Archive | February, 2014

Grey Gallery Event

26 Feb



Fine Arts Society event: “Hack the Met,” Saturday, 3/1

26 Feb

A new and exciting event is happening this Saturday: *Hack the Met*.

The fee for this tour is usually around $40, but we are offering you a
chance at just a $10 copay. Spots are VERY limited so sign up quickly!
Please note that we will confirm via email to those who have successfully
reserved a spot, Then, you will be able to lock down that spot by bringing
your copay to Joshua in the administrative offices on the 3rd floor of
Silver. You will not be confirmed until then.

Date: Saturday, March 1st
Time: 11:15AM
Duration: 2 hours
Location: Meet at the Met’s grand lobby
Copay: $10, see above

Sign up here.

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26 Feb


Art History majors Erin Kitagwara (’14) and Manuela Toro (’14) participate in a conservation project at NYU’s Villa la Pietra

24 Feb

Erin Kitagawara (Art History ’14) and Manuela Toro (Art History ’14) participated in a fascinating conservation project at NYU’s Villa la Pietra last summer.

The multi-year project entails the treatment of a lacquer panel that was made from a seventeenth-century Chinese Coromandel lacquer folding screen.  The panel is a member of the remarkable Acton Collection, comprising over 5,000 works in a wide range of media and styles and housed at NYU’s Villa la Pietra.  Michele Marincola, Sherman Fairchild Chair and Professor at the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, and Ellyn Toscano, Executive Director of NYU in Florence and Director of Villa la Pietra, co-direct the project.  The project was developed and is managed by Pamela Hatchfield, Robert P. and Carol T. Henderson Head of Objects Conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and a graduate of the Conservation Center at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts, who also serves as conservation consultant to the Acton Collection.

Since 2008, numerous students have worked on various stages of the examination and treatment of the panel, including developing an understanding of the original materials and how they were modified; identifying the factors that contributed to the object’s current, poor condition; stabilizing the panel’s structure; consolidating and ensuring the re-adhesion of the lacquer; and developing a plan for the long-term exhibition of the panel in its original location.

Thanks to the initiative and support of Michele Marincola, Erin and Manuela spent two weeks at Villa la Pietra in July 2013 assisting on the project.  Erin’s coursework and strong background in East Asian art and culture, as well as her coursework in studio art, proved valuable in her work.  Manuela brought to the project not only a strong background in art history and studio art but also her experience in Adjunct Professor Corey D’Augustine’s popular “Introduction to Paintings Conservation” course, taught in the Department of Art History each spring.

The project will be presented as a poster at the International Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (IIC) in Hong Kong later this year, with the title “Reduced, reused and recycled: the treatment and re-display of a repurposed 17th century Coromandel lacquer screen”.   The conference theme is “An Unbroken History: Conserving East Asian Works of Art and Heritage”.   For more information, see the abstract and accompanying photograph.

“Manuela and Erin have contributed in a most substantive way to the conservation and study of this very interesting object,” observed Hatchfield.  They are listed as co-authors in the poster and the abstract.

“This once-in-a -lifetime experience strengthened and confirmed my desire to become a conservator,” comments Toro.  “To be a participant in the project as an undergraduate student was very exciting, and learning from Professor Hatchfield was not only a great opportunity but also a true delight.”

Hearty congratulations go to Manuela, Erin, and to the entire conservation team for their excellent work on this project.  We are extremely grateful to Michele Marincola of IFA and Pam Hatchfield for extending this remarkable opportunity to Department of Art History majors.


Pamela Hatchfield and Amy Tjiong setting down lacquer  Photo:  Jessica Pace

Pamela Hatchfield and Amy Tjiong setting down lacquer
Photo: Jessica Pace

IIC 2014 Hong Kong Paper Synopsis Submittal

Reduced, re-used and recycled: the treatment and re-display of a repurposed 17th century Coromandel lacquer screen in the Acton Collection, Villa La Pietra, Florence

Pamela Hatchfield*, Diana Johnson Galante**, Erin Kitagawa***, Jessica Pace**, Amy Tjiong**, Kristen Watson Adsit**, Raina Chao**, Rita Berg**, Megan Randall**, Manuela Toro ***

*Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, ** Conservation Center, New York University Institute of Fine Arts , ***New York University

Boston, MA and New York, NY USA

Keywords:  Chinese, lacquer, conservation, treatment

The Acton Collection at Villa La Pietra, Florence, comprises a diverse collection of artwork, textiles, and objets d’art from around the world, often purchased and placed for decorative effect, rather than for their inherent value or pristine nature. A decorative Coromandel lacquer panel repurposed from a folding screen was in poor condition after 60 years of display, urgently requiring treatment. (i)  Severe cupping, flaking, and instability were caused by the original manufacture, extenders added to the lacquer, methods used in re-fabricating the screen into a decorative panel, and the object’s exposure to unstable environmental conditions. The treatment and redisplay were guided by the idiosyncratic aesthetic of the Villa, which the Acton Collection strives to retain.

