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Sculpture and Geology: Modernism, Interdisciplinarity and the Museum Today

22 April, 2024 @ 7:30 pm 9:00 pm

Joint Lecture with the Museum and Art Gallery

Professor Jenny Powell, Director and Barber Professor, The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham

In 1930 a reviewer of an Arthur Tooth’s exhibition, that included work by Barbara Hepworth, commented that from the catalogue ‘it sounds at first glance like a geological and forestry exhibition’. Like many of her peers, including Henry Moore, Hepworth was very particular about her choice of stones that she used for carving.  Some of these materials were increasing used in the built environment too. The Barber Institute of Fine Arts was constructed from Darley Dale stone in 1939, the same stone that Moore chose for his large-scale sculpture Three Standing Figures, 1947, first displayed in the open-air in Battersea Park a year later. This lecture will explore what a deeper exploration of the properties of stones in art and architecture can reveal about Hepworth and Moore’s practices. It also asks what interdisciplinary exhibitions can offer to the contemporary museum and its publics.

Jennifer Powell is Director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts, and Barber Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham’s Department of History of Art, Curating and Visual Studies. Prior to this, she was Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the Royal Academy of Arts, London and Associate Professor at the University of Cambridge.

Jennifer begun her curatorial career with the V&A before taking up the post of Assistant Curator of Modern British Art at Tate Britain in 2010. She was appointed Head of Collections, Programme and Research at Kettle’s Yard, University of Cambridge, in 2013, and played a key role in the gallery’s £11.5million redevelopment project.

This event is open to both members and non-members to attend in person. The event will also be streamed using Zoom.

Members: Members will receive an email about a week before the event providing them with the information required to listen to the lecture using Zoom.

Non-members: Non-members may attend either on Zoom or in-person on payment of £5 (student non-members £3) by booking through EventBrite:



New Walk Museum, 53 New Walk
Leicester, LE1 7EA
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