Just returning from a month in Taipei as a Fulbright Senior Specialist, I am happy to report that a selection of the Metropolitan Museum's collection of more than one hundred historic casts has found a good home at the Museum of the National Taipei University of Education. But more important are the cultural bridges that the gift of this material has helped build. This particular project was launched in 2005 with my IFA Curatorial Studies student, Yulin Lee. Yulin completed her Ph.D. in 2012, writing on "Strategies of Spatialization in the Contemporary Art Museum: An Exploratory Study of New Museums of Contemporary Art in Japan." She is now Artistic Director of the Taishen Bank Foundation. A key role was also played by Prof. Lin Mun-lee, former Director of the National Palace Museum and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, and currently the Director of the new University Museum. For the opening of the new museum in 2012—whose acronym is MoNTUE—a dozen casts after Medieval and later works are displayed in a post-Modern setting near contemporary works of art. Many more will be displayed following conservation.
With my consulting, five lectures, and a press conference—including a much-appreciated video greeting by Tom Campbell filmed in the Astor Court—I think our Taiwanese colleagues have a much better understanding of the Met, our mission, and the nature and historic importance of plaster casts. The University museum hopes to foster future initiatives and collaborations. But I have to congratulate Yulin on her vision and professionalism in making this ambitious project a reality.
Charles T. Little
Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters
Alumnus, Curatorial Studies