The Acton panel relates closely to a 12-part folding screen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (ii) depicting a Summer Palace dated 1689 and inscribed 挹翠/ yi cui, indicating the Pavilion of Prince Teng (iii). The Acton panel was made using 4 sections of a similar folding screen. The substrate preparation included gypsum, clay, organic fibers and binder; the lacquer was incised and painted. Through the transformation from folding screen to flat panel, the backs and borders of the sections were sawn off, the raw wood backs glued to a cradle-like wooden structure whose supports were positioned underneath joins. The edges were glued to a thin, black-painted wooden frame. The active loss of lacquer was exacerbated by flexing of the structure. The panel joins were filled and heavily overpainted.

Treatment methods utilized materials and methods culled from eastern and western traditions. A treatment support was fabricated from aluminum, while shimbaridai wooden frames facilitated the application of pressure to localized areas using bamboo dowels. Cupping and loose flakes were relaxed and readhered with a combination of gentle heat, weight, pressure, solvents and Paraloid B-72™ (iv). Cotton swabs covered with China silk were used for cleaning, minimizing lint accumulation on the surface.

Treatment decisions such as the retention of discolored overpaint and the use of tinted tissue paper fills for loss compensation respected the aesthetic of the Acton Collection, which remains as it appeared during the Actons’ lives. Extensive discussion about remounting and glazing the panel considered its post-treatment condition, aesthetics, location, and environmental conditions in the Villa. The treatment support was used for the mount, incorporating a backing board capable of housing conditioning gel.

This project provided an opportunity not only to resolve challenging treatment problems, but also to develop creative solutions to aesthetic and environmental dilemmas in the context of a collection where many stakeholders and issues must be considered.


i. Coromandel Lacquer Panel, Inv. G. Conti LX.C..5; Scene of a Courtly Palace with Figures, Trees and Pavilions.  Acton Collection, Villa La Pietra, New York University

ii. Signed by by Feng Lianggong, Metropolitan Museum of Art (09.6a-l)

iii. in its incarnation from the 12th to 14th centuries. For example, Tang Di’s Pavilion of Prince Teng, Metropolitan Museum of Art (1989.363.36)


Suzanna Shaw, National Gallery of Victoria, Australia; Arlen Heginbotham, Getty Museum; Michele Derrick, MFA Boston; Ellyn Toscano, Michele Marincola, Francesca Baldry and Helen Spande, Acton Collection, Villa La Pietra.

Fig. 1 Pamela Hatchfield and Amy Tjiong setting down lacquer

Photo:  Jessica Pace


NYU Humanities Event

20 Feb


The Fine Arts Society, People, Places, and Events, 2013-14

18 Feb

The Fine Arts Society, the Department of Art History’s CAS student club, is having another exceptionally exciting and active year.  The goal of the Society is the creation of a community of NYU students interested in art, art history, and visual culture.  Through visits to museums and galleries both within and without New York City, as well as walking tours, lectures, symposia, and film screenings, the Fine Arts Society brings art history majors and non-majors together, with lively discussions.  Hearty congratulations and many thanks go to all of the Society’s officers and board members for their creative and energetic leadership and hard work.  This year’s officers are co-presidents Linse Kelbe (Economics/Art History ’14) and Olivia Zhang (Art History/Management ‘14), treasurer ChamBrais Medeiros (Finance/Marketing ’14), secretary Eliza Blackman (Art History/French ‘14), PR chair Dorothy Vickery (Dramatic Writing/Politics ’14), marketing chair Thomas Fallon (Art History/French ’15), and archivist Chloe Choi (Biochemistry ’15).  This year’s board members are Rachel Weinert (Art History/Comparative Literature ’15), Nora Gorman (Art History ’15), and Caitlin Wood (Art History ’14).  Hearty thanks also go to the club’s faculty advisers this academic year — Professor Julia Robinson in the fall semester, and new faculty member Professor Meredith Martin in the spring – for their enthusiastic and sage guidance.

