Tue, March 08, 2022
18:15 – 19:45
Villa La Pietra
Via Bolognese, 120
50139 Firenze, Italy
Larry Wolff and Perri Klass, Co-Directors NYU Florence – Welcome and Introduction
Francesca Baldry, Collection Manager at Villa La Pietra, NYU Florence – Hortense Mitchell Acton: Her Interest in China and the Callot Soeurs
章杲恆 Gaoheng Zhang, Associate Professor of Italian | Associate Head of Italian Studies at the University of British Columbia – Issues of Orientalism and Fashion in the Twenty-first Century
Iside Carbone, Chinese Art Specialist and Anthropologist, Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland – Beyond the Object. Chinese Ceramics in European Collections
Claudia Beyer and Costanza Perrone Da Zara, Textile Conservators, Restauro Tessile – The Privilege of the Conservator: From Treatment to Display
Round table discussion led by Amanda Gao, NYU Florence Student among students who have worked on the project.
Fascination, Approximation, or Appropriation? What did it mean for Hortense to wear a Chinese coat for a dinner at La Pietra, or to ask the family friend Umberto Brunelleschi, a magazine illustrator and opera costume designer, to create a ‘Chinese style’ outfit for a theatre event where she performed? Or to commission the French House Callot Soeurs to design evening dresses with butterflies, or peonies, or a bat motif? To use a diagonal cut or large bat sleeves? Or a long straight waist and corset-less dress?
Join us for an online presentation of the curatorial student-based project to learn about fashion at the beginning of the 20th century. We will focus on the robes and gowns of Hortense Mitchell Acton in the context of her inclination towards Chinese art and culture, which is visible throughout the house museum. This later influenced Harold Acton’s decision to live and teach in Beijing for seven years. The conference will include guest speakers who will contribute to the discussion. The conservators will explain what is the work behind the scene to set up this fragile group of textiles.
As a part of NYU’s global university, we encourage our students to think critically about this history of fashion with its aspects of appropriation while, at the same time, appreciating the aesthetics of complex textile works.
A temporary display of Chinese and French robes and gowns, in dialogue with the Acton-Mitchell collection, rich in Asian carpets, decorative objects, and furniture. Books, music, and photographs preserved in the house at Villa La Pietra will also contribute to an exploration of the Acton-Mitchell family’s collecting taste and their strong interest in Asia.
Minimal treatment was carried out on the dresses, robes, and carpets by the conservation studio Restauro Tessile, in order to prepare these fragile textiles for display.
A short video of the display project will be projected before the presentation. Video by NYU Florence students Jocelynn Coyne and Qu’Raun Scott-McKoy, coordinated by Domenico Cannalire, Digital Media Production – Digital Studio.
COLLECTION MANAGER FOR THE ACTON COLLECTION AT VILLA LA PIETRA, NYU FLORENCE
Before joining NYU Florence, Francesca Baldry taught for many Study Abroad Programs, worked in museums (Dulwich Picture Gallery and Victoria and Albert Museum in London; Palazzo Davanzati Florence) and collaborated extensively with the Italian Ministry of Culture for exhibitions and catalogue entries. Her scholarly research and publications cover 19th and 20th c. Anglo-American collecting, art and conservation; Renaissance art media; Tapestries; History of photography; Preventive conservation in museums and House Museum management. Currently dr. Baldry is the Collection Manager at Villa La Pietra: she coordinates all the conservation activities and organizes projects using the Acton Collection as a didactic open laboratory for NYU undergraduate and graduate students; she is coordinating the ongoing digitization and cataloguing of The Acton Photograph Archive and has curated the current display project in the rooms of the Villa Hortense Mitchell Acton’s Reception of China in Her Fashion. (November 2021-April 2022).
Claudia Beyer and Costanza Perrone Da Zara
TEXTILE CONSERVATORS, RESTURO TESSILE
Costanza Perrone Da Zara and Claudia Beyer, accredited to the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage, have worked since 1995 in the conservation field for public institutions, including the Gallerie degli Uffizi, Palazzo Davanzati, the Enrico Caruso Museum in Florence, and the Quirinale Palace in Rome. Moreover they have provided their service to important private collections in Italy, Germany, United Kingdom and the USA. Costanza has a degree from the Opificio delle Pietre Dure, and Claudia graduated in textile technology and was trained in conservation in Germany and Italy by institutional programs. In the past twenty years, they have actively collaborated with NYU for preventive and remedial conservation of the Acton collection at Villa La Pietra in Florence and their projects have been conducted in partnership with the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts NYU. Perrone and Beyer are members of the International Council of Museums. http://www.beyer-perrone.com/
CHINESE ART SPECIALIST AND ANTHROPOLOGIST, ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE OF GREAT BRITAIN AND IRELAND
Iside Carbone holds a PhD from the Department of Anthropology, UCL. Her research interests focus on Chinese art and material culture in particular, and on museum ethnography as well as anthropology of art in general. The monograph China in the Frame. Materialising Ideas of China in Italian Museums and the edited volume Asia Collections outside Asia. Questioning Artefacts, Cultures and Identities in the Museum are among her main publications. She is Assistant Editor for the Anthropological Index Online published by the RAI (Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland) in cooperation with the Anthropology Library and Research Centre at the British Museum. She is member of relevant research groups and associations: the RAI Anthropology of Art Committee; MEG (Museum Ethnographers Group); CARN (Chinese Art Research Network); EACS (European Association for Chinese Studies); EAAA (European Association for Asian Art and Archaeology); and ACHS (Association of Critical Heritage Studies).
Perri Klass, MD
PROFESSOR OF JOURNALISM AND PEDIATRICS AT NYU; CO-DIRECTOR, NYU FLORENCE
Perri Klass is Professor of Journalism and Pediatrics at New York University and Co-Director of NYU Florence; her most recent books are A Good Time to Be Born: How Science and Public Health Gave Children a Future, a study of the decline in infant and child mortality, and the effects on parenting, pediatrics, culture, and society, and Quirky Kids: Understanding and Supporting Your Child With Developmental Differences, coauthored with Eileen Costello, M.D. Dr. Klass writes the weekly column, “The Checkup,” for the New York Times. She is the National Medical Director of Reach Out and Read, which works through pediatric primary care to promote reading aloud to young children.
JULIUS SILVER PROFESSOR OF HISTORY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT NYU REMARQUE INSTITUTE, AND CO-DIRECTOR OF NYU FLORENCE
Larry Wolff is Julius Silver Professor of History, Executive Director of the NYU Remarque Institute, and Co-Director of NYU Florence. His books include Venice and the Slavs: The Discovery of Dalmatia in the Age of Enlightenment (2001), Paolina’s Innocence: Child Abuse in Casanova’s Venice (2012), and The Singing Turk: Ottoman Power and Operatic Emotions on the European Stage from the Siege of Vienna to the Age of Napoleon (2016). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
章杲恆 Gaoheng Zhang
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ITALIAN | ASSOCIATE HEAD OF ITALIAN STUDIES, UNIVERSITY OF BRIITISH COLUMBIA
章杲恆 Gaoheng Zhang is Associate Professor of Italian Studies at the University of British Columbia. He researches broadly on Italy’s global history and connections using a cultural-studies approach. His more recent work addresses migration and mobilities in relation to Italian-Chinese exchanges, the longest-standing “West-East” communications in written record. His first book is titled Migration and the Media: Debating Chinese Migration to Italy, 1992-2012 (University of Toronto Press), which is the first detailed media and cultural study of the Chinese migration from both Italian and Chinese migrant perspectives. A second book is tentatively titled “Chinese Recipes, Italian Designs: Food and Fashion Cultures between Italy and China via the United States,” which examines cultural representations and dynamics pertaining to food and fashion mobilities between China and Italy that migration, commercial trade, and tourism help initiate or deepen.