COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY SEMINAR ON THE ARTS OF AFRICA, OCEANIA, AND THE AMERICAS
Eagle Relief, 10th–13th century, Mexico, Toltec, Andesite/dacite, pigment(H. 24.5cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Frederic E. Church, 1893 (93.27.2)
Andrall E. Pearson Curator, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Conceiving the Encyclopedic: The Founding Decades of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1870-1914)
Established in 1870 with neither a collection nor a building of its own, The Metropolitan Museum of Art(Met)was dedicated to an ambitious, cosmopolitan vision—one that was global in scope and embraced the entirety of art history. In the early decades of the institution’s history, particular attention was paid to the acquisition of American antiquities, part of a broader move toward hemispheric unity in the nineteenth century, and one that was deeply entangled with political, and emergent national, ambitions towards Latin America. By 1900, The Met had acquired over 2,000 objects made by indigenous artists of the Western Hemisphere. This precocious inclusion of the ancient Americas into an art museum was reversed by 1914, when the institution reconsidered the place of these works within a fine arts museum and the bulk of this collection was sent across Central Parkto the American Museum of Natural History. In some ways, this history is an idiosyncratic saga of The Met’s collecting and an evolving institutional identity. On a deeper level, however, this history is also about shifting definitions of what is considered “fine art,” and the recognition of the arts of the indigenous Americas as part of global narratives.
Wednesday, March 4, 2020
832 Schermerhorn Hall, Columbia University
Wine and Cheese 6.00–6.30pm
MADE POSSIBLE BY A GENEROUS GIFT FROM A MEMBER OF THE SEMINAR
Those wishing to join for dinner with the speaker after the presentation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP.