V&A East: A New Storehouse and Museum

with Dr Gus Casely-Hayford

An Artist’s Impression of the V&A East © Diller Scofidio + Renfro, 2018

When: Friday 29 October, 18.00-19.30

Venue: Online (Book tickets here)

V&A East is a new cultural institution that  builds on the V&A’s long-standing history in east London and our founding mission to make the arts accessible to all. We want to amplify the role museums play as platforms for discovery, hope and conversation in our rapidly changing world, and we will craft a creative campus, a social space with a global outlook that is truly embedded within its local community.  We want to create relaxed and inclusive spaces, to welcome people who may not have felt museums were for them in the past, to empower young people – not only by radically increasing access to the cultural industries and opening up our national collections – but by bringing them with us on the journey.  

Dr Gus Casely-Hayford, OBE, Prof by Practice (SOAS), the founding Director of V&A East, a museum and collection centre presently under construction. He was previously the Director of the Smithsonian, National Museum of African Art and is a curator and cultural historian who writes, lectures and broadcasts widely on culture. 

Over the course of his career, Casely-Hayford has been a constant champion for the arts. He has presented two television series of The Lost Kingdoms of Africa for the BBC (and wrote the companion book), two television series of Tate Britain: Great Art Walks for Sky and has worked for every major British TV channel. His TED talk on Islamic culture has been viewed more than a million times. Former Executive Director of Arts Strategy, Arts Council England, (Britain’s major Art’s funder) and Ex-Director of the Institute of International Contemporary Art, he has offered leadership to both large and medium scale organizations. Dr Casely-Hayford has lectured widely on art and culture, including periods at Sotheby’s Institute, Goldsmiths, Birkbeck, City University, University of Westminster and SOAS. He has advised national and international bodies on heritage and culture including the United Nations and the Canadian, Dutch and Norwegian Arts Councils. In 2005 he deployed these leadership, curatorial, fundraising and communications skills to organise the biggest celebration of Africa Britain has ever hosted with Africa 2005 when more than 150 organisations put on over 1000 exhibitions and events to showcase African culture.

Amongst a range of honours, he has also been awarded a Kings College cultural fellowship for service to the arts and a SOAS Honorary Fellowship for service to Africa. He speaks widely, gave a SOAS Centenary lecture, judged the Art Fund’s British Museum of the Year award, advised the Royal Shakespeare Company on their production of Hamlet and is a member of English Heritage’s ‘Blue Plaques Group’.

The Avant-Garde Museum: Book Launch and Panel Discussion

The permanent display of the International Collection of Modern Art of the “a.r.” group at the J. and K. Bartoszewicz Municipal Museum of History and Art in Łódź, Photo: Włodzimierz Pfeiffer in: International Collection of Modern Art / Collection Internationale d’Art Nouveau, 1932, archive of the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź.

When: Thursday 2 December, 18.00-20.00

Venue: Online (Tickets will be released soon).

The event, spurred by the publication of the book by the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, will raise issues related to the museumization of the avant-garde in Europe and America in the 1920s. It will also present one of the earliest museums of the avant-garde which was set up by a group of Polish artists in the industrial city of Łódź in 1931.

Confirmed speakers: Professor Janet Marstine; Professor Christina Lodder; Dr Jarosław Suchan; Agnieszka Pindera and Dr Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius (moderator)

The Avant-Garde Museum is the first study focusing on the avant-garde’s auto-institutionalization. It compares several (quasi) institutions of the avant-garde established between World War I and World War II: Museums of Artistic Culture in post-October Russia, Kabinett der Abstrakten designed by El Lissitzky for the Landemuseum Hannover in 1927, the activities of the Société Anonyme Inc., founded in New York in the early 1920s, and the International Collection of Modern Art of the “a.r.” group opened to the public in 1931 at the City Museum in Łódź. Critical studies by major scholars of the historical avant-garde are accompanied by translations of rarely discussed texts, reproductions of unknown archival sources, as well as art works. The Avant-Garde Museum includes contributions by Jarosław Suchan and Agnieszka Pindera, as well as Masha Chlenova, Maria Gough, Jennifer R. Gross, Frauke V. Josenhans, Sandra Karina Löschke, Daniel Muzyczuk, Rebecca Uchill, ok group (J. Myers and J. Szupińska), Marcin Szeląg, and Tomasz Załuski.

