Category: Arts:Visual Arts

Tiffany Jenkins talks to key figures in the arts about the big ideas rocking the cultural world, charting the trends and dissecting the controversies.

January 23, 2020

Cancelled! Censorship and self-censorship in the arts


Censorship of the arts is on the increase: both that imposed from above, by the state, but also from below, with artists calling for works to be taken down from display. This episode of Behind the Scenes of the Museum brings together three experts – Julia Farrington, Associate Arts Producer at Index on Censorship, artists mentor Manick Govinda, and the art critic JJ Charlesworth – to discuss the significant cases, and analyse what is going on: what is new (as compared to the old style Mary Whitehouse kind of censorship); why do institutions capitulate so easily to complaints; and what is to be done.  


Julia Farrington, Associate Arts Producer,  Index on Censorship. Twitter: @IndexCensorship

Manick Govinda, Arts consultant and mentor. Twitter: @manick62

JJ Charlesworth, Critic, Art critic, senior editor ArtReview. Twitter: @jjcharlesworth


1.   Homegrown: commissioned by the National Youth Theatre 

See also, Channel 4 news report, with an interview with the director Nadia Latif 

2. Isis Threaten Sylvania , the Mall Galleries

3. Saatchi Gallery covers two paintings by an artist known as SKU 

4. Drill music removed from You Tube

See also, Gang members banned from making Drill music 

5. Brett Bailey’s, Exhibit B 

Petition: 'Withdraw the racist Exhibition "Exhibit B - The Human Zoo" from showing at the Barbican from 23rd-27th September 2014'

See also, this news report & discussion on BBC1 Sunday Morning Live, from 28 Sept 2014.

Louise Jeffries from the Barbican on Radio 4's Front Row on why and how the Barbican cancelled Exhibit B. 

6. Protests over Dana Schutz's portrait of Emmett Till at the Whitney Biennial 


Are we entering a new age of artistic censorship?  Tiffany Jenkins New Republic 

Other cases, including those tackled by Julia Farrington & examples of institutional training to deal with sensitive subjects

How the Dana Schutz Controversy—and a Year of Reckoning—Have Changed Museums Forever, Julia Halperin


Signature tune: Nick Vander Black Kopal - Galaxy II 


Pictures of the artwork and clips of news reports are available on Instagram and Twitter account: @behindthemuseum


This episode of Behind the Scenes at the Museum was written and presented by Tiffany Jenkins and produced by Jac Phillimore.


November 27, 2019

“I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” New York’s Tenement Museum


Tiffany visits the Tenement Museum in New York with its President, Kevin Jennings. Located at 97 and 103 Orchard Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the museum is formed from two historical tenement buildings, which were home to an estimated 15,000 immigrants from over 20 nations, between 1863 and 2011.

Starting in 97 Orchard street, they discuss the aims of the Tenement Museum: is it political?; does and should the museum take sides?; the history of immigration policy; the difficulties in talking about immigration today — when society is so divided and issue so emotional — and the importance of doing so.

Kevin tells us about the families who lived in these tenements: Nathalie and Julius Gumpertz who were East Prussian immigrants, who lived there in the 1870s. In 1874, after the Panic of 1873, a major economic depression, Julius left for work never to return, leaving Nathalie alone with four young children. We hear about Adolfo and Rosaria Baldizzi, who came from Sicily. Rosario arrived undocumented and illegally. She would eventually become a legal citizen of the United States. 

Moving on to 103 Orchard street, we hear about Kalman and Regina Epstein, who were Holocaust survivors, and among the first World War II refugees to be allowed into the United States, and their daughter Bella; whose memories helped decorate and furnish the apartment. Taking us up to the recent past, Tiffany and Kevin visit the old apartment of the Wong family. Mrs. Wong, who was from Southern China, arrived in New York from Hong Kong in 1965 with her two daughters, Yat Ping and Alison, after the Hart Cellar Act, which allowed for increased Asian immigration. Mrs Wong worked in the garment industry and in 1973 she became a citizen of the United States.  



The Tenement Museum 

Nathalie and Julius Gumpertz

Adolfo and Rosaria Baldizzi

Kalman and Regina and Bella Epstein

Mrs Wong and her family 



1) Signature music , Nick Vander - Black Kopel - Galaxy II
2) Fig Leaf Times Two, Kevin MacLeod
3) After the Ball is Over, Gerald Adams & The Variety Singers
4) Brahms Symphony No.3 in F Maj: I. Allegro Con Brio, conducted by Willem Mengelberg
5) Frogs Leg Rag, James Scott (
6) Victor Orchestra, Glow Worm (1908)
7) Guido Gialdini whistling Luigi Arditi's The Kiss (1908), public.domain 
8) Tim Hart - Royalty Free Music Large Collection - Track 45 - No Words


 Pictures of the street, apartments, museum, and the families are on our Instagram and Twitter account: @behindthemuseum


This episode of Behind the Scenes at the Museum was written and presented by Tiffany Jenkins, recorded by Jared Arnold, and produced by Jac Phillimore.

Twitter: @BehindtheMuseum 

Instagram: @BehindtheMuseum 



November 6, 2019

How to solve a problem like Titian’s Tarquin and Lucretia: rehanging paintings in the age of #MeToo


Tiffany Jenkins goes to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge to talk to its director Luke Syson, art historian Jill Burke and Michael Savage (aka Grumpy Art Historian) about Titian’s Tarquin and Lucretia, and rehanging paintings in the age of #MeToo. 


