A funny thing happened to me on the way to the ISC’s 22nd International Sculpture Conference: that could be the start of a bad joke, but I feel like it might well describe my trip. What happened, I have to admit, is that my friends and I were often lured away from “What is Sculpture in the 21st Century?” by London’s famous pubs and sightseeing attractions.
After listening to Antony Gormley’s wonderful opening keynote at the National Gallery (where National Gallery director Colin Wiggins referred to the objects in that wonderful museum as “flat and old” and suggested that Antony was neither flat nor old), we had the great pleasure of joining other conference attendees at the Tate Modern for the conference’s opening reception. It was pretty cool to find the ISC reception in the main hall between a major Arshile Gorky retrospective and “Van Doesburg and the International Avant-Garde”; both shows were open that evening exclusively for ISC conference attendees.
In between all of the other great conference panels and activities, we found time for a bit of touring around Westminster Abbey, the Winston Churchill Museum, and a few local pubs. By Friday night, my little band of friends from Salt Lake City met our fellow attendees at 45 Millbank at the Chelsea College of Art and Design for the presentation of the ISC’s 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award to Phillip King and William Tucker. During the evening, we were treated to wonderful, entertaining, and moving comments from the Head of Colleges, University of the Arts London and director of the CCAD, Chris Wainwright; esteemed artist, Sir Anthony Caro; art critic, curator, and editor, Keith Patrick; and director of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park and long-time friend and past ISC Board member, Peter Murray. It was a lovely evening on the banks of the Thames as we celebrated the achievements of these two most deserving artists.
As you may know, in the weeks leading up to the Lifetime Achievement Award gala, the Estate of Isaac Witkin provided the ISC with a generous donation that allowed us to reduce the cost of the gala. I found it particularly moving that, with Isaac’s daughter, Nadine, in the room, both award recipients credited Isaac for his friendship and his role in the formative years of 20th-century British sculpture.
It was a wonderful evening, and I’d like to again thank Nadine Witkin (and all of our sponsors and supporters) for making it possible. I am so very pleased that Nadine was able to be present to hear such wonderful sentiments expressed about her father and his role in the world of sculpture.
If we missed you in London, you really missed out, but I hope we’ll see you next time.
Chairman, ISC Board of Directors
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