HUAS 6318 The Arts and Their Institutions

-Spring 2009 Scholarly Museum Exhibitions by Richard Brettell, in collaboration with Heather Macdonald from the Dallas Museum of art and C.D. Dickenson from the Kimbell Art Museum Institute of Chicago

This seminar studied the scholarly art museum exhibition in terms of methodology related to three case studies: Richard Brettell (Pissarro’s People case study 1), Heather Macdonald (Boucher landscapes, case study 2: The Lillian and James H Clark Associate Curator of European Art at the Dallas Museum of Art) and C.D. Dickenson (Bernini, case study 3: the Associate Curator at the Kimbell Art Museum ). This examination studied the differing strategies employed by museums to link advanced scholarship in history and the history of art to museum exhibitions and their resulting publications. It provided students with the opportunity to create a professional proposal for a scholarly art exhibition in an area of study suited to their interests. The seminar also exposed students at UTD to museum professionals with PhD degrees from major universities and with practical experience in the institutional field.

-Fall 2011 Art Museum: Louvre to Abu-Dhabi by Richard Brettell
The seminar’s focus was the art museum as an institution producing meaning, from the first museum in Rome to the erection of monumental gathering spaces during the 19th and 20th centuries, specific attention paid to the Louvre and the Hermitage as universal museums in universal cities, the National Galleries in London, Washington, Ottawa, Melbourne and Canberra, some royal collections as well as private exhibition spaces spanning the globe. The focus was on the differing types of spaces in exhibiting art, from art institutes to the privatization of collections, national museums and the branding of institutions such as the Guggenheim, Louvre and Hermitage.

Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, digital rendering


-Fall 2012 The Civic Art Museum by Richard Brettell, taught at the Dallas Museum of Art, in collaboration with Bonnie Pitman, Distinguished Research Scholar in Residence
Taught in collaboration with Bonnie Pitman, Distinguished Research Scholar in Residence at the DMA, the course sought to examine the city as the locus of important art museums since the beginning of the art institutional movement in late 18th-century Boston and Philadelphia. Although the most important of these were not founded until after the Civil war, the last three decades of the 19th century and the first two of the 20th saw the foundation of major urban art museums in virtually every American city, most named after the city of their founding rather than a donor or civic official. These institutions attempted to unite the arts of humankind in all media and periods, thus becoming as “universal” as museums in European countries with colonial agendas.
None had any “national” aspirations or support but were rather, with the symphony orchestras, natural history museums, science museums, theaters and operas, part of a pattern of civic cultural binding which held American cities together before the great age of professional sports and mass media in which we live today.