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Formality and Informality

Speakers: Professor Stephen Bann CBE and Dr. Elena Crippa.

Chair: Donald Smith

Curators are beginning to inject an amount of informality and intimacy into their displays of modern and contemporary art reflecting practices in artists' studios, small galleries and archives.

This session looks at potential origins of this shift in curatorial thinking and how it can be achieved against a backdrop of the restraints of public institutions.

The title of this discussion takes its cue from Kettle’s Yard founder Jim Ede's idea that he wanted to create "a place where young people could be at home, unhampered by the greater austerity of the museum, where an informality might infuse an underlying formality”.

As a starting point Stephen Bann will discuss his own encounters with Jim Ede and Kettle’s Yard as a Cambridge undergraduate in the early 1960s and what impression Ede may have made on future curatorial and institutional thinking.

The session will open out to explore the shifting status of documents and documentation previously designated as archive / special collections and their context as 'art' objects.