Ruth Leon recommends… Frick shuts down online series… catch it now

Ruth Leon recommends… Frick shuts down online series… catch it now

Ruth Leon recommends

norman lebrecht

July 19, 2021

Cocktails with a Curator – Frick – RIP
I report to you, with considerable dismay, the cancellation of my favourite art history series, the one that has kept me going for all of the pandemic. For fifteen long months, I have looked forward each week to watching either Xavier Salomon or Aimee Ng, the fantastically knowledgeable and persuasive Curators at New York’s Frick Museum, describe one of the works of art in their care. Each episode has provided not only their depth of understanding of the paintings and objects at the Frick but also their deep love for them. They haven’t all been paintings – among them have been a Mughal carpet, two Chinese porcelain figures, a piece of exquisite furniture, a statue – but all have been works I have seen many times in the Frick and never looked at so closely. Even those I know well and have spent hours staring at (the Frick’s three Vermeers and fabulous Bellini, for instance) have been illuminated and changed by hearing what these curators have to say about them.

And now we’ll have to do without. The Museum’s estimable Head of Communications replied to my anguished wail of protest with a polite but definite brush-off when I asked, on your behalf, and my own, for reconsideration of this ill-advised move.

I tried explaining that not everybody lives or can visit New York, an assumption peculiar to New Yorkers who think everybody who matters, does. I wrote that those of us who live in Europe, the Antipodes and the Far East, and have become addicted to Cocktails with the Curator (the curators, not the cocktails) can’t take advantage of the offers exclusive to members of the Frick which she seems to think will replace our precious weekly video dips into art history because…..we are not members. I have clearly failed to convince her or the Frick. How cruel.

​Farewell, Xavier and Aimee (we have been watching you for so long, and know you so well, that I feel we have the right to address you by your first names). You will never again be so popular with so many intelligent fans nor have so large an audience hanging on your every word. We shall miss you. And I think, just maybe, you will miss us.

Here is a reminder of the very first talk  in the Cocktails with a Curator series on  10 April 2020 where   Xavier F. Salomon  talks about Frick’s beloved painting St. Francis in the Desert by Giovanni Bellini   The complementary cocktail is the Manhattan.

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  • Melisande says:
    However, all non-New Yorkers over the world can still revel in all the Cocktails with the Curator which the Frick Museum presented. A marvelous art education.

  • Nijinsky says:

    I thought Bellini was an opera composer; also whether him at the Frick was anything like Einstein on the Frits

    Oh I see, he was a painter.

    Oh well,

    Nice painting, though….

  • rbigelow says:

    Don’t forget assistant curator, Giulio Dalvit, who also presented some charming talks for ‘Cocktails with a Curator.’

  • V Lind says:

    So are they leaving the series up on their own website and/or YouTube? In other words, are they ceasing to produce new programmes or removing these worthwhile-sounding videos, which I am just hearing about for the first time?

  • V says:

    What a shame… I thought it was here to stay. It was also a great way to promote the museum.

  • Anne McCarthy says:

    Very poor decision. I live in Nashville and cannot travel to NYC due to the high cost of hotels and transportation. I visited The Frick many times during the 1990s, and love the place. I, too, was a regular with Coctails with a Curator. I will greatly miss it.

  • Sharon r says:

    Will sorely miss coctails with curator, a unique series. The best ads the Frick will ever have!

  • I really enjoyed the Cocktails with a curator series and so very disappointed to hear of the decision to cancel. Someday I would like to travel to the east coast and experience this marvelous collection in person.

    Ending this series, in my opinion, is a mistake. Not only is it a great way to promote the museum, I believe, it has the ability not only to teach but to feed the growing passions for those just learning their appreciation of the art world.