Private Realm and Public Space: The Collector's Museum in the Twenty-First Century

Saturday, September 16, 2006
9:30 am

As the closing event in a series of exhibitions, celebrations, and reflections that have marked the Clark’s fifty years, this symposium will explored the history, specificities, meanings, problems, and potential of collectors’ museums, and probed the nature of the powerful attraction that collections like the Wallace, the Gardner, the Frick, and the Clark still exert over the gallery-going public. This symposium focused on examining the collector both as creator and created, and on the museum as work of art and as fantasy, as well as vital public space.

Speakers were drawn from a variety of professions, disciplines, and points of view, including those working in the history of art, cultural history, and anthropology, as well as those involved in directing and curating distinctive collections. The papers confronted theoretical, empirical, and even practical questions, which encouraged the use of case studies taken from various cultural and institutional contexts and provided the opportunity for dialogue and debate.

Participants included: Alan Chong, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum; Michael Conforti, the Clark; Dario Gamboni, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Pascal Griener, University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland; Jo Hedley, The Wallace Collection, London; Anne Higonnet, Barnard College and Columbia University; Francesco Pellizzi, Peabody Museum, Harvard University; Theodora Vischer, Schaulager Basel, Switzerland

PROGRAM in order of discussion:

Keynote Lecture - The Art of Keeping Art Together
Dario Gamboni

The Museum as Self-Portrait
Anne Higonnet

The Museum as a Symbolic Body
Pascal Griener
The Object-Museum between Private and Public: Auto-Ethnographic Notes from an Accidental Collector
Francesco Pellizzi
Mrs. Gardner’s Museum of Myth
Alan Chong
Working with the Wallace Collection
Jo Hedley
Schaulager Basel: An Alternative to Museums?
Theodora Vischer
Panel discussion of afternoon papers
Moderated by Michael Conforti