How many hats can one man wear? No, I am not referring to the film Miller’s Crossing, although since you mention it…no, let’s not get side-tracked. I am referring to Gabriel Byrne, who is currently sporting about as many professional hats as one man can possibly wear at one time. Not in any particular order, here they are:

Actor
Producer
Writer
Activist
Narrator
Supporter of charitable causes
Interviewee
Cultural Ambassador for Ireland (!)

That should be enough, yes? But not for Mr. Byrne. He’s adding another hat right now: Curator.

As part of his commitment to the newly-launched cultural initiative, Imagine Ireland, Gabriel will be curating one, and possibly a total of three, programs. Mark your calendars now!

Program No. 1: Revisiting the Quiet Man : Ireland & the Irish On Screen [note: the Imagine Ireland website no longer exists]:

This film programme, curated by Gabriel Byrne, in conjunction with IFI (Irish Film Institute) and MOMA (Museum of Modern Art), takes The Quiet Man, John Ford’s iconic vision of Ireland in the 1950s as its point of departure. Ford’s preoccupation with exile, identity, history, sex and the church has been shared by filmmakers since the dawn of cinema and provides the framework for this programme drawn from a broad sweep of Irish and Irish American feature films.

The programme, which provides a new context for US Irish “classics,” will also include a selection of recently discovered US Irish emigrant films from the 1910s and 20s; feature films from the early days of Ardmore Studios and several contemporary Irish feature films. [from the Imagine Ireland website]

Locations & Dates:
Venue: The Museum of Modern Art
Address: 11 West 53 Street, New York, NY 10019
Start Date – End Date: May 20 – May 30

It will be so intriguing to see this line-up of films develop and the choices he will make. Will Mr. Byrne be on hand as these films are screened? No idea. We shall have to wait and hope.

Program No. 2: Hidden Ireland: A first celebration of Ireland in documentary film [note: the Imagine Ireland website no longer exists]:

It is not entirely clear that Gabriel will be officially curating this program. However, he has mentioned that he is curating a program of Irish documentaries and this program certainly fits that bill! Here are more details:

Hidden Ireland is a first major programme of documentary film at NYPL (New York Public Library), which offers insights into contemporary Irish life and into the past that has shaped it. It will include a range of sometimes conflicting perspectives from indigenous and foreign filmmakers, both amateur and professional. The films, which are drawn primarily from the IFI (Irish Film Institute) Irish Film Archive collections, will be introduced by US and Irish speakers and will be presented free-of-charge twice weekly at NYPL for the Performing Arts Lincoln Center auditorium. [from the Imagine Ireland website]

Locations & Dates
Venue: New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center
Address: 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York, NY 10023-7498
Start Date – End Date: March 19 – May 19

Program No. 3: Now this is totally without published evidence EXCEPT for a mention in his speech at the New York Launch, where Gabriel Byrne stated that he was curating an archeological retrospective (no idea what this means exactly, but it sounds scholarly and exciting!) in Ireland as part of the Imagine Ireland project. He noted that current and emerging technologies make it a simple process for young people to film and record their own stories and then share them with the world. And he sounded just like a teacher when he was explaining this. So, we know that, whatever this program turns out to be, it will offer a creative adventure for all involved.

Here is what he said:

The vision to see the future incorporates the notion of technology. Because what you’re going to see now is the emergence of the arts from Ireland, is the rise of a hybrid culture–rap influencing poetry, the visual arts influencing theatre, the cross-over of various forms of expression. You can now go out in a village in Ireland with an Icamera and make your own story.

One of the things that I’m curating this year is an archeological retrospective of Ireland. And one of the things that I’ve suggested to them is that they go out to young people and ask them to make stories about their own place, to make archeology relevant, to make that place that they live in feel that its connected to the rest of the world.

Stay tuned for more news! And hold onto your hats! smile

9 Comments

  1. Cythandra

    I hope to attend the MOMA event. “The Quiet Man” is one of my favorite films.

  2. Wow

  3. I think Mr Byrne unbelievable!!! He has knowledge, intelligence, energy to develop many works and all of them very well.
    I wish him to success as a curator as well.
    Good luck, ambassador!!!!

  4. Where does he get all his energy from?

    I have never seen The Quiet Man.
    I will order it on DVD at once.

  5. Hi Nora,
    For me, this is one of the best film I’ve seen.
    I liked, but there many friends of mine that hated it.
    So I hope you like.

    About Mr. Byrne’s energy I think he enjoys life and he lives every moment with intensity. From my point of view I think his energy comes from that.

  6. Cythandra

    Really? People hated this movie? Wow. I really had no idea. Most people I know either liked it or hadn’t seen it.

    • The Quite Man is a classic With some brilliant scenes Especially the fight scene. Have seen it a zillion times and watched it again Christmas Day. Very funny too. Enjoy.

  7. Looks like I better get there May 19-20 so I can kill two birds with one stone! Or was that two birds with one swim?

  8. Busy, busy bee that he is… I don’t want to sound redundant but I think it is so wonderful that he is trying to do all these things for his homeland. The enlightened among us know that Ireland is, and always has been, a country of ups and downs but has somehow always retained an almost magical quality about it. Since getting into Gabriel, I have wondered ‘What is the real difference between the country of Ireland and the other UK nations?’ Just like people they are not identical; each of them has a very distinguished history and culture that makes them different from the other three. And every time the media starts bashing Ireland about this and that, I call on my Irish fairy godmother and she says ‘You know better than that…’ Anyway, best of luck to Gabey on his newest endeavor as curator ;).

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