"Open Visions Forum" premieres at Fairfield University


The School of Continuing Education at Fairfield University has announced the premiere season of its "Open Visions Forum." A provocative and inspiring lecture series, "Open Visions" features today's trendsetters in the worlds of art, film, literature, media and politics. Metropolitan Museum of Art Director Philippe de Montebello kicks off the lively program on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 8 p.m., at the Quick Center on the campus of Fairfield University, with a sneak look "Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art."

Other speakers to look forward to this season include Holocaust survivor and "Schinderlerjuden" Zev Kedem. Saved from the Nazi horror by industrialist Oscar Schindler, Kedem served as a consultant on Stephen Spielberg's Academy Award-winning "Schindler's List," appearing briefly in the film. He will speak about his experiences in "Schindler's List: A Survivor Celebrates Life," on Monday, Sept. 29 at 8 p.m.

Magazine editor Grace Mirabella, "Rules of Civility" author Richard Brookhiser, filmmaker Perry Miller Adato, best-selling writer Carol Saline, curators Michael Gitlitz and Melyora Kramer, and gourmet David Rosengarten are just a few of the other exciting names on the Fall schedule.

Dr. Philip I. Eliasoph, director of the Art History program at Fairfield University, organized the series. Dr. Eliasoph served as Director of the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery at the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts for seven years, dealing with rare antiquities and masterworks from around the world, before stepping down in June 1997 to spearhead "Open Visions."

"Open Visions' celebrates the life of the mind," said Dr. Eliasoph. "It is designed to enlighten and challenge the thinking public with speakers that are relevant and engaging. I am very proud of our inaugural program. It represents the heartbeat of a nation. These may be today's newsmakers but they are tomorrow's legends, weaving the patterns of history in strange and wonderful ways."

Dr. Eliasoph is especially enthusiastic about Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum. "The Metropolitan Museum is approached in size only by the Louvre in Paris," said Eliasoph. "It symbolizes not only the artistic journeying of the human race, but its hopes, dreams and aspirations. But beneath its stately facade there are other stories, some humorous others filled with intrigue and suspense.

Through this maze, Philippe de Montebello has proven a true Renaissance man, leading the Metropolitan boldly into the 21st century."

Philippe de Montebello has served the Metropolitan Museum of Arts for two decades as its eighth director. Guiding principles of Montebello's tenure have been the new Beaux Art Style galleries and newly designed Tiepolo gallery, and galleries for Indian and Southeast Asian art and an active acquisitions policy.

"As we approach the Millenium we are being greeted by a clarion call to reinvent ourselves. Today I sense an increased preoccupation with what museums do, as opposed to what they are, which isn't the same," said Montebello at the CAA's recent Annual Conference in New York, responding to a suggestion that web tours could replace actual museum visits. "Important questions include: Are we going to exploit the new technologies or be led by them. Many museums have web sites providing information about exhibitions, educational programs and membership. How easily the medium can get confused with the message is borne out by the fervor which people exclaim, 'Now you can visit museums on the web. Sorry, but surfing the web is not a substitute for seeing a real work of art."

Founded in 1870, the Metropolitan accomodates close to five million visitors each year. To these people Montebello is not just the director but also the familiar voice of the Metropolitan, guiding visitors through special exhibitions and installations with the narration on the audio tours.

In addition, Mr. de Montebello stis on the Board of Trustees of New York University's Institute of Fine Arts and is a member of the Columbia University Advisory Council of the Department of Art and Archeology, For his work he has been awarded the Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur; the Order de Isabel la Catolica, the Spanish Institute Gold Medela, Gold Medal Ward; Knight Commander and the Pontifical Order of St. Gregory the Great, among others.

Tickets to the lecture are $10. For more information or a complete "Open Visions" brochure call (203) 254-4010.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 1, 1997