Posted by: Kath Usitalo | April 26, 2011

Tune Into Art On YouTube: aka Art Goes Better With Graham Beal

Detroit Institute of Arts

Did you know that in the entire U.S. there are only two paintings on public display by Flemish artist Pieter Bruegel the Elder?

Wedding Dance, Pieter Bruegel

One, “The Harvesters,” is in New York at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and “The Wedding Dance,” which dates to 1566, hangs in Detroit.

It’s a favorite of mine and of Detroit Institute of Arts Director, President and CEO Graham Beal. I like the painting so much we used “Wedding Dance” notecards as our wedding thank you notes (that would be mine and TJ’s wedding, not mine and Graham Beal’s. And, just to be clear, we—TJ and I—named our first born Graham long before Mr. Beal arrived in Detroit in 1999).

I learned about some of Mr. Beal’s pet works of art and other behind-the-scenes scoops at Detroit’s greatest museum in a series of fascinating YouTube videos by and about the DIA.

Graham W. J. Beal

Okay, maybe fascinating is a bit of a stretch. Maybe it’s the director’s British accent and bow ties that help to make the videos very interesting indeed. But I did learn something in each; here’s a sampling:

Behind the Scenes at the DIA: Part 1
What’s not on view in the galleries? How are the pieces stored and cared for and—whoa, that near collision of two carts holding precious works of art injected a bit of excitement.

Behind the Scenes at the DIA: Part 2
Do you know the meaning of and reasons for deaccession, and that it is acceptable in the U.S. but frowned upon in Europe?

Director’s Favorites: The Window by Henri Matisse
Oh, the games they play in the art history world after a few after dinner drinks. And Graham sports a beard!

Women in Art: Stables by Georgia O’Keeffe
Short but sweet insight into the artist. And Graham ditches the bow tie for a necktie!

There are several videos in the DIA YouTube series; click on one of the above and you’ll find the others. They make a great introduction to the DIA before a visit, or a quick escape into the art world on a rainy day. Pot of tea and scones optional, but recommended.

Visitor Info Click: Detroit Institute of Arts

Visit Detroit

Pure Michigan



  1. The DIA is truly a treasure! I especially enjoyed the video by Mr. Beal on “The Window” by Matisse — explanation and analysis by an expert helps make art more accessible to us common folk. I must get back to the DIA really soon! Thanks for sharing.

    • I’m hoping to go this Friday evening for Friday Night Live! Jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire plays with ensemble at 7 and 8:30. (DIA is open 6-10 p.m.)

  2. Thanks for the links and the overview.

  3. Better late than never. Time to renew my membership. How did you come across these videos? Cool!

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