Name: Michael Waldron
Where are you from?
What do you do at Crawford Art Gallery?
I am Assistant Curator of Collections & Special Projects. What does that mean, you might ask? Essentially, I work with the team on researching the collection and curating exhibitions out of it. This allows us to reveal new contexts and themes for the more than 3,000 objects in our care and to keep things fresh, interesting, and relevant for our loyal visitors.
It's a gift of a role that has been incredibly varied and exciting over the past couple of years. Initially my focus was on the historic collection of Canova Casts, those plaster gods and mortals that have inspired generations of artists and visitors. That research culminated in the renewal of our Sculpture Galleries with the exhibition Recasting Canova and its associated events and mediation. We even got to 3D-scan the casts and remove their fig leaves (with a little help from Mary Beard)!
Aside from that, I have been very fortunate to collaborate with colleagues and artists on various projects, ranging from The Gibson Bequest 1919-2019 with Dawn Williams to Invisible Light with Anne Boddaert and The School of Looking. Some of the special projects include working with the contemporary vocal ensemble Tonnta for Their Chorus (2020) and Cork Midsummer Festival for Tania El Khoury's As Far As My Fingertips Take Me (2019). It's a source of pride that, as part of my role, I have got to introduce a series of LGBTQ+ tours of the collection to help us speak to and see diversity. More to do! I also work closely with our Marketing team on the social media side of things as well as managing image licensing.
Do you have a favourite artwork, exhibition or gallery space?
Working so closely with the collection it's really hard to play favourites. I sometimes find it changes depending on time of year or how long it's been since I saw the work last. And then there are the moments when you fall in love with a work for the very first time - startled as it draws you in. I have a special place in my heart for the drawings of Samuel Forde (the subject of my first exhibition), which are treasures of the Crawford Art Gallery collection, as are the Harry Clarke watercolours. Through my role, I have also come to know the work of so many other artists, including Dragana Jurišić, Dorothy Cross, Katherine Boucher Beug, Brian Maguire, Vivienne Roche, and Stephen Doyle, to name but a very few. If I had to choose just one though it would have to be Hawk and Quarry in Winter, in Memory of Peter Lanyon (1964) by Tony O'Malley. For me, it is part landscape, part animal, part elegy and I am drawn back again and again to it.
Do you remember the first time you visited the gallery?
Vividly! It was the autumn of 2001 and my secondary school art teacher, Brigid Daly, brought us to see Picasso: Watercolours and Drawings 1896–1934. The exhibition consisted of loan works from the Musée Picasso in Paris and was displayed in the, then, brand new extension designed by Erick van Egeraat. Even now it would be exciting, but back then it was very cool and actually transformative. It was a perfect marriage of art and site. I was obsessed with Picasso and architecture at the time and returned to the art room of Douglas Community School inspired. I even made a Picasso batik and brought friends and family along for return visits! I know I'm not alone in this, but I still have (and cherish) the poster and catalogue. That exhibition really made me want to do what I do now - a very important art encounter and life moment. Truly! I strive to do that for someone else and pay it forward.
Emmett Place, Cork, Ireland
Tel: 021 480 5042
N.B. Last entry is 15 minutes before closing
Thursday until 8.00pm
Sundays and Bank Holidays
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