Past Events

Thinking About Exhibitions: Interpretation, Reconstruction, and Curation

Public Lecture Course – Mark Hallett

  • 8 March to 12 April 2018
  • 6:30 – 8:30 pm
  • Paul Mellon Centre

Led by the Centre’s Director of Studies, Mark Hallett, this spring's course will take an exciting behind-the-scenes look at the research, writing, borrowing, design, and installation processes involved in putting on a major exhibition. 'Thinking About Exhibitions' will use as case studies exhibitions held at major institutions around the world including: 

  • Hogarth, which took place at Tate Britain in 2007,
  • The Great Spectacle: 250 Years of the Summer Exhibition, at the Royal Academy, due to open Summer 2018
  • George Shaw: A Corner of a Foreign Field, which will open at the Yale Center for British Art in the autumn, before travelling to the Holburne Museum in Bath in the spring of 2019.

“Thinking about Exhibitions” will feature artists, curators, and art historians as guest speakers over its five sessions. 


This term’s course will take a slightly different format from previous years. The first four sessions will follow the traditional Public Lecture Course model, with a lecture followed by a question and answer period. The final session will be a group discussion that will bring together all of the themes discussed in the preceding lectures. Each lecture will be recorded and made available to the public through the Centre’s website.

“Thinking about Exhibitions” will begin on Thursday, 8 March 2018 and will run every Thursday for three weeks. There will be a one-week break for the Easter holiday and the course will begin again on 5 April and conclude on 12 April.

Please see our 'Visit' page for more information about accessing the Paul Mellon Centre. 

You can watch the lectures live on our Livestream page. Videos of the lectures will then be made available on our website 24 hours after the lecture. Please note: the lecture on 12th April will not be broadcast. 

About the speaker

  • Mark Hallett

    The Director of Studies oversees all aspects of the Centre's activities, ensuring that it supports the most original, rigorous and stimulating research into the history of British art and architecture, and fosters collaboration with our sister-institution, the Yale Center for British Art. 

    Prior to taking up his position at the Centre in 2012, Mark worked in the History of Art department at the University of York. Appointed as lecturer in 1994, he became a Professor in 2006 and was Head of Department between 2007 and 2012.

    His scholarly research has focused on British art between 1650 and 1850. The books he has written and edited include The Spectacle of Difference: Graphic Satire in the Age of Hogarth (Yale University Press, 1999); Hogarth (Phaidon Press, 2000); Eighteenth Century York: Culture, Space and Society (edited with Jane Rendall, Borthwick Institute, 2003); Faces in a Library: Sir Joshua Reynolds's 'Streatham Worthies' (The Watson Gordon Lecture 2011, National Galleries of Scotland, 2012); Living with the Royal Academy: Artistic ideals and Experiences in England, 1769–1848 (edited with Sarah Monks and John Barrell Ashgate, 2013); Reynolds: Portraiture in Action (Yale University Press, 2014); and Court, Country, City: British Art and Architecture, 1660–1735 (edited with Nigel Llewellyn and Martin Myrone, Yale University Press, 2016). He also co-edited the major online publication, The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition: A Chronicle, 1769–2018 (Paul Mellon Centre, 2018).

    Mark has also been involved in curating numerous exhibitions. He co-curated the 2007 Tate Britain exhibition Hogarth and co-authored the accompanying catalogue with Christine Riding; he co-curated the 2011 York Art Gallery exhibition William Etty: Art and Controversyand co-edited the accompanying catalogue with Sarah Burnage and Laura Turner; he co-curated the 2015 Wallace Collection exhibition Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint and co-edited the accompanying catalogue with Lucy Davis. He is the co-curator, with his colleague Sarah Victoria Turner, of the 2018 Royal Academy exhibition, The Great Spectacle: The Royal Academy and its Summer Exhibitions 1769–2018, and co-authored the accompanying catalogue. He is to curate an exhibition of the work of the contemporary artist George Shaw, which is to open at the Yale Center for British Art in October 2018, before travelling to the Holburne Museum, Bath, in February 2019.

    Mark has been the recipient of a Leverhulme Research Fellowship and a Mellon Senior Fellowship. He has been a Visiting Scholar at Pembroke College, Cambridge (2013–14) and a Visiting Professor at the Courtauld Institute of Art (2014–16).