Friday 7 April 2017, 18.30 BP Lecture theatre £5, £3 Members/concessions
Alastair Sooke, art critic, journalist, broadcaster and author of Pop Art, and Stephen Coppel, Exhibition Curator of The American Dream: pop to the present, discuss the context of the exhibition, focusing on pop art's important role.
The 1970s saw the rise of second-wave feminism, with challenges to the dominant art historical narrative of ‘woman as object’ and ‘man as viewer and artist’.
This panel discussion explores the ways in which female artists from the late 1960s to the present day have demanded space for the female voice and body, creating new forms and dialogues, and changing the traditional structures of the art world.
Chaired by Kirsty Lang, the panel features Exhibition Project Curator Catherine Daunt, British Museum, and Griselda Pollock, Professor of Social and Critical Histories of Art and Director of the Centre for Cultural Analysis, Theory and History, University of Leeds.
Monday 8 May 2017, 17.30 - 19.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
The important role of duplication in the history of Chinese art is well known. Ancient bronze vessels and ceramics were produced in sets, and many were later copied.
Calligraphy and painting were copied to learn from ancient masters and preserve original works of art. Yet, in the study of Chinese sculpture, there is little discussion of duplication. The history of Chinese sculpture seems to consist of a series of singular, unique objects. There are period styles, regional similarities, and sets of images, of course, but few duplicates. If two or more works are identical, we are quick to dismiss one or more to be a modern forgery. Serial images and duplicates were undoubtedly produced in ancient times. Pious replications of Buddhist images were made in archaic styles. New works were provided with ancient inscriptions. Some such works were modern forgeries meant to deceive. But copies and duplicates were part of image making from ancient times to the present.
In this lecture, Stanley Abe, Department of Art, Art History, and Visual Studies at Duke University, will discuss examples of duplicate sculptural images as original production, as pious copies or replacements, and as modern forgeries. All are possible and, while difficult to discern, necessary to understand as part of the history of Chinese sculpture.
Followed by a drinks reception.
Supported by the Trustees of the Sir Percival David Foundation.
Saturday 29 April 2017, 14.00 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
British Museum Curator Irving Finkel introduces the world of ancient Mesopotamia – the 'land between the two rivers' (the Tigris and the Euphrates), now part of modern Iraq.
Irving explores what Mesopotamia is, what we should look for and why it matters. This talk is the first in a new series giving you a beginner's introduction to themes and cultures across world history.
Thursday 4 May 2017, 13.30-14.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Jenny Uglow, author of The Lunar Men: The Friends who Made the Future 1730–1810, considers the extraordinary spirit of curiosity and accomplishment in the circles of men who helped to develop the Enlightenment, including Josiah Wedgwood, Matthew Boulton, James Watt, Joseph Priestley and Erasmus Darwin. Followed by a book signing.
Friday 28 April 2017, 18.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
Mark Knight, Cambridge Archaeological Unit, University of Cambridge, discusses the ongoing internationally significant new discoveries being made at the site of a 3000-year-old settlement, dubbed the 'Peterborough Pompeii', at Must Farm, in East Anglia.
This lecture presents an update of the discoveries made in the past year, since Knight's March 2016 lecture at the British Museum.
Thursday 9 March 2017, 16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
A lecture by Rupert Chapman, formerly British Museum.
The biblical account tells us that in the early 9th century BC Omri, King of Israel, bought land on which to found a new capital for his new kingdom. Archaeology has revealed that this hill had previously been used for agriculture, including probably the growing of grapes and olives. Two major excavations have been carried out on the site, involving the two most noted field archaeologists and stratigraphic analysts who have ever worked in the Levant, George Andrew Reisner and Kathleen Mary Kenyon. Their work has produced a wealth of evidence about what is one of the most important archaeological sites in the southern Levant, making it the most extensively excavated royal centre of any period in the region, yet in many respects it is still one of the least known sites.
In this talk, Rupert Chapman will introduce the site, beginning with the construction of the great royal compound, which included the palace itself and an enormous parade ground, and examine the expansion of the great platform on which the palace stood, which took place shortly after the initial construction, looking at why that expansion was necessary. He will then examine the palace itself, with the first attempted reconstruction of what it looked like, and finish by looking at the evidence for the life of the building, when it was finally destroyed, and why. Lecture organised jointly by the Palestine Exploration Fund and the Anglo-Israel Archaeology Society.
Thursday 1 June 2017, 13.30-14.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
In this presentation, Helen Wang, British Museum, shares some of the highlights of the current project Textiles as Money on the Silk Road.
The paintings discovered at the Mogao grottoes, Dunhuang, north-west China in the 20th century, contain a storehouse of information about the silks used and traded across the Silk Road during the time of this important Buddhist site’s usage from the 5th to 13th centuries. But silk was not just about beauty, fashion, luxury trade and religious devotion – it was a form of money.
Presented in collaboration with the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts.
Friday 17 March 2017, 18.30 - 19.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £2
Author, art historian and presenter of acclaimed 2008 television series The American Future: A History Simon Schama discusses the remarkable prints presented in the exhibition and the astonishing cultural, artistic and political trajectory they chart.
Presented in collaboration with the British Academy and FT Weekend.
Thursday 20 April 2017, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Sue Brunning, Curator of Early Medieval European Collections at the British Museum, presents a close-up view of the marvellous metalwork from Sutton Hoo, revealing its most intricate secrets in high definition.
Thursday 6 April 2017, 16.00 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
A lecture by James Fraser, Project Curator for the Ancient Levant at the British Museum. Megalithic dolmen tombs are some of the most striking features in the archaeological landscape of the southern Levant. Yet their visibility has made them an easy target for tomb robbers over the last 5,000 years. Consequently, archaeologists have struggled to place these mysterious monuments into their true cultural contexts. This lecture presents the results of recent fieldwork investigating a dolmen cemetery in Jordan. This fieldwork underscores a new theory that proposes that highly visible dolmen tombs helped reconfigure the ways in which people engaged with the landscape in the 4th millennium BC, a time when the region’s earliest civilisations developed a new urban way of life.
Thursday 30 March 2017, 13.30 BP Lecture Theatre Free, booking essential
Deciphering Latin inscriptions is fun and rewarding and does not always require a prior knowledge of the language.
Most are easy to puzzle out because they are extremely formulaic, using a standardised system of abbreviations that ensured Romans from all areas of the empire could understand them.
Drawing on examples from the British Museum’s wide collection, curator Dirk Booms will explain the conventions, demystify the grammar and introduce the key vocabulary, taking you step by step through each inscription. Letters and symbols reveal the achievements of emperors, the career path of officials, the comradeship of soldiers, the devastation at the death of a loved one – Roman lives, minds and hearts.
Friday 24 March 2017, 18.30 - 19.30 BP Lecture Theatre £5, Members/concessions £3
Playwright and novelist Bonnie Greer and Sarah Churchwell, Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities and Professorial Fellow, IES, at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, reflect on social and racial divisions in America, both current and historical. They explore how artists and writers have responded to these experiences, and what 'the American Dream' has meant to communities across the country.