Joseph Beuys’s use of unconventional materials, such as felt, wax, and fat, characterise his artworks. Whilst museums strive to obtain artists’ instructions regarding their objects’ life-span and care, Beuys’s preferences were largely unrecorded or inconsistent. The three case studies of Beuys works presented here explore museum decision-making when confronted with unclear artist attitudes to conservation intervention, and objects evincing material and conceptual decay.
The work of Emila Medková (1928–1985) is a remarkable example of surrealist documentary photography. A central member of the post-war Czech surrealist group, her images focus on the ‘concrete irrationality’ of the urban environment, finding metaphors in the world of objects and spaces for the absurd and oppressive state of post-war central Europe.
This paper describes the findings of a practice-based research project to assess the qualitative shifts in learning made by participants in the Schools Programme at Tate Modern. It establishes learning frameworks in relation to this programme which is considered in the light of the Generic Learning Outcomes framework proposed by the Museums Libraries Archives Council in 2004.
The subject of this paper is a portrait of the celebrated eighteenth-century dancer, Auguste Vestris, acquired by Tate in 1955, when it was attributed to Gainsborough Dupont, nephew of Thomas Gainsborough. The paper argues that the portrait is in fact by Gainsborough himself and, through a discussion of the context in which it was made, sheds new light on Gainsborough’s close relations with the world of the London stage.
In 1936 the English surrealist Eileen Agar photographed the extraordinary rock formations at Ploumanac’h in Brittany. This paper examines the ambiguous status of the photographs, using research in Tate Archives and at Ploumanac’h itself to provide new insights into Agar’s images.