John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs 

Raphael’s Lucretia

Sandro Botticelli's The Story of Lucretia 

Titian’s Tarquin and Lucretia

Titian's Rape of Europa 

Nicholas Poussin 

I Modi - The Sixteen Pleasures 


Luke Syson Instagram: Luke Syson

Jill Burke Twitter: @jill_burke

Michael Savage Twitter: @GrumpyArt

Fitzwilliam Museum Twitter: @FitzMuseum_UK


On the decision to temporarily remove John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs

Jill Burke on The Power of Sexual Assault in Titian’s Tarquin and Lucretia

Prof Mary Beard on Lucretia and the politics of sexual assault 


Signature tune: Nick Vander Black Kopal - Galaxy II 

A Himitsu, Track Name: "Reminisce" @ Original upload HERE -       Official "A Himitsu" YouTube Channel HERE 

License for commercial use: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0) promoted by NCM  


This episode of Behind the Scenes at the Museum was written and presented by Tiffany Jenkins, recorded by Nicky Barranger, and produced by Jac Phillimore. 

Twitter: @BehindtheMuseum 

Instagram: @BehindtheMuseum 

July 10, 2019

Vera Worth’s Schiaparelli



Vera Worth was a good looking shop girl from Bristol, who followed fashion with a passion. In the 1930s, after marrying John, she scrimped and saved to buy a glamorous gown fit for a film star, and wore it to an important company dinner dance. The knockout dress and its jacket were designed by flamboyant designer to the stars, Elsa Schiaparelli. Photographs of Vera in the dress (available on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook @behindthemuseum) show her looking fabulous, beaming; onlookers are smiling with pleasure and in amazement. 

After passing her precious garment to her granddaughter, Amanda, who showed it a good time, the ensemble was put up for auction. Vera's Schiaparelli sold at Kerry Taylor’s auction house at the end of 2018. It was bought by the philanthropist Krystyna Campbell-Pretty for the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne where it is now on show, delighting audiences for decades to come. 

Tiffany goes behind the scenes to discover the story of Vera Worth, and her Schiaparelli dress and jacket; the backstory of a museum object on a pedestal. She  visits Kerry Taylor auctions, Vera's granddaughter, Amanda Ellis, and speaks via Skype to Katie Somerville, Senior Curator, Fashion and Textiles, at the National Gallery of Victoria. 



Maison Schiaparelli 

Kerry Taylor auctions

Katie Somerville and the NGV 

Visit us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @behindthemuseum to see pictures of Vera and her Schiaparelli dress. 

June 7, 2019

The Last Colonial Museum


The Africa Museum in Brussels reopened at the end of 2018 after a 5 year renovation. Tiffany Jenkins and Fiammetta Rocco, culture correspondent at The Economist,  tour the museum with its Director-General, Guido Gryseels, and assess its attempts to come to terms with a horrific past. 

The Africa Museum (officially called the Royal Museum for Central Africa) grew out of the Brussels International Exposition of 1897. The Colonial Pavilion, located at King Leopold II of Belgium’s estate, formed the basis of the museum. It was intended to celebrate his achievements in what was then the Congo Free State, which he ran as his private estate. In 1909, when Leopold died, the museum was transferred to the Belgian state, and opened a year later as the Museum of Belgian Congo. 

Tiffany, Fiammetta and Guido talk about the museum’s attempt to tell the story of Belgian rule in the Congo, which was unparalleled in its cruelty and mass killing. Under the reign of terror instituted by Leopold, as many as 8 million Africans (perhaps even 10 million, according to Adam Hochschild) lost their lives.

 ► GUESTS   

Fiammetta Rocco’s article on the Africa Museum The Struggle to Tell the Story of Colonialism  Follow her on Twitter @FiammettaRocco

Guido Gryseel’s biography 

The website for Africa Museum  Twitter: @africamuseumbe YouTube: channel 


Take a look at Freddy Tsimba’s website and see more of his artwork: 

Here, Aimé Mpane talks about his installation Congo: Shadow of the Shadow (2005), on loan to the LACMA from the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of African Art. The piece uses the play of light and shadow, to explore the re-shaping of power during the colonial period in Congo


Adam Hochschild’s King Leopold's Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror and Heroism in Colonial Africa is the book on the exploitation of the Congo Free State by King Leopold II of Belgium between 1885 and 1908, as well as the large-scale atrocities committed during that period.


Signature tune: Nick Vander, "Galaxy I" from the album Black Kopal 

1.  "Congo Spirit" (Underscore version) - By Abbas Premjee
Licensed from
2. “Mupepe” from the album Adventures in Afropea

Performed by Zap Mama
Written by Marie Daulne
(p) 1991 Crammed Discs
3. Tim Hart

Track 38 - January's Dream Number Five
Album: Royalty-Free Music Large Collection - (100+ Tracks)
4. Tim Hart
Track 89 - Velvet Carpet Clouding
Album: Royalty-Free Music Large Collection - (100+ Tracks)
5. “Mupepe”
Performed by Zap Mama
Written by Marie Daulne
(p) 1991 Crammed Discs

Behind the Scenes at the Museum is on Twitter & Instagram: @BehindtheMuseum 


Behind the Scenes at the Museum is written and presented by Tiffany Jenkins and produced by Jac Phillimore.