Past Events

The Closed, from Pandora’s Box to Damien Hirst

Lecture – Penelope Curtis

  • 2 February 2015
  • 6:30 – 7:30 pm
  • Sainsbury Theatre, National Gallery, London

Sculptures often enclose precious remains, and in this deploy a language based on the reliquary or casket. This lecture marshals the closed form – whether box, chest or urn – to consider the ways in which sculpture contains and protects.

A marble sculpture of a woman kneeling down with a box

Harry Bates, Pandora, Exhibited 1891, marble, ivory and bronze on marble base, 1060 × 540 × 785 mm

Digital image courtesy of Tate, N01750

About the speaker

  • A woman wearing purple top with arms crossed

    In 1988 Penelope Curtis joined the new Tate Gallery in Liverpool as Exhibitions Curator. In 1994 she moved to the Henry Moore Institute in Leeds, where as curator, she was responsible for a programme of historical and contemporary sculpture exhibitions, collections building in sculpture and archives, and research activity including events, fellowships and publications. In 2010 she took up the role of Director at Tate Britain, before leaving in 2015 to move to the prestigious Calouste Gulbenkian museum in Lisbon.

    She has written widely on 20th-century British sculpture, on European art and architecture of the inter-war years, and on many contemporary sculptors including Thomas Schütte, Gerard Byrne and Isa Genzken. She is author of Sculpture 1900-1945: After Rodin (OUP, 1999) and Patio and Pavilion: The place of sculpture in Modern Architecture (Ridinghouse, 2007).