CODART, Dutch and Flemish art in museums worldwide


Welcome: 3D

February, 2013

This article was originally published in the CODART eZine, no. 2 Spring 2013.

An article on the Vienna Kunstkammer, a piece on Dutch and Flemish sculpture in the Baltic region, and a tapestry specialist In the spotlight: this issue of the eZine is dedicated completely to the three-dimensional arts.

Sculpture and the applied arts have been important to CODART from its inception. Although our organization is open to curators in all disciplines, it is curators of the “flat arts” who most often join CODART. Since the majority of our members concentrate mainly on paintings, drawings and prints, it stands to reason that our congresses and other activities mostly focus on those disciplines. This means that the applied arts and sculpture do not always receive the notice they deserve from CODART, and this could easily turn into a vicious circle, for why would curators in these fields want to join an organization that pays them scant attention? The current tendency for museums to present paintings, prints and drawings in combination with period pieces of sculpture or objects of applied art is reason enough for CODART to sharpen its focus on 3D art. Moreover, CODART’s eZine, with its technical features, offers the perfect opportunity to highlight these disciplines, as clearly shown by this special issue, which features a film on the boxwood project at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto.

In an attempt to stir up interest in sculpture and the applied arts within CODART, curators in these disciplines were invited this past year to join the program committee and the editorial board of the eZine. They have put their knowledge and professional networks to use in supporting CODART’s efforts to integrate 3D art into our activities and to increase membership among curators of sculpture and the applied arts. Everyone who reads this is welcome, of course, to introduce new members.

The exhibition Surviving the Iconoclasm: Medieval Sculptures at the Catharijneconvent in Utrecht was a good opportunity to concentrate on sculpture. More than fifty people attended the CODARTfocus meeting held there on 28 January to mark the exhibition. It was a pleasure to work closely in this context with the Contact Group Early Netherlandish Art. Not surprisingly, those attending this gathering represented an international mix of CODART members, academics, students, and other specialists in the field, who shared their expertise with one another and discussed the works on display. This issue of the eZine contains an account of the day’s activities by Micha Leeflang, one of the initiators of this CODARTfocus meeting.

This year CODART celebrates its fifteenth anniversary. Behind the scenes a lot of work is going on to organize an event to commemorate this milestone. You will be hearing more about this soon.

Naturally CODART owes its success primarily to the ever-growing number of faithful members who visit our congresses and meetings and contribute to the eZine and our website. Of increasing importance to the functioning of our organization are our Friends, who help to expand our social base and contribute financially to our activities. This is why the current eZine includes an interview with Thomas Leysen, a collector and Patron of CODART, who has served as chairman of the Friends of CODART Foundation since the spring of 2012.

Funds, too, play an ever greater role in the financing of our activities, so it is highly appropriate, at this point, to express our gratitude to the Stichting Dioraphte, which provided financial support for this issue of the eZine.

Meanwhile the CODART ZESTIEN congress in Vienna, organized in close cooperation with the Kunsthistorisches Museum, is approaching. In Vienna you may take part in a fascinating program of lectures, discussion groups and excursions, as well as an exclusive visit to the Kunstkammer, which reopens in March. The keynote speakers will be Arthur Wheelock and Julien Chapuis. Many CODART members have already signed up for CODART ZESTIEN, but there are still a few places available. Don’t wait too long to apply if you want to reserve a place in the discussion groups and excursions of your choice. I look forward to seeing you in Vienna!

Gerdien Verschoor, Director of CODART