appreciates the linear structure of chronology, to know what morphed into what.

That said, I really enjoy museum installations that feature the occasionally asynchronous juxtaposition: a modern piece, for example, that somehow riffs on an old one. And I find that when I display my own pieces at home for my own entertainment, this is what I do most often. I find pieces from different periods that share forms or attributes in some fashion. It really entertains my eye.

So I would urge you to do something of that sort: show your stuff, and lots of it. Punctuate the installation with the occasional interpretive surprise. And then place some limited silver in other ADA installations in the museum to provide the context that some people will appreciate. Maybe that will lure some visitors to the silver gallery. Or maybe visitors to the silver gallery will later have an 'aha!' moment in the other ADA galleries. But Newark is strong in silver....don't disappoint us!

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DB

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iconnumber posted 10-20-2009 09:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for DB     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I could not agree more with seaduck... silver shown in context (see Met.NYC slipware with silver) is done everywhere now, apparent lesson: the same design elements were used on all forms of dec. arts. So please stand out and show silver, all or as much of it as you can accommodate. When I think where I learned the most about silver and its styles, then it was auction previews, auction catalogues and study collections and the dedicated to silver only galleries in museums.

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Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 10-21-2009 08:56 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks, all. We do already have a good bit of silver in context in our various decorative arts galleries (thematic) and in the period rooms of the Ballantine House (interpreted to represent the year 1891). So it looks like my leaning will be to do a silver for the sake of silver gallery--and to show off (in a small space)the range of our collection, some of its particular highlights, and also recent acquisitions. We have too many really interesting things sitting in storage--many of which I acquired as curator--and I think I know what I really need to do! We have long aimed at pleasing the general public--and now I think that I need to pay homage to all the silver freaks out there!

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agleopar

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iconnumber posted 10-23-2009 07:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
But the things that turn us on might very well turn on the "general public", especially if (and I am NOT sucking up - no really!) you are choosing! Seriously your eye and taste for great silver makes me want to see it when you are done.

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doc

Posts: 712
Registered: Jul 2003

iconnumber posted 10-24-2009 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with agleopar: go with your gut. I will definitely be scheduling a trip to see your exhibit!

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swarter
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iconnumber posted 10-24-2009 11:21 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for swarter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ulysses Dietz:
So it looks like my leaning will be to do a silver for the sake of silver gallery--and to show off (in a small space)the range of our collection, some of its particular highlights, and also recent acquisitions. We have too many really interesting things sitting in storage--many of which I acquired as curator--and I think I know what I really need to do!

I think you have made the right decision. I only wish you were not so far away! frown

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agleopar

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iconnumber posted 10-24-2009 11:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for agleopar     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Thanks Doc, lets get a forum tour from the master himself? Mr. Dietz I know this is in the future but I for one would buy a ticket... Can we get you to take a few of us silver freak/geek/nerds around the gallery when it is up? This is long enough in the future that Swarter and all could plan ahead for their summer hollidays?

[This message has been edited by agleopar (edited 10-24-2009).]

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doc

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iconnumber posted 10-26-2009 09:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for doc     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I was going to suggest the same thing, agleopar! A SSF field trip!

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Ulysses Dietz
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iconnumber posted 10-28-2009 02:51 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Ulysses Dietz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It never dawned on me that we could actually organize a group visit via the forum. Well, there's a lot of work between now and next year (not to mention the two big exhibitions I'm doing--but no books, at least). But I keep SMPUB and its forums in mind as I plan...

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June Martin
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Registered: Apr 93

iconnumber posted 11-22-2009 09:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for June Martin     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Bravo on the field trip idea. We haven't organized a Silver Salon Tour in way too long a time. Knowing Ulysses' enthusiasm for the subject, it sounds like this would be a wonderful opportunity. Please do keep us posted on your progress, Ulysses.

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