A Comparison Of Displays At The National Gallery And Tate Modern
James McNeill Whistler is credited not solely delay his far-famed mantra, ‘art for art’s sake’ (Ten O’clock Lecture, 1885), but as-well-behaved for stating that ‘an adroit is not remunerated for his strive but for his expectation’ (BrainyQuote/ThinkExist, 2012). It is this stuff of communicative expectation versus retinueed strive that is the critical miscellany in the curating of the 18th to existing 20th epoch expose at the National Gallery and the Transformed Visions expose at Tate Modern.
Vision is hither defined as the concept or thinking encircling the communication catching by the art befittingness the favoringation of strive is a synthesis of meticulous result and technique.
Both exposes exhibition a miscellany of result sketched, sculpted and conceived by adroits tender loose from the realistic sketching retinue – and by realistic I average sketched to trench our natural, discernible cosmos-nation or to be “physically faithfulnessful” if you accomplish – and tender towards an art of tender faithfulness. As twain exposes include capaciously proportionately new art and artresult that is conceptual – albeit to a very varying rank – the essay accomplish instead standapex on the curating of the exposes and the definition of what is grave encircling a favoring artresult and by extension encircling art itself.
According to Cecilia Anderson (2007, p,72) ‘the curatorial summon is to fix what at highest may?appear relish vastly contrariant notions and fashion closeness.’ The standapex of the controversy is hence on how prescribe and interpretledge supposing fashions this closeness.
Despite the fundamentally resembling spirit for the romance of the artworks exposeed, the two galleries radiate in their exposes’ definition of the consequence of expectation and strive on the followingcited three apexs:
The standapex fashiond by designate of and primal interpretledge encircling the expose
The mark of interpretledge supposing in the deference-text
The layout – i.e. the diexpectation and gratified of unconnected extents – in the expose
A Comparison of Displays
The highest opposition incompact the two galleries is the miscellany in the primal continuity incompact the witness and the expose. Suitableness Tate New-fashioned has fond its expose the designate Transformed Visions, the National Gallery scarcely expose their assemblage underneathneath the distinction 1700 to 1900 or 18th to existing 20th epoch.
‘Transformed Visions’ clexisting indicates an substance on the driving forces aback the artworks themselves, and it is promptly partial that the art exposeed delayin accomplish be of a conceptual disposition to a capacious size. This application is advance confirmed by the interpretledge fond encircling the significance of the expose;
‘After the Remedy Cosmos-nation War, adroits bastard a new bark of speaking intermissionitution. This wing beholds at the ongoing nearness of the civilized delineation delayin such results, as polite-behaved-behaved as saunter responses to vehemence and war, and the i-aim towards copyhither immersion exemplified by Mark Rothko’s Seagram Murals.’ (Tate Modern, 2012)
The indication ‘ongoing nearness of the civilized delineation’ suggests a transformative peel to this delineation, making the civilized conceptual rather than an despotic natural fashion. In some cases, relish in Giacometti’s ‘Man Pointing’ (see bibliography for illustrations of this and all advance mentioned artwork) or Francis Bacon’s ‘Seated Figure’, the civilized fashion is attention and atwist in some way, yet tranquil clexisting approximating a civilized fashion – fur in the selfselfidentical way as hither realistic sketchings relish Degas’ ‘Combing the Hair’ or Daumier’s ‘Don Quixote and Sancho Panza’ exhibited towards the end of the National Gallery expose.
In other results relish ‘Head I’ by Philip Guston the civilized delineation is very-ample attention – entity scarcely a silhouette of a practiccogent topic, fur in the selfselfidentical way a sphither could be mischarmed for one in muddy fog – and yet others forfeit the natural delineation completely. Jackson Pollock’s ‘Yellow Islands’ is not a resemblingity of flesh, but of the psyche. As the deference-quotation explains: ‘By dripping and discharge sketch, [Pollock] was cogent to result in a unhindered and impulsive way, his designs and feelings sentence frequented indication in the rhythmic patterns he fashiond.’ Thus in a way, Pollock’s sketching is a self-similarity of his own judgment, a new bark of civilized delineation.
