Culture Health & Lifestyle

Getty Announces Grants Worth $1.55 Million; City Palace Museum Grants Rs 70,00,000

Getty has announced 19 new grants worth $1.55 million to support exhibitions, publications and digital projects around graphic arts.

Udaipur’s City Palace Museum, Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation has been granted Rs 70,00,000 for an exhibition and publication on 18th to 19th-century maps and landscapes from Udaipur in India.

The leading global arts organisation — committed to the exhibition, conservation and understanding of the world’s artistic and cultural heritage — announced the grants under its ongoing Paper Project initiative.

Heather MacDonald, senior program officer at the Getty Foundation said in a press release, “Permanent collections that include prints and drawings are the lifeblood of museums, archives and libraries.

“As the cultural sector moves into post-pandemic rebuilding, institutions have a tremendous opportunity to refocus on their own holdings while they also invest in the professional growth of their staff. These grants provide the resources needed to take a deep dive into seldom-seen collections and develop creative and relatable ways to display works on paper in galleries, in print and also online.”

According to the press release, “the curatorial projects represent collections of prints and drawing created across more than a millennium and dozens of countries”. Additionally, they exhibit a wide range of paper works like personal travel journals, political posters, illuminated manuscripts, architectural plans and maps, woodcuts, acid-based etchings, among others.

It further highlighted that many grants will “focus on understudied techniques. collections and artists”. The participating curators have chosen to present these objects “in fresh and compelling ways” through varied in-gallery and digital solutions.

Curator Kimberli Gant is investigating “the history and legacy of printmaking on the African continent in relation to an understudied body of work from one of America’s foremost modern printmakers, Jacob Lawrence”. Based on Lawrence’s works on paper that are inspired by his travels to Nigeria and his interactions with the Mbari Club, a network of artists, writers and musicians that emerged from the socio-political upheaval across West Africa, Gant’s scholarship is resulting in an exhibition.

Gant said, “This will be the first in-depth investigation of Lawrence’s little-known time in Nigeria and the works he created there. It provides an opportunity for viewers to consider Lawrence as not an exclusively American artist, but one interested in humanity, in portraying the everyday lives of the people he encountered throughout the world or through the stories he was told.”

Apart from that, a number of grants will specifically focus on digital-only projects “that are using technology to turn challenges in research or display into opportunities”. For instance, National Portrait Gallery curator Robyn Asleson will use a Paper Project Grant to support the digitisation of an album containing 1,800 rare silhouette portraits by early 19th-century artist William Bache. He will, further, develop a microsite that “features historic documents that bring the stories of the people depicted to life”.

“The Bache album attests to the function of hand-cut silhouettes as a uniquely democratic art form prior to the invention of photography. These silhouettes capture a fascinating cross-section of society, documenting hundreds of individuals for whom no other likeness exists,” Asleson said.

Curator Alenka Simon will use the grant to expand access to the contribution of Hinko Smrekar, an illustrator and satirist who was executed by the Italian fascist government without trial in 1942.

“Through this project, we can admire Smrekar’s courage, honesty and precision as he warned against the permanent faults of human nature, from pride and ignorance to greed and hypocrisy,” Simon said.

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