Talks

at home: Paul Mellon Lectures | Iwona Blazwick

Iwona Blazwick, Director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery in London, will deliver a lecture entitled, What Are Collections Good For?

at home: Paul Mellon Lectures

Established in 1994, this lecture series was named in honor of Paul Mellon (Yale College Class of 1929), the philanthropist, art collector, and founder of both the Yale Center for British Art (YCBA) in New Haven and the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art Studies (PMC) in London. Coorganized by the two institutions, the biennial lectures were traditionally delivered in person by a specialist in British art at the both the National Gallery in London and the Yale Center for British Art.

This year’s series, entitled The Museum and Gallery Today, is exclusively online and features individual talks from some of the world’s most distinguished museum and gallery directors. The lectures are presented as free live webinars.

About this program
The accumulation of cultural artifacts, books, plants, or animals is a characteristic of nearly all civilizations. We may understand collections as symbols of power and wealth, or find in them a site of veneration and ritual. Certainly, they are centers of research and connoisseurship. For artists, entry into an art collection is an endorsement, a means of conserving work for posterity, and critically, a livelihood. Yet in the twenty-first century, the collection has manifested itself in unprecedented and unexpected modes. Whether as an arena for protest or as a work of art, collections are being taken on some intriguing new adventures. This talk explores some of the most recent iterations and asks—at a time when capitalist excess, its extractive procedures, and exorbitant costs are under scrutiny—what are collections good for?
About Iwona Blazwick

Iwona Blazwick has been Director of the Whitechapel Gallery, London, since 2001 and is a curator, critic, and lecturer. Formerly at Tate Modern and London’s ICA, Blazwick has also worked as an independent curator in Europe and Japan. Blazwick is series editor of Whitechapel Gallery/MIT Documents of Contemporary Art and has published extensively on themes and movements in modern and contemporary art, exhibition histories, and art institutions. Recent curatorial projects include Michael Rakowitz (2019) and Kai Althoff goes with Bernard Leach (2020) at the Whitechapel Gallery; Carlos Bunga: The Architecture of Life at MAAT, Lisbon (2019); The Palace at 4 a.m., a group show at the Archaeological Museum of Mykonos (2019); and SIGHT, a solo show with Antony Gormley and NEON on the Island of Delos (2019).

Please click here to watch a recording of this program on the Paul Mellon Centre's YouTube channel.

Top image
Iwona Blazwick, photo by Christa Holka

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