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Winter Seminar: The Lives of Artists

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National Gallery of Ireland

Merrion Square West

Dublin 2

Ireland

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Are you curious about art and artists? Have you ever wondered why do artists make art? In what ways do artists work today? Is the art world today so different to the Renaissance period? Have you ever wanted to visit an artist in their studio?

This exciting two-day event will answer the above questions and more, looking at both an international and national context with an exciting keynote from US based writer and cultural sociologist, Dr Sarah Thornton author of; Seven Days in the Art World and 33 Artists in 3 Acts. With panel discussions, walking tours and studio visits with a range of Ireland’s leading artists, The Lives of Artists will celebrate the many ways that artists work, across art forms and career stages, while taking in a range of cultural sites across the city.

This engagaing, cross-site seminar is a novel collaboration between Temple Bar Gallery + Studios (TBG+S) and the Royal Hibernian Academy (RHA). The title for the seminar is taken from Giorgio Vasari’s tome The Lives of the Artists, which was one of the first art historical books that brought together a reflection on artists from one period in time, that of the Renaissance, albeit a personal and biased one. The seminar will give a snapshot of the international and Irish art scene, connecting directly with the artists of today.

This seminar is open to all and gives a unique opportunity to meet with artists and art commentators in a relaxed environment. The weekend will comprise of a keynote address, a meet and greet drinks reception and performance on Friday evening, two compelling panel discussions on the Saturday morning and a menu of artist studio visits, walking tours, gallery visits and intimate talks on Saturday afternoon, with a lively closing reception, not to be missed!

Click here to download the full schedule of events.


The Lives of Artists Seminar Outline:

Friday 16 November

Keynote | Dr. Sarah Thornton​

"True Artists" in "False Worlds": Exploring the Myths and Realities of the Art Game

Ethnographer and sociologist of culture, Sarah Thornton will open the seminar by examining the way artists play the game of the international art world. Based on research for her celebrated books, Seven Days in the Art World and 33 Artists in 3 Acts, Thornton will look at how artists with high levels of recognition view their social role and create myths that give their work clout. Indeed, in an era when anything can be art and there are no objective measurements of quality, how do artists assert relevance and command authority? Over the past 15 years, Thornton has interviewed hundreds of artists including Ai Weiwei, Andrea Fraser, Damien Hirst, Yayoi Kusama, Grayson Perry and Cindy Sherman, in pursuit of answers. www.sarah-thornton.com

The Talk That Talks, a performance by Lisa Freeman

The Talk That Talks is performed by three performers, and is centred on a soundtrack and script. It is framed by gender and politics and how they intersect and bring into play modes of social exchange. The performers will move through and around the audience members, opening up conversations around the construction of power in society.

Saturday 17 November

Panel Discussions

Saturday morning will comprise two panel discussions taking place in the National Gallery of Ireland.

Panel 1: Chaired by Patrick T Murphy, this interdisciplinary panel, including Ronan McCrea (artist), Caoimhe Kilfeather (artist), art historian Philip Cottrell (UCD, Art History) and psychologist Ciaran Benson (Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCD), will reflect in conversation on the following questions: The Renaissance versus the Contemporary, what has changed? What drives artists to make work? Who are artists making work for? What mediums do artists work in and why? Why are we so interested in the stories of artists? What makes an artist?

Panel 2: ‘Credibility, Femininity, Legacy’. This panel will address the patriarchal outlook of Vasari’s Renaissance text and reflect on the diverse experiences of artists today by inviting different generations of Irish artists to debate the tensions between femininity, credibility and artistic legacy. Through images and directed inquiry, the panel will discuss the impact of gender and sexuality on art and art world perceptions, on what and who gets taken seriously, on who is remembered and why, and on the inequalities of various legitimization processes, including the art market. The panel will be moderated by Dr Sarah Thornton (author of Seven Days in the Art World and 33 Artists in 3 Acts) and participants include artists Eimear Walshe and Vivienne Dick.

Behind the Scenes, Studio Visits, Walking Tours, Gallery Visits, and Intimate Talks

During Saturday afternoon there will be a menu of activities for people to choose from taking place at the RHA, TBG+S and across the city. This will include studio visits in both venues, smaller intimate talks (including exhibition introductions, discussions on the techniques of art and two intimate performances), and two walking tours discovering other cultural spaces. Saturday will conclude with a closing reception at TBG+S.

Tickets: €30 & €2.08 booking fee, which includes two drinks receptions, and tea/coffee on Saturday morning.

About Dr. Sarah Thornton, keynote speaker:
Described by the Washington Post as "the Jane Goodall of the art world,” Dr. Sarah Thornton is a writer and ethnographer with a BA in Art History and a PhD in Sociology of Culture. She is the author of three books: Seven Days in the Art World, 33 Artists in 3 Acts and Club Cultures: Music, Media and Subcultural Capital. Thornton lived in London for many years and was, for four years, chief writer on contemporary art for The Economist. She now lives in San Francisco where she writes about art, design and tech culture. One day, she may finish a book titled Eight Days in Silicon Valley. www.sarah-thornton.com

Contributors include: Bassam Al Sabbah (artist), Robert Armstrong (artist), Ciaran Benson (Professor Emeritus of Psychology, UCD), Ella Bertilsson & Ulla Juske (artist), Ruth Carroll (RHA, Exhibitions Curator), Philip Cottrell (UCD Art History), Vivienne Dick (artist), Stephen Dunne (artist), Isadora Epstein (artist), Lisa Freeman (artist), Arran Henderson of Dublin Decoded (Art Historian), Michael Hill (TBG+S, Exhibitions Curator), Caoimhe Kilfeather (artist), Colin Martin RHA (artist), Aisling McCoy (artist), Ronan McCrea (artist), Patrick T Murphy (Director, RHA), Isabel Nolan (artist), Alan Phelan (artist), Alison Pilkington (artist,) Tamsin Snow (artist), Sarah Thornton (cultural sociologist and author), Charles Tyrrell (artist), Eimear Walshe (artist).

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National Gallery of Ireland

Merrion Square West

Dublin 2

Ireland

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