Week 04
October 29 2010
Group Presentation and visit to the British Museum - 'Jim's Baker's Dozen'
An excellent presentation from Henry, Isabella, Charlotte and Peter on the Rosa Barba exhibition at the Tate Modern http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/rosabarba/default.shtm

One point that struck me was that presenters said that immediately after the show they had not known what they might be able to say about it, but that through discussing it a wealth of material and a wealth of approaches had come up. This was also reflected in the amount of discussion that the presentation generated in the seminar itself. Themes that emerged included: nostalgia, utopia, dystopia, futurisms, modernism and its critique - and more.

There was also a discussion of responses to the visits made. The point was made that the introduction to works, especially by experts, and the context that accompanied this, made it possible to get a lot more out of the experience of works.

Visit to the British Museum - Jim Pearson
We took the bus down the the British Museum where Jim Pearson led us on a tour of his 'Baker's Dozen' - i.e. thirteen selected works. He took us in a chronological sequence through the ancient sculpture from the Cycladic sculptures, through the Egyptians, and Assyrian's (i.e. Iraq) to the Greeks, culminating in the Parthenon Sculptures in the Duveen Gallery - and all of the accompanying questions as to whether they belong here or in Athens.

br_museum.jpg
Idealised youth 'kouros' - Greek, sixth century BC, British Museum

For me, two themes emerged very strongly and clearly - firstly the emergence, over two millennia, of 'naturalism' - depictions based upon close observation of 'nature' in particular moments of time - from the abstracted and stylised Cycladic and Egyptian figures, to the far more naturalistic Assyrian and Greek sculpture. Another theme which Jim demonstrated with a series of card/slides, was the clear relationship between ancient and classical sculpture and modernism - plus the relationship between one particular figure from the Parthenon and Michelangelo's Adam from the Sistine Chapel. Images and ideas in art never spring simply out of thin air... A hugely enjoyable visit.