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Hugging Zombies: A conference by Luke Syson

Hugging Zombies: A conference by Luke Syson

Hugging Zombies: How the Met has been collecting art that’s out of fashion and why you should too. This is the curious title of a very interesting inaugural speech given by Luke Syson last 20th October for the 1st edition of TEFAF New York at the French Institute – Alliance Française. Former Curator and Head of Research at the National Gallery in London and Head Curator – since January 2012 – of the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts of the Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York, Syson is very proud to speak about his acquisition policy when he says: “The Met buys European furniture, sculpture and decorative arts not just because pieces speak to the moments they were made, though this is of course a crucial consideration, but because they go on speaking today. For an art object to be contemporary does not mean it had to be made yesterday.
This interesting point of view introduced by Syson in his speech, highlights new hopes and future perspectives for the antiques field at a time when the panorama of the art market is mainly focused on contemporary art.

Ceremonial Ewer, Portugal, ca. 1520-50, gilt silver / Damien Hirst, Cupid’s Lie, 2008, gold.

Ceremonial Ewer, Portugal, ca. 1520-50 / Damien Hirst, Cupid’s Lie, 2008.

Many people are thinking that an old object is no more familiar, is no more alive; there is a sort of negative association….” but on the contrary “a sculpture or a work of art from the past can take us beyond art and in the true life of an historical period “ and moreover “there are a lot of connections and similarities between an antique piece and a contemporary art work“.

Luisa Roldàn, The Entombment of Christ, 1700-1 / Richard Serra, Through, 2015

Luisa Roldàn, The Entombment of Christ, 1700-1 / Richard Serra, Through, 2015

Ultimately Syson’ words highlight how important is nowadays “to develop a new language linking the past to the present”, trying “to surround our lives with objects” able to give us a special pleasure and a new impulse to go on.

Click here below to see the full video of the conference:

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