Dr Xa Sturgis in conversation with William Feaver

The Royal Drawing School’s new virtual series exploring the theme of Artists in Isolation, past, present and future curated by Dr Claudia Tobin. The series features artists, curators, writers and museum directors in discussion every Wednesday throughout the Summer Term.

Stuck at home and running a closed Museum, Dr Xa Sturgis Director of the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, talks to Bill Feaver about the recent past, present and immediate future of the world’s oldest public Museum, reflecting on the role of Museums, the frustrations and challenges of the present moment and what the future might look like.

Dr Xa Sturgis, Director of the Ashmolean, the Museum of Art and Archaeology of Oxford University, for the last five years, he has overseen a wide-ranging programme of exhibitions including critically acclaimed shows devoted to the Young Rembrandt (which closed after two short weeks during lockdown) Raphael’s Drawings, American Modernism of the 1920s and Eating and Drinking in Pompeii. Contemporary exhibitions have ranged from the Chinese ink painter Liu Dan and the Sudanese Ibrahim El Salahi to Jeff Koons.  

William Feaver, for many years the art critic for The Observer, is also a painter and has been the curator of exhibitions ranging from George Cruikshank at the V&A to the Tate retrospectives of Michael Andrews and Lucian Freud. His book Pitmen Painters was adapted by Lee Hall for an award-winning play that ran at The National Theatre in 2009. His other books include Frank Auerbach published in 2009 and his most recent book The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth 1922-1968 published in September 2019, was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2019.