Faculty Off the Cuff Photo by Kris Qua._x1200

Tom Krens former WCMA director to teach this fall

Photo of Tom Krens at WCMA Lecture May 2013_x500

Tom Krens, former director of both the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation and the Williams College Museum of Art, will be teaching a course in the fall called From WCMA to Bilbao and Beyond: The Future of Museums in the Global Cultural Landscape. Its focus is the phenomenon of the “new museum.” Drawing from his vast experience at the Guggenheim and in Europe, Krens will tease apart the concept that while the economic downturn has all but halted growth in public interest and appreciation of the arts in the U.S. and Europe, the new museum is taking root in the Middle East and China.

At a recent talk to a capacity crowd at WCMA, Krens—who studied political economy at Williams—explained that there is no such thing as a prototypical art museum. “The public art museum is an 18th century idea in a 19th century box,” he asserted.  So while art may be bigger than life, museums need to be life-sized. “Art has to speak to the space, and vice versa,” Krens said of the lessons he learned while developing MASS MoCA in nearby North Adams. Visitors to that contemporary museum know that for the conversation to succeed, the space often needs to be capacious, he said.

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2 Responses to Tom Krens former WCMA director to teach this fall

  1. christine jackson counelis says:

    Can anyone supply info on the book about byzantium that Krens referenced in his presentation at WCMA? Either Stoddard or Faison had him read it….and it changed the course of his life….

    • Kim Hugo says:

      The book Tom Krens referenced as life-changing was The Image of Eternity: Roots of Time in the Physical World, by David Park.

      The author was actually a physics professor at Williams, and I believe Krens took a course directly from him. You can see David Park’s obituary for more information on his writings and teaching career: http://www.physicstoday.org/1.2722496