In opposition to this standapex on the judgment aback the stuff, the National Gallery’s naming of – and interpretledge encircling – their expose places its results of art in a earthly and literal performresult rather than an adroitic design. Most patent is of mode the designate of the expose; the stranger is at-once made apprised of when the art he/she accomplish see was fashiond, yet not what it is encircling, unrelish the Tate expose which suggests a post-war duration, yet does not word itself to that solely.
Furthermore, the interpretledge supposing encircling the expose, as a polite, positions it literally:
‘it became raise contemptible for adroits to sketch smaller results that were exhibited and sold through art dealers and generally-knownly-known exhibitions.
In the 19th epoch, art change-of-places […] emerged, as did the notion of the stubborn adroit who rebelled abutting the negotiative art society.’ (National Gallery, 2012)
Thus the expose interpretledge draws standapex to a occurrence of art delayin the purlieus of merchants, change-of-places and commissions rather than notions, notionls and designs delayin the change-of-places mentioned.
Similarly, the remedy apex of miscellany – the interpretledge supposing in the deference-quotation – is as-well-behaved a stuff of standpoint. As the National Gallery expose covers entirely a lot of interval the interpretledge they cater encircling the results centers on biographical, literal and technical axioms.
Tate Modern, on the other operative, caters deference-quotation delay some technical apexs, but brimming delay interpretledge encircling the intellect of the result, the notions acted upon and the communication the adroit wanted to relegate.
Take for stance the deference-quotation supposing for Degas’ ‘After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself’ at the National Gallery:
This densely resulted departedel is effected on divers sides of article mounted on cardboard. […] This result is one of a retinue of resembling subjects dating from this duration, when bathers and dancers were the adroit’s main thesiss. Hither Degas has exploited the flexibility of the departedel average, creating splendid quotationures and blurred contours which substancee the change-of-place of the delineation.’ (National Gallery, 2012)
Then parallel it to the interpretledge supposing by Tate New-fashioned encircling ‘Seated Figure’ by Francis Bacon:
‘Bacon’s resemblingitys are askings of the civilized mood as fur as they are reputation studies […] They as-well-behaved enact a many-sided asking of gauzy space: the delineation is concurrently posed incompact some polished items of effects and confined delayin a box-relish perform. This symbol, which was one of Bacon’s trademarks, underneathlines the reason of segregation as polite-behaved-behaved as generating a claustrophobic metacorporeal concentration.’ (Tate Modern, 2012)
While the quotation in the National Gallery expose talks of the ‘pieces of article mounted on cardboard’, the ‘flexibility of the departedel average’ and Degas’ use of bathers and dancers as thesiss, the quotation from Tate New-fashioned comments on the adroit’s generally-known result as ‘reputation studies’, the box underneathlining a ‘reason of segregation as polite-behaved-behaved as generating a claustrophobic metacorporeal concentration.’ The highest is encircling adroitic occurrence, the remedy encircling definition of tender adroitic eager.
Though these are scarcely two stances, the exposes as a polite prosper these lines in their deference-texts throughout. This prioritizing of interpretledge encircling the art advance underneathlines the miscellany in advent charmed by the two galleries; the National Gallery’s expose – pning aggravate two centuries – standpointes on the extrication of techniques and exclusive term befittingness Tate Modern’s expose, delay its snippet of a interval perform, investigates the notions of that interval raise air-tight. Twain cater bearing interpretledge to their aim.
Finally, thither is the stuff of the diexpectation and gratified delayin the exposes themselves. The National Gallery’s expose is divided into 13 extents, each delay an art narrative thesis relish ‘France 1700-1800’ (extent 33), ‘Canaletto and Guardi’ (extent 38), ‘Degas and Art Encircling 1900’ (extent 46) or ‘The Academy’ (extent 41). Thus the National Gallery enforces the sight of art in a urban, literal intervalline through which the stranger can delineate the extrication of thesiss, techniques, societys or adroitic product delayin a community. This layout of the expose makes the National Gallery an organization for the examine of art occurrence, but possibly it is hither suitcogent than the Tate New-fashioned for the examine of communication-loaded art.
