What is it like to curate a show on one of the most baffling, cantankerous, elusive artists ever to put brush to canvas?
Join the curator of the exhibition The Scandalous Art of James Ensor, Scott Allan, in what just may be the definitive talk on Ensor. While the exhibition hardly needs any introduction—the bawdy, colorful laughing figures on street banners around town speak for themselves—we couldn’t resist posting this excellent talk Scott shared with colleagues at the Getty’s most recent staff meeting. Listen as Scott perfectly captures the essence of Ensor with his own witty, satirical remarks.
My favorite passage is Scott’s depiction of what it felt like to curate James Ensor:
Faced with Ensor’s trenchant satires, gross-out bodily humor, and dripping sarcasm, the curator charged with describing, narrating, and interpreting is placed in a tough spot. If Ensor found out about our binders of guidelines for the preparation of didactic materials, we would come in for a seriously unholy roasting. Frankly, it was hard not to feel his ghost mocking me at every turn, daring me to write something educational and family friendly about wizards flying around on broomsticks being tossed and propelled by winds of their own flatulent breaking.
Download the file on Soundcloud here.
Thank you for highlighting our “naughty” Ensor and allowing us to see a Getty treasure in a new light!