Faculty News - Jeffrey Collins

Jeffrey Collins collaborated with James Oles on the exhibition Pedro Friedeberg: Architect of Impeccable Confusions, which opened at the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City in October 2009. The show offered the first retrospective of  the work of  Friedeberg, an Italian-born painter and sculptor first trained as an architect but perhaps best known for his hand chairs, butterfly chairs, and other anthropomorphic/pop-surrealist furniture designed in the 1960s. 

Collins’ essay for a bilingual book published by Trilce Ediciones (“Through the Window: Pedro Friedeberg's Sublime Architecture”) argues that the artist engaged European architectural history and theory to counter what he saw as the boredom and sterility of modernism and to meditate on his experience of exile and of forced, often disorienting cultural hybridization.

A second essay (“Know Thy Time) for a volume on the eighteenth-century painter Pompeo Batoni (Intorno a Batoni, ed. Liliana Barroero; Lucca: Fondazione Ragghianti, 2010) focuses on the unusual Meissen clock featured in Batoni's official portrait of Pope Pius VI.  Collins’ rediscovery of the clock at the Capitoline answered outstanding questions about its nature and origin, while new evidence from palace archives and period correspondence clarified Batoni's working methods and the prop's rhetorical function as a sign of modernity, good government, and a renewal of official splendor on the eve of the French invasion.

Collins also contributed to an anthology entitled Architectural Space in the Eighteenth Century: Constructing Identities and Interiors (ed. Denise Baxter and Meredith Martin; Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010). His chapter, "A Nation of Statues: Museums and Identity in Eighteenth-Century Rome," explores how the different display strategies at the Capitoline and Vatican museums responded to expanding tourist expectations and to the papacy's evolving self-image as guardians of western culture.

His current projects include a chapter on the Museo Pio-Clementino for a history of early museums forthcoming from the Getty, and a study of visual satire in the work of Dutch painter Cornelis Troost.

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