All are welcome.

Speaker Biographies:

Professor Christina Lodder

Christina Lodder specialises in Russian art of the early twentieth century. She is President of the Malevich Society, and co-editor of Verlag Ferdinand Schoeningh’s (formerly Brill’s) Russian History and Culture series. Her numerous publications include  Russian Constructivism (1983); Constructing Modernity: The Art and Career of Naum Gabo (co-author, 2000); Gabo on Gabo: Texts and Interviews (co-editor, 2000); Constructive Strands in Russian Art (2005); Rethinking Malevich (co-editor); Utopian Reality: Reconstructing Culture in Revolutionary Russia and Beyond (co-editor, 2013); Aleksei Gan’s Constructivism (translator, editor, 2013); and Celebrating Suprematism: New Approaches to the Art of Kazimir Malevich (editor, 2019).

Professor Janet Marstine, Honorary Associate Professor (retired), School of Museum Studies, University of Leicester; Museum Ethics Scholar and Consultant

Janet Marstine is currently an independent scholar and consultant based in Maine in the US. She writes on diverse aspects of museum ethics from curatorial ethics to negotiating the pressures of self-censorship to artists’ interventions as drivers for ethical change. She has a particular interest in recognising and supporting the agency of practitioners to make informed ethical decisions. She sat on the Ethics Committee of the UK’s Museums Association from 2014-2019, helping to move their approach from one of policing to empowering.

Dr Katarzyna Murawska-Muthesius, Associate Lecturer in the Department of Art History, Birkbeck and Research Fellow at the Centre of Museum Cultures

She was Curator (1980-1997) and Deputy Director (2009-11) of the National Museum in Warsaw. Among her recent publications are From Museum Critique to the Critical Museum (Ashgate 2015, with Piotr Piotrowski); Imaging and Mapping Eastern Europe: Sarmatia Europea to the Communist Bloc (Routledge 2021). 

Agnieszka Pindera, Head of the Research Center at the Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź

Agnieszka Pindera is interested in cultural policies, history of art institutions, including grassroots and independent initiatives. She has edited a series of books on artists’ self-organization (Practical Guide for Artists), and a history of alternative exhibition institutions (Artist-run Initiatives and Galleries) in collaboration with Anna Ptak and Wiktoria Szczupacka. She is the author of a biography of Józef Patkowski, the founder of the Polish Radio Experimental Studio, a center established in 1957 to stimulate experimental interdisciplinary work (Patkowski: Ambassador of Music from Planet Mars). She curated an exhibition by Konrad Smoleński at the Polish Pavilion during the 55th International Art Exhibition—La Biennale di Venezia (with Daniel Muzyczuk), as well as at the Centre PasquArt (Biel/Benne) and Zachęta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw).

Dr Jarosław Suchan, Director of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź

An art historian, critic, and curator, with a focus on the avant-garde, modernism, and institutional critique. In recent years, he has prepared monographic exhibitions of Katarzyna Kobro and Władysław Strzemiński, shown in the most important European museums. His exhibitions of Polish and international art have been presented at the Centres G. Pompidou Paris, Museo Reina Sofia Madrid, Serralves Museum Porto, Gemeentemuseum The Hague, Moderna Museet Malmö, Kunsthaus Graz, Zachęta Gallery Warsaw, and the Muzeum Sztuki Łódź. He is also the author of numerous texts on modern and contemporary art, and editor or co-editor of books on Władysław Strzemiński, Tadeusz Kantor, Jerzy Grotowski, and the Polish-Jewish avant-garde.