The Frick wants you, oh young college and graduate students of America. I had the pleasure of meeting Rika Burnham, Head of Education at the Frick Collection earlier this month, and she was adamant that the Frick is in transition from a very private institution to one more welcoming to the public. The “Frick Connection” is in its first year offering lectures and weekend sketching programs, all with a focus on college and graduate students.
In early April, I audited “Conservator as Detective,” a two part seminar led by Joseph Godla and Julia Day, two conservators at the museum. Along with about fifteen other students, I learned how museum conservators analyze and interpret decorative arts for clues that help them evaluate and authenticate objects. I must admit, even more exciting than the class was the atmosphere; held in the beautiful Fragonard room in the museum after hours, without annoying tourists or slow moving old people to crowd my view. I might have pretended that Henry Clay Frick’s old mansion (and one of the greatest American art collections) was my house… Though this particular class was very focused and (I thought) somewhat slow moving unless you had a particular interest in the subject or had studied it before, Ms. Burnham insisted that she would recommend most other classes to non-art history students as well. Classes are free, but there is a $25 materials fee, and registration is required. But be warned: Frick Connection courses do not necessarily accept every applicant. Classes are limited to twenty people and college, graduate and recent graduate students take precedence over older applicants.
“Museums are for engagement, mystery, and imagination,” Burnham said. Indeed, the Frick is bringing out all the stops to usher in young people to the museum. Ms. Burnham noted that “the collection is changing; 600 works of art changed places recently. [The Frick’s] programming and collection are not static.” Last September, the museum hosted its first ever annual College Night, which drew an astounding five hundred people and was replete with a DJ and short gallery talks running continually through the night.
“Art Dialogues for Young Professionals” are informal dialogues on selected works of art, held after hours at the museum two Fridays per month. The Frick also hires unpaid summer interns. Helpful hint: Ms. Burnham said that there are not enough Education Intern applicants though these interns are assigned research projects and give gallery talks. This summer the Frick will be a destination for other museum internship programs as well. Evening classes for interns and college students dubbed, “Cool Classes for Hot Nights,” will be free but advanced registration is required.
And finally, MAKE SURE to check out Renoir, Impressionism, and Full-Length Painting at the museum through May 13. I have dubbed Renoir, “the man who loves love” after seeing his sublime dancing couples and being thoroughly sick of all the other misogynistic Impressionists (*ahem* DEGAS).
The Frick Collection, 1 East 70th St, New York, NY
Photos from www.frick.org