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Finding Inspiration in Collaboration: The Story of an Exhibition


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Watch talk here or listen to the recording below:

First opening at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in December 2021 and then moving to the Wallace Collection where it is now on view, "Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts" has proven to be a critical success and a crowd-pleasing exhibition in both New York and London. It is the result of the close collaboration between the two museums across several departments, and with the Walt Disney Animation Research Library, and above all between the two curators. In this panel, Wolf Burchard and Helen Jacobsen discuss the project and the many years of working together to bring the exhibition to life. They will be joined by British theatre designer Tom Piper, one of the designers behind the Wallace Collection’s version of the show, who brings his own experience of collaborating with museums to the conversation.

Vase 'à tête d'éléphant', Manufacture de Sèvres, Jean-Claude Chambellan Duplessis, the Elder (designer), Charles-Nicolas Dodin (painter), 1757 (C247 detail) © The Wallace Collection

Wolf Burchard

Wolf Burchard is Associate Curator in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the co-curator of Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts. Prior to joining The Met, he held curatorial positions at the National Trust and the Royal Collection. He read History of Art and Architecture at the Courtauld Institute of Art, from which he holds an MA and PhD.

Helen Jacobsen
Helen Jacobsen is Executive Director of the Attingham Trust, an educational charity which brings together international curators and heritage sector professionals for intensive study of historic houses and collections. Formerly Senior Curator at the Wallace Collection, she has worked on many collaborative projects both nationally and internationally, including the Riesener Project with Waddesdon Manor and the Royal Collection Trust and, most recently, Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has curated exhibitions and published on French eighteenth-century decorative art and collecting history.

Tom Piper
Tom has received an MBE for services to Theatre and First World War commemorations in 2015. Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red has won numerous awards, including, amongst others, a Museum and Heritage award & a Southbank Sky Arts award; and with Paul Cummins, he was named The Telegraph’s Briton of the Year 2014. A series of installations featuring the two sculptural pieces from the installation, designed by Tom, were on tour around the UK until the end of 2018.

Moderated by Vivienne Chow
Vivienne Chow is an award-winning journalist specialising in arts, culture and cultural politics, and is currently the London Correspondent for Artnet News, and contributor to Variety. Her work has appeared in a range of international media outlets. In 2014, she found Cultural Journalism Campus, a non-profit outfit promoting arts writing among young people. She has also taught arts and culture journalism at universities. Previously, Vivienne was a culture correspondent for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong for 15 years. She was recipient of the Society of Publishers in Asia’s arts and culture reporting honour in 2020, and the IJP Premium Fellowship Award in Germany in 2018. In 2021, she sold her first NFT work, It’s All Convoluted.

Watch talk here

Snuff box, France, 1744 (G4) © The Wallace Collection

Candelabrum, France, c. 1775 (F126) © The Wallace Collection

Bracket clock, attributed to Jacques Gouchon (movement maker), c. 1739 (F409) © The Wallace Collection


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