Luke Syson: How I learned to stop worrying and love “useless” art

Luke Syson was a curator of Renaissance art, of transcendent paintings of saints and solemn Italian ladies — serious
art. And then he changed jobs, and inherited the Met’s collection of
ceramics — pretty, frilly, “useless” candlesticks and vases. He didn’t
like it. He didn’t get it. Until one day ā€¦ (Filmed at TEDxMet.)

Luke Syson joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2012 as the Iris
and B. Gerald Cantor Curator in Charge of European Sculpture and
Decorative Arts. This year, he co-curated the small but innovative
exhibition “Plain or Fancy? Restraint and Exuberance in the Decorative
Arts.” Before joining the Met Syson was Curator of Italian Painting
before 1500 and Head of Research at the National Gallery, London. While
at the National Gallery, he was curator of the exhibition “Renaissance
Siena: Art for a City,” and in 2011 he organized the groundbreaking
“Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan.”

Syson was
also one of the curators who organized the acclaimed Enlightenment
Gallery at The British Museum and was part of the team that planned the
new galleries for Medieval and Renaissance Art at the Victoria &
Albert Museum.