Spring Break: A Trip to England

Last week was OSU’s Spring Break, and I had the distinct pleasure of taking a group on a week-long tour of London—plus a day trip to Bath. Among the students and staff accompanying me on the trip were our two OSUMA graduate research assistants, Mary Kathryn Moeller and Krystle Brewer, and staff member Jordan Griffis. Together, we explored museums, galleries, historic sites—and had a ton of fun! Truly blurring the line between work and holiday, we were keeping our eyes open for innovative museum practices and engaging artworks all week. In this post, you’ll get a glimpse of some of the things we learned!

Jordan, Mary Kathryn, and Krystle inside a sculpture, "Circling," by Christopher Janney (2005) at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

Jordan, Mary Kathryn, and Krystle inside a sculpture, “Circling,” by Christopher Janney (2005) at the Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

Visiting England's masterpieces (in this case, Holbein's "Ambassadors," at the National Gallery) was a must.

Visiting England’s masterpieces (in this case, Holbein’s “Ambassadors,” at the National Gallery) was a must. I enjoyed the symmetry between Krystle and Mary Kathryn’s companionate seeking of knowledge and the erudite subjects of Holbein’s painting!

An exhibition of work by David Nash at Kew Gardens. The gallery presentation was fairly straightforward, but...

An exhibition of work by David Nash at Kew Gardens. The gallery presentation was fairly straightforward, but…

David Nash, "Furrowed Oak," 1991. Installed in the Temperate House, Kew Gardens.

…some of the work was installed in Kew’s greenhouses. (David Nash, “Furrowed Oak,” 1991. Installed in the Temperate House, Kew Gardens.)

Sculpture wasn't the only thing we found in the Temperate House!

Sculpture wasn’t the only thing we found in the Temperate House! Mary Kathryn said hello to a surprisingly social goldfish.

On Monday we went to the Courtauld Gallery—and out the window we saw several colorful sheep. Of course we had to investigate!

On Monday we went to the Courtauld Gallery—and out the window we saw several colorful sheep. Of course we had to investigate!

One of the sheep was even OSU orange!

One of the sheep was even OSU orange!

The colorful sheep were announcing the "Wool House," an exhibition of art, interior design, and clothing made from wool. The exhibition is sponsored by HRH the Prince of Wales, who has been interested in local, sustainable agriculture for many years. The rooms throughout the exhibition included weaving demonstrations, interactive displays, and more! Everything was available for purchase.

The colorful sheep were announcing the “Wool House,” an exhibition of art, interior design, and clothing made from wool. The exhibition is sponsored by HRH the Prince of Wales, who has been interested in local, sustainable agriculture for many years. The rooms throughout the exhibition included weaving demonstrations, interactive displays, and more! Everything was available for purchase or order.

From commercial to anti-capitalist: on Tuesday evening we went on a street art tour, led by a street artist who was incredibly knowledgeable. Street art raises issues of legality, authenticity, aesthetics... and has a fascinating history.

From commercial to anti-capitalist: on Tuesday evening we went on a street art tour, led by a street artist who was incredibly knowledgeable. Street art raises issues of legality, authenticity, aesthetics… and has a fascinating history.

From very new to very old (although ancient Romans, too, were graffitists!). At the Roman baths in, of course, Bath!

From very new to very old (although ancient Romans, too, were graffitists!). At the Roman baths in, of course, Bath.

The museum about the Roman baths is essentially a building constructed around and through the ancient architecture, which itself has been built over and modified for centuries.

The museum about the Roman baths is essentially a building constructed around and through the ancient architecture, which itself has been built over and modified for centuries.

The OSUMA has a good representation of ancient Roman material in the collection, and just before we left we were discussing how we might display our coins. So when we discovered this informative and elegant display at the baths in Bath, we had to take a photo!

The OSUMA has a good representation of ancient Roman material in our collection, and just before we left we were discussing how we might display our coins in the opening exhibition at the Postal Plaza Gallery. So when we discovered this informative and elegant display at the baths in Bath, we had to take a photo!

A close-up of the coin display, which combined shelf mounts with wall mounts, and an informational graphic on the left-hand side (not pictured).

A close-up of the coin display, which combined shelf mounts with wall mounts, and an informational graphic on the left-hand side (not pictured).

All in all, we visited ten museums and a half-dozen commercial galleries—in addition to historic sites throughout London (plus Stonehenge!). Mary Kathryn and Krystle both went behind the scenes, too—working in the Tate’s print study room and interviewing a commercial gallery director. The sheer variety of venues, display styles, programs, and viewing experiences reminded me that the idea of an art museum should be stretchy, always allowing for the incorporation of the unexpected. Also, I hope our museum will always be as welcoming to emerging professionals as we found all of our UK host institutions to be.

Advertisements

About osucurator

Louise Siddons is Associate Professor of Art History at Oklahoma State University and founding curator of the Oklahoma State University Museum of Art. She maintains this blog as a record of her students' work with the Museum's permanent collection as well as more generally with topics related to museum studies.
This entry was posted in staff research. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s