1. Michael Squire interviews Christian Levett in front of an image of Mougins, home to the MACM.

Modern Classicisms

What is it about Ancient Greek and Roman art that still captivates the modern imagination? How can contemporary art help us to see the Classical legacy with new eyes? And what can such modern-day responses – situated against the backdrop of others over the last two millennia – reveal about our own cultural preoccupations in the 21st century?

These were some of the questions addressed in the opening workshop of Modern Classicisms held in the Great Hall at King's College London on 10 November 2017. The workshop launched the first phase of an exciting project bringing together art historians, collectors, critics and artists, to examine what the Classical artistic legacy means from the vantage-point of contemporary artistic practice.


2. Michael Squire of Kings College London and artist Marc Quinn.

The Great Hall at King's College London was full, with over 250 delegates and 35 speakers. As there was a long waiting-list for tickets, all the sessions were filmed, and videos, plus a short documentary about the day, will be available in 2018 at www.modernclassicisms.com.


3. From left to right: Leisa Paoli, Director of Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins (MACM), Christian Levett (Owner of MACM and Minerva), Bénédicte Montaine, Outreach and Education Manager (MACM), and Lindsay Fulcher, Editor of Minerva

The workshop took the form of a series of dialogues and discussions, structured around five thematic sessions. Each one opened with an introduction, or interview, followed by a panel response and group discussion. There were also three separate 'interventions' – including film screenings, artist discussions and interviews. The
35 speakers and respondents included not only Classicists and art historians, but also curators, critics, journalists and, above all, artists themselves, including some of the most celebrated names in the contemporary art world. Other on-campus activities included guided 'virtual tours' of the Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins (MACM), and a temporary exhibition in the King's Building on the receptions of the 'HIS' and 'HERS' of Classical sculpture. Each delegate received a copy of the latest issue of Minerva. sSpeakers and panelists included: Ruth Allen, Tiphaine Annabelle Besnard, Bruce Boucher, James Cahill, Léo Caillard, Sir Michael Craig Martin, Russell Goulbourne, Donatien Grau,Constanze Güthenke, Patrick Kelly, Charlotte Higgins, Brooke Holmes, Nick Hornby, Jessica Hughes, Patrick Kelley, Polina Kosmadaki, Christopher Le Brun, Christian Levett, Jo Malt, Simon Martin, Ursula Mayer, Minna Moore Ede, Robin Osborne, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Elizabeth Prettejohn, Marc Quinn, Mary Reid Kelley, Alexandre Singh, Michael Squire, Caroline Vout, Evelyn Welch, Sarah Wilson and Raphael Woolf.

Sponsored by Christian Levett, this event was organised by the Arts and Humanities Research Institute at King's College London, in partnership with the Courtauld Institute of Art, the Musée d'Art Classique de Mougins and Minerva.

The next big event in the project is The Classical Now, a major exhibition of ancient, modern and contemporary art, that will be on show in London, at the Bush House Arcade and the Inigo Rooms (Somerset House East Wing), King's College London from 2 March to 29 April 2018 (for further details see page 45).
Michael Squire

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