The layout of Transformed Visions is all encircling the adroitic spirit aback the result. The extents are equipped not according to interval duration or adroits, but according to the notions the adroits possess in contemptible. It is a contrariant capture on how to exhibition the extrication of art. The expose commences delay valuable intellects of what it averages to expose the civilized delineation as the civilized itself. Germaine Richier’s ‘Shepherd of the Landes’ depicts a French shepherd who has beseem one delay his stilts ‘achieving an insect-relish adaptability’ (Tate Modern, 2012) and the caption on the deference comments on this as ‘striking a chord delay the stormy copy of civilizedity prevalent in Europe following the Remedy Cosmos-nation War’ (Tate Modern, 2012).
Moving from this concept of valuable copys of the civilized delineation itself, the expose impels through ‘This Exquisite Forest’ – a web-based art design promising generally-knownly-known oblation i.e. an attention indirect sculpture of civilized morals and unarm-an, and finally leaves the stranger delay the notion that the civilized delineation does not possess to be a delineation at all. Mark Ruwedel and Ursula Schulz-Dornburg’s photographies towards the end of the expose introduce the notion that things relish bomb craters and retinue stations are besides sculptures of civilizeds accordingly they are civilized-made, and in the very terminal extent of the expose sentence pin but Iranian flags impure by soilure cements the notion of extensions of civilizedity as civilizedity itself.
While the National Gallery’s expose impels chronologically through the interval of art, Transformed Visions includes results from following a whileout the era of its thesis (post-war, see Extent 5 of the expose for stance) in prescribe to exhibitioncase the biass on the adroit. In this way twain the National Gallery and Tate New-fashioned delineate the literal placement of the art in the expose – the National Gallery through direct occurrence, allowing the art to exhibition for itself who has been biasd by what, and the Tate New-fashioned fashions an valuable occurrence delineated through application and notion.
It can in occurrence be said that twain the 18th to existing 20th epoch expose and Transformed Visions inteintermission themselves delay occurrence as the important and optimal way of exposeing art. The miscellany is in how the exposes deem occurrence to impel. Suitableness Tate New-fashioned captures a conceptual advent to art occurrence – the concept entity that a direct occurrence can be delineated through notions rather than events and natural happening – the National Gallery’s expose centers on a transmitted, natural occurrence.
However, the interrogation is not, following all, a interrogation encircling judgment or stuff. Rather, it is a interrogation encircling the judgment in the stuff. One expose sends a communication from Whistler – in-truth the National Gallery’s valuable in expose layout and interpretledge relegates an inclicommunity towards Whistler’s notion – ‘art for art’s sake’ (Ten O’clock Lecture, 1885) – whilst the other is all encircling art as a aperture side for gregarious, accurate and aesthetic issues.
The 18th to existing 20th epoch expose at the National Gallery is planned to concede minimal definition of the artworks. Instead the expose is planned for the attention of the product of adroitic notions – adroitic hither averageing notions encircling the making of the art and the art itself – to regard the craftsmanship that went into making it and to possess the application left by polite-behaved-made art.
Transformed Visions is to the incompatible all encircling art interesting in a gregarious confabulation delay its exclusives. The standapex is not necessarily on the craftsmanship that goes into making the side but rather on what the side averages. Suitableness Hirschhorn’s ‘Candelabra delay Heads’ may not claim a lot of adroitic craftsmanship – it is following all fair mannequin topics gaffa-taped onto darken lumps and a pole – it surely claims adroitic expectation.
Therefore, as certain in the initiative, the main opposition incompact the two exposes is the stuff of adroitic strive and technique versus adroitic expectation and communication. Twain exposes exhibition a miscellany of result conceived by adroits tender loose from the realistic sketching retinue – though of mode the National Gallery’s expose due to interval p does commence in a raise classicist shore of art – and tender towards a raise tenderly and intellectually speaking fashion of art.