The fall semester got off to a flying start with a well-attended general meeting, held on Wednesday, September 18th.  On Friday, October 4th, fifteen students attended the new academic year’s first College Night at the Frick, which provides free after-hours access to the Collection as well as lectures, gallery talks, open sketching, and other programs and activities.  On Sunday, October 27th, five intrepid students traveled to Dia:Beacon, the Dia Art Foundation’s spectacular collection of art from the 1960s to the present located in Beacon, NY, in the beautiful Hudson Valley.

There were plenty of treats to be had, and plenty of clever art-related costumes to be spied, at the Society’s Halloween party – one of the social events of the semester – held on October 30th.  On Saturday, November 2nd, ten lucky students enjoyed a special viewing of “Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Haals:  Masterpieces of Dutch Painting from the Mauritshuis,” the spectacular exhibition that showed at the Frick Collection until January of this year .   On Thursday November 14th, the Society sponsored a study-away information session.

Friday, November 15th was a banner day for the Society, with a tour of NYU’s Grey Art Gallery as well as “K-Art: Splendors from Silla to Seoul,” an event co-sponsored by the College Group at the Met and the Korea Society, held in connection with the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s special exhibition “Silla:  Korea’s Golden Kingdom”, on display until February 23th, 2014.  Twenty students attended “K-Art,” and ten traveled to MoMA PS1 on Saturday, December 7th, to tour the Mike Kelley show, which closed earlier this month.  Fifteen students took a break from studying for final exams to enjoy some good cheer and great conversation at the Society’s annual holiday party, held on Thursday, December 12th.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow, nor even more snow, has slowed down the Fine Arts Society.  The club kicked off the spring semester with a general meeting, held on Thursday, February 6th, followed on Friday, February 7th, by a tour of “The Flowering of Edo Period Painting:  Japanese Masterworks from the Feinberg Collection”, which just opened at the Metropolitan Museum on February 1st.  Thursday, February 20th, will bring the next College Group at the Met event, “A Brush with Asia,” including a behind-the-scenes discussion, reception, and viewing of the exhibition “Ink Art:  Past as Present in Contemporary China”, on view through April 6th.

Among the other activities and events that the Society is planning or considering are a “Hack the Met” tour, tentatively scheduled for the end of February; a visit to the Armory Show, the modern and contemporary art fair held at Piers 92 and 94, on Saturday, March 8th; a tour of the Whitney Biennial on Saturday, March 29th; a Chelsea 2% gallery tour on Saturday, April 5th; and a visit to the spectacular Storm King Art Center — one of the world’s premier sculpture parks, located in the lower Hudson Valley — on Saturday, April 26th. The club is also tentatively planning to attend a viewing of and reception for the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute exhibit sponsored by the College Group at the Met, an event slated for May.

In addition, April will bring two of the Society’s most anticipated events:  the Young Professionals Symposium, scheduled for Thursday, April 10th, and the Career Symposium, slated for the following Thursday, April 17th.  Both symposia bring together professionals working in all facets of the art world, including auction houses, galleries, museums, publishing, consulting, academia, and philanthropy, with the goal of providing students with information about and insight into the varied career options related to the arts; more information will be available as we get closer to the dates of these informative events.

Students interested in membership in the Fine Arts Society or desiring further information about the club’s activities should contact co-presidents Linse Kelbe ( or Olivia Zhang ( or the Society’s general address (

Kathryn A. Smith


FAS_Dia-BeaconFAS_Mike Kelley

Fine Arts Society members at Dia Beacon

Fine Arts Society members at Dia Beacon

Contemplating Dan Flavin at Dia Beacon

Contemplating Dan Flavin at Dia Beaco

Contemplating Walter de Maria at Dia Beacon

Contemplating Walter de Maria at Dia Beacon

Co-president Linse Kelbe in front of a Rothko lookalike

Co-president Linse Kelbe in front of a Rothko lookalike

College Night at the Frick

College Night at the Frick

Holiday Party Time

Holiday Party Time

Eric Darton, Historic and Sustainable Architecture in London Writing Tutor

12 Feb
Eric Darton TQ Head Shot
Eric Darton, acclaimed writer on New York subjects, wrote “Certain Amazing Adventures of Mr. Hoel,” which was originally published in New England Review in Spring, 2001. It has now been selected as an NER Classic.  Eric has been the writing tutor for the Historical and Sustainable Architecture Program capstone theses in 2012 and 2013 and will be returning this spring.