Daphne Barbour, senior object conservator; Melanie Gifford, research conservator; Lisha Glinsman, conservation scientist; Alison Luchs, curator of early European sculpture; and Kimberly Schenck, head of paper conservation, National Gallery of Art. FACTURE: Conservation · Science · Art History is a new biennial journal from the National Gallery of Art that introduces the latest research on works in its permanent collection. Named for “the manner in which things are made,” the journal presents essays on conservation treatment, scientific research, and technical art history. This study undertaken at the Gallery focuses on artists' methods and materials—identifying the materials used by artists, understanding the ways in which different artists handled these materials, and discerning how to preserve the qualities the artists prized. In honor of the inaugural volume, this lecture recorded on January 12, 2014, focuses on Renaissance masterworks—painting, sculpture, textiles, and works on paper—in the Gallery's collection.
Debra Pincus, independent scholar. The letterforms of antiquity—both capitals and small letters—were brought back to life in the Renaissance, the result of a fervent study of ancient inscriptions and manuscripts. These revived antique letters are the letters that we use today. In this lecture recorded on June 16, 2013 at the National Gallery of Art, Debra Pincus talks about the process of recovery in the 15th century, and the particular role played by Venice and nearby territory in making antique letters available to Renaissance artists, calligraphers, humanists, and, ultimately, to printers of books.
Ross King, author. Although celebrated today as one of the world’s greatest paintings, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper had unusual and inauspicious beginnings. In this lecture recorded on June 9, 2013 at the National Gallery of Art, author Ross King discusses the circumstances surrounding the creation of The Last Supper, including Leonardo’s unorthodox painting technique and his relationship with his patron, the Duke of Milan. King describes how despite never having worked on such a large painting and never having worked with the difficult medium of fresco, Leonardo created the masterpiece that would define him forever.
Eileen Costello, editor and project director, The Catalogue Raisonné of the Drawings of Jasper Johns, The Menil Collection. Over the course of his prolific career, from early 1960s monochrome paintings to more recent work inspired by Chinese art and culture, Brice Marden has established himself as one of the most important abstract painters of our time. In this lecture recorded on June 30, 2013, at the National Gallery of Art, Eileen Costello discusses her new book Brice Marden: Phaidon Focus. Costello tracks Marden’s development as an artist and provides insight into his significance by exploring his works’ origins, meaning, and media.
Mark Samuels Lasner, senior research fellow, University of Delaware Library, in conversation with Diane Waggoner, associate curator, department of photographs, National Gallery of Art. William Morris (1834-1896) gained fame as a designer, poet, socialist, founder of the arts and crafts movement, and maker of beautiful books at his Kelmscott Press, founded in 1891. In this conversation recorded on May 6, 2013 at the National Gallery of Art, Mark Samuels Lasner and Diane Waggoner explore Morris's lifelong, multifaceted engagement with print—as a reader, author, collector, calligrapher, typographer, printer, and publisher—that culminated with the publication of the great Kelmscott Chaucer just before his death. Samuels Lasner will also discuss his own collecting of the works of Morris and his circle. Selections from the Mark Samuels Lasner Collection, on loan to the University of Delaware Library, are included in two concurrent exhibitions at the National Gallery of Art: Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Art and Design, 1848-1900 (February 17-May 19, 2013) and Pre-Raphaelites and the Book (February 9-August 4, 2013).
Tania Bruguera, artist; Tom Finkelpearl, executive director, Queens Museum of Art; and Mierle Laderman Ukeles, artist. Socially cooperative art is a field not well understood by many, indeed even in the art world. Why is it art? Where does art end and social action begin? Who is the author of a cooperative project? In this lecture recorded on February 3, 2013, at the National Gallery of Art, Tom Finkelpearl celebrates his latest publication, What We Made: Conversations on Art and Social Cooperation, by providing an overview of socially cooperative art—where it comes from, what its artistic roots are, and why it can be considered valuable. Tania Bruguera and Mierle Laderman Ukeles, two of the most important artists working in America today in this field, then describe their work, focusing on a single project. Bruguera, Finkelpearl, and Ukeles take a careful look at how art can intersect with life and how artists are reimagining this intersection in the new avant-garde of participatory, activist, community-inclusive art.
David Cannadine, director and professor, Institute of Historical Research, University of London To celebrate the landmark publication Mellon: An American Life, David Cannadine inaugurated and concluded his U.S. book tour at the National Gallery of Art with lectures on the founding benefactor of the Gallery, Andrew W. Mellon (1855-1937). In this second lecture recorded on December 9, 2006, Cannadine concentrates on Mellon's art collecting as his only nonprofessional gratification, and his great gift of the Gallery to the nation. His son Paul Mellon commissioned this biography in the mid-1990s to document the magnitude and range of his father's contributions to American history. Preeminent in the diverse fields of business, politics, art collecting, and philanthropy, Mellon was one of the greatest art collectors and philanthropists of his generation. According to Cannadine, the Gallery remains Mellon's culminating and most tangible legacy, although he did not live to see its completion and dedication on March 17, 1941.
Bridget R. Cooks, associate professor of art history and African American studies, University of California, Irvine. In this lecture, recorded at the National Gallery of Art on March 4, 2012, Professor Cooks presents research from her book Exhibiting Blackness: African Americans and the American Art Museum, in which she analyzes the curatorial strategies, challenges, and critical reception of the most significant museum exhibitions of African-American art in the United States. Cooks also exposes the issues involved in exhibiting cultural differences that continue to challenge art history, historiography, and American museum exhibition practices.
Sarah Greenough, senior curator and head of the department of photographs, National Gallery of Art. Sarah Greenough talks about her new book on the letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, My Faraway One: Selected Letters of Georgia O'Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz, Volume One, 1915-1933, in this podcast recorded on September 18, 2011, at the National Gallery of Art. Greenough notes the insights provided by the correspondence on their art, their friendships with many key figures of early twentieth-century American art and culture, and, most especially, their relationship with each other.