Magazine article ROM Magazine

Innovative Ideas to Ponder, Discuss ... and Enjoy

Magazine article ROM Magazine

Innovative Ideas to Ponder, Discuss ... and Enjoy

Article excerpt


Now in its seventh year, the annual Eva Holtby Lecture on Contemporary Culture has grown into an eagerly awaited highlight of the Institute for Contemporary Culture. Founded by the late Philip Holtby, a former Trustee of the ROM, in memory of his wife, Eva Holtby, the endowment was enriched by additional contributions from Eva's parents, Rudolph and Paula Schury, and recent gifts from friends in memory of Mr. Holtby's death last November.

This year's lecture, "Even Silence Has an End," will be presented at the ROM on December 10, 2012, by Nobel Peace Prize nominee and writer Ingrid Betancourt. She will discuss her dramatic experiences as a famous political hostage, and her subsequent work as an international peace activist.

The first Eva Holtby Lecture was delivered in 2006 by noted Canadian culture critic Adam Gopnik and suitably titled "The Museum Today." In his introduction to the talk, Christopher Holtby remarked, "My mother would have wanted this annual lectureship to bring new and innovative ideas for us to ponder, discuss and enjoy." Mr. Gopnik certainly delivered that, eloquently describing the modern museum as mausoleum, machine, mall, and metaphor of our social lives.

Kwame Anthony Appiah, in the second Holtby Lecture, "The Politics of Culture, the Politics of Identity," delved into the politics of multiculturalism. The Ghanaian-American philosopher and theorist made the case that, in a cosmopolitan society, significant cultural objects rightly belong not just to one nation, but to all humanity. Encyclopedic museums like the ROM therefore still have an important role to play in building international understanding of other cultures.

Glenn Lowry, Director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, gave the third lecture in 2008. In a post-9/11 world that is increasingly focused on Muslim countries, he argued, international artists who move between the East and the West hold a special significance. …

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