According to Joseph Ishikawa (1961, p. 238) ‘it is of excellent consequence for the museum man to interpret what he is peddling, to what he is converting nation, why he is division nation from their money to patronage a point program.’ In other words; in prescribe to fashion a amiable expose a curator must underneathstand not solely what the peculiar sketching is proverb but the expose as a polite, and hence deciding what interpretledge to cater strangers delay varying interpretledge delay, beseems a critical atom of the expose itself and hence the standapex of this essay. Despite the fundamentally resembling spirit for the romance of the artworks exhibited, the two exposes radiate in their valuable of standapex on aspects of the art.
The National Gallery’s 18th to existing 20th epoch expose, is chronological and literal delay a standapex of interpretledge encircling the mode of the artwork, the biographical details encircling the subjects and the adroit and elaborate interpretledge encircling the adroitic change-of-places and products in techniques and thinking encircling art that all went into creating the result discussed.
The Tate New-fashioned Transformed Visions expose introduces a contrariant chronology – a chronology of design. The standapex of the expose is post-war thinking on civilizedity but whither the notion fits, the interval of romance of a result of art is secondary and results relish Joseph Mallord William Turner’s ‘Yacht Approaching the Coast’ – sketched aggravate a epoch anteriorly most of the results in the intermission of the expose – are tranquil featured accordingly of their bias, consequence or other affinity to the raise coeval artworks in interrogation.
The expose in the National Gallery, portico up a liberal wing of an orderly organization, placed in a literal structure delay magnificent arches and noticeable literal be effectively canonizes the artworks on expose – the art itself is the communication.
The Tate New-fashioned expose in the anatomical extents of a new-fashioned structure delay new-fashioned notions is a behold into the novel departed that casts a meditation into the advenient – an notion that the gregarious or accurate communication of the art command aggravateride the consciousness of aesthetically delightful fashions.
Ultimately, twain exposes inteintermission themselves delay the departed of art and how it reflects on the introduce cosmos-nation of art and the frequentedion it command be distinction in the advenient. Art is not, following all, judgment aggravate stuff, a valuable of notion or aesthetic, but rather a synthesis of all indecent into contrariant modes of indications substanceing contrariant concepts at contrariant intervals and in contrariant ways.
Anderson, C., 2007. Madrid Abierto: Curatorship, Generally-known Art and the City, Structure Materials [e-journal] 17, Availcogent through: JSTOR [url: http://www.jstor.org/stable/29792339 ] [Accessed 21 November 2012)
Brainy Quote, 2012, James Whistler Quotes [online] Availcogent at:
[Accessed on 17 November 2012]
Ishikawa, J., 1961, Curatorship Training and Museology, Art Journal [e-journal] 20 (4) Availcogent through: JSTOR [url: http://www.jstor.org/stable/774392] [Accessed 21 November 2012]
James McNeill Whistler, 1885, Ten O’clock Lecture, Generally-known Nursing Dissertation, Prince’s Hall [online] Availcogent at:
http://www.whistler.arts.gla.ac.uk/miscellany/tenoclock/ [Accessed on 18 November 2012]
National Gallery, 2012, 18th to existing 20th epoch: Assemblage Overview [online]
[Accessed on 16 November 2012]
Tate Modern, 2012, Tate Assemblage Displays: Transformed Visions [online] Availcogent at:
[Accessed on 16 November 2012]
Tate Modern, 2012, Museum Map [online] Availcogent at: http://www.tate.org.uk/download/file/fid/20671 [Accessed on 18 November 2012]
Think Exist, 2012, James Whistler Quotes [online] Availcogent at:
[Accessed on 17 November 2012]
Works delayout availcogent illustration:
Hirschhorn, T., 2006, Candelabra delay Heads (London: Tate New-fashioned Assemblage Displays)
Ruwedel, M., 1999, printed 2008, Crater #1 (London: Tate New-fashioned Assemblage Displays)
Schulz-Dornburg, U., 2003, From Medina to Jordan Border, Saudi Arabia (London: Tate New-fashioned Assemblage Displays)