Disney art exhibit is likely in U.S., but not the one in Paris and Montreal

March 22, 2007

Disney exhibition bookThe acclaimed “Once Upon a Time Walt Disney” exhibition that’s currently in Montreal won’t come to the United States, but it’s likely that a similar exhibit of Disney art will, says Lella Smith, director of the Disney Co.’s Animation Research Library.

The current show includes artworks that inspired Disney artists, including masterpieces by Albrecht Durer, William Blake and Gustave Moreau. Smith said those were borrowed from the Louvre Museum in Paris on condition that they would only be on display in two locations — a limit that’s aimed at reducing the possibility that they would be damaged.

The exhibit, organized by Bruno Girveau, curator at the Grand Palais museum in Paris, opened there last fall. It moved to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts this month and will continue through June 24.

The show draws extensively from the 60 million items in the Animation Research Library in Glendale, Calif.

Fifteen other museums, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, contacted the library to see whether they could host the show after it closes in Montreal, Smith said.

Disney sceneIn response to that enthusiasm, “there’s a good possibility that there will be another exhibit,” Smith said. At the request of LACMA, Girveau has agreed to consider assembling a second, similar Disney art show. He will travel to Los Angeles next month to discuss that possibility with LACMA and the animation library, Smith said.

“It’s a wonderful exhibit,” she said. “It’s exciting. We would love to have it here in the Los Angeles/Orange County area, where so many Disney employees live.”

Arranging for public displays of historic Disney art wasn’t encouraged when Michael Eisner led the Disney Co., so “this is very new for us,” Smith said. Chief Executive Robert Iger and Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter want to get the artwork into public view, she said.

Iger attended the opening in Paris and Richard Cook, the chairman of Walt Disney Studios, went to the unveiling in Montreal, she said.

Further in the future, a separate exhibit of Disney art is possible at the New York Museum of Modern Art, Smith said. MOMA expressed interest in organizing its own Disney exhibit, but wouldn’t do so until after it completes an upcoming project with another studio, she said.


DisneyOther Disney-related posts in the “Arts of Innovation” blog:

Disney-related posts from the “Inside Innovation” blog:

Disney-related story from the O.C. Register Web site:


Sponsor of innovation runs into troubles in Paris

January 19, 2007

Artistic innovators, whether they’re conceptual or experimental, depend on visionary entrepreneurs to bring their works to the public. One of those — L’Atelier Lacourière Frélaut — has been in business in Paris since 1929, but now is going through a rough spot, reports the Galerie Broutta.

L’Atelier has published books of etchings and other works by conceptual innovators Matisse, Dali, Picasso and experimental innovator Miro, among many others.

Construction in the Montmartre area has displaced it, reports the Galerie Broutta, which calls on people to help find a suitable new location. The gallery will display works of L’Atelier from Jan. 31 through March 10.  (More information in French)

Why won’t exhibit of Disney’s conceptual innovations come to the U.S.?

January 16, 2007

Walt Disney’s style of innovation was on display in the “Il était une fois Walt Disney” exhibit that just closed at the Grand Palais museum in Paris, preparing for its March 8-June 24 showing at the Musée des Beaux-Arts in Montreal.

Book of Disney exhibit

Unfortunately, the exhibit isn’t scheduled to appear at any museum in the United States, which will deprive native Disney fans of a convenient opportunity to see this analytical display of works of “one of the great geniuses of the 20th century, and the greatest storyteller of the 20th century,” as Parisian curator Bruno Girveau describes him.

It’s unclear why no museum in the U.S. will make room for the show.

The exhibit demonstrates Disney’s use of a typical approach for conceptual innovators — creating innovative new works by building on works of the past. (For comparison, think of conceptual innovator T.S. Eliot’s profuse use of references to past literature in “The Wasteland.”)

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David Galenson: ‘an idiot’ or a ‘great cultural economist’

December 16, 2006

As a spectator sport, it’s fun to watch the wide range of reactions that David Galenson’s work provokes.

On one side, “The art historians and art critics won’t look at my work,” Galenson says. “They just assume I’m an idiot.”

One the other, Richard Robert at prestigious Sciences Po in Paris considers Galenson one of the great cultural economists.(“l’un des grands noms de l’économie de la culture.”)

That quote is from an article praising Galenson’s studies of the development of new art forms in the 20th century. Robert says they open the way to understanding the birth of the information economy.