During his 31 years as the exhibitions secretary at London’s Royal Academy, Sir Norman Rosenthal staged groundbreaking exhibitions of art including the legendary show, “A New Spirit in Painting” (1981), which brought artists such as Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter and Georg Baselitz to broader recognition.
“Art is entertainment, but entertainment in the best sense of the word,” he says in our latest podcast, speaking to host Charlotte Burns. “Museums, in the end, are like cupboards. And with the contents of the cupboards you have to try and make beautiful things—exhibitions that can tell with genuine artifacts aspects of the great story of art and human civilization.”
Since leaving the RA in 2008, Rosenthal has organized exhibitions and written essays for a number of organizations such as Gagosian, the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (“If you’re freelance, you are a kind of whore—but you can choose your clients,” he says).
No stranger to controversy, Rosenthal talks us through his views on restitution and commerce (“the best dealers are nearly always ahead of the best curator. You name a curator who’s really made a really serious decision about “the future”, he says) and tells us where he finds great art today.
“In Other Words” is a presentation of AAP and Sotheby’s, produced by Audiation.fm.