“The artist who searches for subject matter is like someone who can’t get out of bed without understanding the meaning of life.” –Fairfield Porter
When I think about pencil drawings my mind inevitably wanders to Robert Frost’s Mending Wall. “Something there is that doesn’t love a pencil drawing,” I tell myself. It’s a perplexing association to be sure, but I think it must have something to do with the fact that drawings, pencil or otherwise, are often intended to be stepping stones along the path to a grander vision, so they tend to feel unfinished, imperfect. They are forever being mended—erased and redrawn atop patches of semi-intended smudging—until they reach a state in which they can conceivably hold an idea long enough to fatten it in some other medium for market. A drawing is usually version 1.0 More
Categories: Exhibitions, Public Art
It’s not often that I get to make direct connections between an exhibition in the galleries and the collection of public art that we have on permanent display around the campus. The opportunity is probably there more often than I’m aware, but during my tenure anyway, the times when the similarities have been palpable have been rare. This spring, with Environment and Object • Recent African Art on view in several of our galleries there’s a theme that’s begging to be explored both inside and out. And it’s totally rubbish. More
This always happens. We put up a fantastic exhibition; the public enjoys it, raves about it even; and then I wake up months later as the show is about to come down and realize that I have yet to spend any appreciable time with it. It was always there, waiting for another day when there were fewer responsibilities, fewer fires burning, the sort of day that never comes. More
As I watched our preparators put the finishing touches on the installation that now occupies the museum’s upper balcony—four heads by New York artist Richard Dupont, generous and timely loans from a private collection—my mind was overrun with clichés about heads. They shouted at me like kids in the backseat: “get your head around this exhibit” “you’ll have to put your heads together to figure this one out” “heads up!” “head in the clouds, feet on the ground” “head strong” “figure head.” They rolled on, relentless.
Indeed, the human head is a juggernaut of subject matter. It’s where we live. It’s who we are. It’s how we process all that we sense about our world, and it’s the origin of all of our responses to those stimuli. It’s the center of our universe. So the mere sight of a head in an unanticipated context can uncork the flow of visual associations, puns, and clichés that jump so readily to the fertile mind. More
Categories: Public Art
Stick Huts, Twig Hats, Giant Cones, Whoville Houses. Regardless of what you like to call them, the nine conical interweavings of red maple saplings and grey dogwood that form Patrick Dougherty’s 2007 temporary installation So Inclined will be removed next week and turned into mulch.
And I’d be hiding the truth if I didn’t admit to being sad about it’s departure. Still, after four years it’s safe to say that it’s had a good run for a structure that, given the harshness of northern New England winters, might only have lasted two, and that will have to be consolation enough. More
Categories: Student Projects
During the 2010–2011 academic year Mica Schlosser ’13 approached the museum with a request that caught my attention. She was hoping to study a photograph in our collection—a gelatin silver print of an Atomic Bomb Explosion by Harold Edgerton from 1952—and to sew a quilt inspired by its imagery.
I was fascinated by this unique and engaging concept, and I was more than a little impatient to witness the execution (pardon the pun). I sent Mica a steady train of emails to inquire about its progress, and I was anxious for the opportunity to share the results with our audience. More