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Webinar: Label Writing
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Professional Development Webinar series presented to current members of AAMC.

When: Thursday, October 8
2:00-3:30pm ET
Where: At your computer

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Label Writing 
Thursday, October 8, 2015, 2:00-3:30pm ET

After you register (above) please follow link to complete your registration on GoToWebinar. You must complete the second step of registration to receive information about attending the webinar.


Every curator, no matter from what size museum, gallery, or venue, faces the issue of writing labels. That single piece of real estate, whether inconspicuous or noticeable, with limited words or an abundance of them, has been a hotly contested space as museums grapple with retaining existing and attracting new audiences. While there are varying philosophical stances, the issue of inclusivity and cultural sensitivity is a crucial one that every curator, regardless of involvement or point of view, faces. 

This webinar outlines some of these key issues through a moderated discussion with curators who have dealt with them at their differing institutions (both large and small). An introduction  will provide a brief overview of the state of labels in art museums. The co-moderators will then pose questions to the panelists, such as: What during the course of your career, has driven the content of labels? How do you determine who the audience is that you are writing for (adult, child, education level, cultural background, native language). Whose voice (curator, artist, non-specialist) do you use to communicate with this audience? Who edits and approves your labels (publications staff, chief curator, museum director, director of education, members of the communities your institution serves)? What political and cultural issues are of concern at your institution? 

This webinar will include two moderators, Tracee Glab (Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Flint Institute of Arts) and Adriana Proser (John H. Foster Senior Curator for Traditional Asian Art, Asia Society Museum, in conversation with two panelists, Ulysses Grant Deitz Chief Curator, Curator of Decorative Arts, Newark Museum) and Stephanie James (Curator and Collection Educator, Mott-Warsh Collection, Flint).

Moderators (listed alphabetically):
Tracee Glab, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Flint Institute of Arts
Adriana Proser, John H. Foster Senior Curator of Traditional Asian Art, Asia Society Museum

Panelists (listed alphabetically): 
Ulysses Grant Dietz, Chief Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts, Newark Museum 
Stephanie James, Curator and Collection Educator, Mott-Warsh Collection

Moderator & Panelist Biographies (listed alphabetically):

Ulysses Grant Dietz, Chief Curator and Curator of Decorative Arts, Newark Museum 
Ulysses Grant Dietz has been the curator of Decorative Arts at The Newark Museum since 1980, and was appointed Chief Curator in 2012. He received his BA in French from Yale University in 1977, and his MA in American Material Culture from the University of Delaware’s Winterthur Program in 1980. 

Mr. Dietz has been the curator of over 100 exhibitions covering all aspects of the decorative arts from colonial to contemporary. He is particularly proud of his work on the Museum’s 1885 Ballantine House, named a National Historic Landmark in 1985. The Ballantine House was transformed and reinterpreted between 1992 and 1994, with a groundbreaking installation called House & Home. In 1997 Mr. Dietz was the chief curator for The Glitter & The Gold: Fashioning America’s Jewelry, the first
-ever exhibition and book on the history of Newark’s jewelry industry, which dominated American jewelry making for nearly a century. In 2003, accompanying an exhibition of the same name, he wrote Great Pots: Contemporary Ceramics from Function to Fantasy.  In that same year he was also co-curator and co-author of the exhibition and book on Doris Duke’s jewelry collection:  Gems from the East and the West, that traveled to Newport, Rhode Island and Honolulu, Hawaii before the Duke collection  was sold at auction.  In 2006 he mounted an exhibition entitled Objects of Desire, 500 Years of Jewelry from the Newark Museum’s permanent collection.  In 2009, for the Museum’s 100th anniversary, he produced Masterpieces of Art Pottery, 1880-1930 and its companion catalogue, also drawn from the Museum’s historic ceramics collection.

Mr. Dietz has also published numerous articles on decorative arts, drawn from the Newark Museum’s nationally-known collections of art pottery, studio ceramics, silver, jewelry and nineteenth-century furniture. His most recent publications are Masterpieces of Art Pottery, 1880-1930, from the Newark Museum in 2009, and Dream House: The White House as an American Home, released in September 2009 by Acanthus Press in New York.

Tracee Glab, Curator of Collections and Exhibitions, Flint Institute of Arts

Tracee Glab is Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Flint Institute of Arts and holds an MA in art history from Wayne State University and a BA in art history from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In 2011, she contributed to Magnificence and Awe: Renaissance and Baroque Art in the Viola E. Bray Gallery at the Flint Institute of ArtsSince that time, she has curated over a dozen special exhibitions, including the most recent Point of View: Contemporary African American Art from the Elliot and Kimberly Perry Collection. Prior to her position in Flint, she worked at the Detroit Institute of Arts, editing several collection and exhibition catalogues, as well as serving as the editor of the museum’s scholarly journal.


Stephanie James, Curator and Collection Educator, Mott-Warsh Collection
Stephanie James is a curator of modern and contemporary art with a focus on art of the African Diaspora. She holds an MA in art history from Wayne State University and a BFA in drawing, along with teaching certification, from Eastern Michigan University. She is the Curator and Collection Educator for the Mott-Warsh Collection—one of the largest privately owned collections of African American art in the United States. Prior to her work with the Mott-Warsh Collection, she worked at the Detroit Institute of Arts for nearly 16 years, serving as assistant curator of the General Motors Center for African American Art (2002-2009) and in various appointments in the museum’s education department (1993-2002). Additionally, she has contracted with Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of African American History and Culture as a member of their “Save Our African American Treasures” team of curators and conservators. Ms. James has organized numerous exhibitions, most recently “The Essential Self: Meditations on the Politics of Identity” at the Detroit Artists Market (2015). She is a frequent participant in educational programming on the arts and has authored several essays on contemporary American artists. 

Adriana Proser, John H. Foster Senior Curator of Traditional Asian Art, Asia Society Museum
Adriana Proser is John H. Foster Senior Curator of Traditional Asian Art at Asia Society Museum, New York. A specialist in Chinese art, over the last fifteen years she has organized and co-organized over forty exhibitions for Asia Society, New York, as well as Asia Society Hong Kong Center, Asia Society Texas Center, Caramoor, Boston College’s McMullen Museum, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, featuring diverse works from all over Asia. These include her current exhibition Philippine Gold: Treasures of Forgotten Kingdoms, on which she worked guest curator Florina H. Capistrano-Baker. Proser has also coordinated and served as in-house curator for other international loan exhibitions including Gilded Splendor: Treasures of China’s Liao Empire and Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi, 1707-1857 for Asia Society Museum. She served as an editor and author for the Golden Visions of Densatil catalogue. Her other recent publications are an essay in the catalogue Revolutionary Ink: The Paintings of Wu Guanzhong, Asia Society, 2012 and Pilgrimage and Buddhist Art (Asia Society Museum and Yale University Press, 2010), for which she served as editor and contributor. Proser was formerly Assistant Curator of East Asian Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She is recipient of a 1995 Ph.D. in Chinese art and archaeology from Columbia University. 

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