Photo Credit: Fabiola Chiminazzo

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Event Details

Wed, May 29, 2024

14:00 – 17:30


Open to NYU Florence Students only

(Event open to NYU Florence students-only)

Led by Fabiola Chiminazzo, Fellow artist and researcher from NYU Abu Dhabi, and Francesca Baldry, Collection Manager for the Acton Collection at Villa La Pietra, NYU Florence


2:00 PM – Introduction)

2:15 PM – Collection tour and note-taking

3:00  PM – Collage workshop 

4:00 Coffee Break

4:15 – Collage workshop 

5:15 Discussion and Wrap up

A house museum, the Acton Collection at Villa La Pietra, preserves its collections to keep the ambiance’s authenticity and allow viewers to browse its items intimately, which differs substantially from other museums. This seminar proposes to open up art historical and collecting narratives through art practice, engaging students to transform their perception of museum collections by reactivating the role of creativity and imagination. It opens a series of questions: What are the similarities and differences between a house museum (i.e., the Acton Collection in Florence, Isabella Gardner Museum in Boston) and a regular museum (i.e., Accademia or Uffizi Galleries)? How are collections built? Who is the collector(s) or the archival maker? 

The workshop draws inspiration from the “Mnemosyne Atlas” (1924–1929) by German historian Aby Warburg  (1866-1929). Entitled Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory — the Atlas is a principle or a procedure of visual representation. The atlas concept infuses students to reflect on the museum’s organizational principles, shifting to a panoramic way of thinking. Rather than accept one story by reading labels, students are invited to locate other stories, opening different ways of understanding art rather than situating them within familiar chronologies. 

To respond to such questions, we will use the Acton Collection’s reproduction of artwork and historical photographs as primary sources for developing collage and photomontage projects. The workshop will end with a discussion with all participants. Students will collect impressions from 2 of the actual museum rooms and record their encounters with images and objects to uncover links outside the collection’s story. Place, media, and image are the central notions that articulate this seminar. We will explore the Acton Collection rooms to trace relationships between what is behind the desire to collect, display, share, and communicate. We also want to reflect on what living in a house collection atmosphere means and incorporate the ‘mind of the collector’ to play and reassemble its notions with our own logic and with the contemporary eye.