Friday, November 22, 2013

Flash Back—November 22, 1963

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Visitors of all ages have been coming to the Addison see the exhibition Flash Back—November 22, 1963 and thinking about how artists have responded to this tragic event and the role of the media in shaping what we see and how we see it.

At this past Sunday’s gallery talk, exhibition curator Jaime DeSimone shared her ideas and perspectives. Visitors added their recollections of JFK as a president and how they felt when they heard the news that he had been shot. 

Firsthand accounts from teachers, visitors, and Addison staff members have helped our younger visitors understand the ways in which JFK’s death impacted individuals as well as the nation. 

10th graders from the Math Science and Technology School at Lawrence High School explored the idea of “the American Dream” in relation to JFK’s presidency. Sophomores focused on how JFK’s  legacy connects to the idea of “Community and Civic Engagement.” 

8th grade students from South Lawrence East wrote poems based on newspaper images of this historic event and read their work during their visit to the Addison. Students exercised their creativity by exploring unique perspectives and focusing on specific aspects of JFK’s assassination.

Phillips Academy international students explored the exhibition through the lens of the objectives of their English course, helping them to construct their own narratives of the American experience. 

Phillips Academy history classes used the exhibition not only to contextualize their studies of the United States in the 1960s, but as inspiration for their own forays into curating historical narratives. Just as Flash Back—November 22, 1963 asks viewers to examine the ways in which history is documented and communicated through media, the students selected, sequenced, and juxtaposed images from the Addison’s collection in the Addison Museum Learning Center to construct narratives that spoke to their own perspectives on themes from their U.S. history curriculum.

Flash Back—November 22, 1963 will remain on view until January 12, 2014.

- Posted by:
Christine Jee, Education Associate for School and Community Collaborations
Jamie Kaplowitz, Education Associate and Museum Learning Specialist

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Collection Spotlight: Hollis Frampton, The Secret World of Frank Stella, 1958-1962

Frank Stella (Class of 1954), one of the most significant and influential American artists of the postwar period, began his journey as a painter six decades ago in the basement of the Addison Gallery of American Art. It was also at Andover that he first met Hollis Frampton (Class of 1954), who went on to become an equally distinguished photographer and filmmaker. Four years after graduation from Phillips Academy, the two met again in New York, where they briefly shared an apartment and rekindled what was to be a lifelong friendship. Frampton began his series of fifty-two black-and-white images, The Secret World of Frank Stella, in collaboration with Stella, who posed both in his studio and across the city.

Hollis Frampton (1936-1984), #3 (28 painting Getty Tomb) from The Secret World of Frank Stella, 1958-1962, gelatin silver print, gift of Marion Faller, Addison Art Drive, 1990.34.3

In fact, 1958 is a milestone in the careers of both artists; for Frampton, it was the year he reconnected with Andover classmates Frank Stella and Carl Andre (Class of 1953) and settled in New York; for Stella, it was the year Leo Castelli first visited his Broadway studio and saw his now famous Black Paintings. The time period documented by Frampton’s series includes several other noteworthy moments in Stella’s career; the presentation of his Black Paintings—an example can be seen in #3 (28 painting Getty Tomb) above—in the 1959-60 MoMA exhibition Sixteen Americans (Frampton also took Stella’s picture for the accompanying exhibition catalogue) was followed by the creation of two more series of stripe paintings, Aluminum and Copper, examples of which can be seen in #5 (112 hand through hole in aluminum ptg) and #45 (688 naked, ventral view) respectively.

In addition to photographing Stella and his paintings, Frampton also wrote about him; one such instance is the following passage from 12 Dialogues 1962-1963, a book he co-authored with Carl Andre: “Frank Stella is a Constructivist. He makes paintings by combining identical, discrete units. Those units are not stripes, but brush strokes. We have both watched Frank Stella paint a picture. He fills in a pattern with uniform elements. His stripe designs are the result of the shape and limitation of his primary unit.” Throughout 12 Dialogues, Frampton and Andre often refer to Stella to illustrate their intellectually rigorous analysis of various aesthetic issues pertaining to specific mediums or works of art. Indeed, Stella’s own intellectually rigorous approach to painting is, in great part, what elevated him to the pantheon of abstract art.

The presentation of The Secret World of Frank Stella at the Addison coincides with Mr. Stella’s receiving the Andover Alumni Award of Distinction on November 1, 2013.  For more information on attending the award ceremony, please visit

— Kelley Tialiou, Curatorial Assistant

Further reading: Michael Zryd, "Hollis Frampton," in Addision Gallery of American Art 65 Years: A Selective Catalogue (Andover, MA: Addison Gallery of American Art, 1996), 373-74.

1 Hollis Frampton, "On Painting and Consecutive Matters November 4, 1962," in 12 Dialogues 1962-1963 (The Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and New York University Press, 1980), 37.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Addison Family Fun

James Prosek reads from his
children's books at Memorial Hall
Library's story hour
Earlier this month, the Addison hosted a fun-filled weekend for our younger audiences. We partnered with Andover's Memorial Hall Library, where our Artist-in-Residence James Prosek read from his children’s books Bird, Butterfly, Eel and A Good Day's Fishing. The library now has James’s books in their collection, so stop by and grab your copies today!

Visitors of all ages create art
inspired by James Prosek's
work at our Drop-In Family Day
On Sunday, October 6th, more than 125 people joined us for the Addison’s Drop-In Family Day, held in conjunction with the exhibition James Prosek: The Spaces In Between. Visitors of all ages created prints with stamps shaped like fish, contributed to a collaborative bird silhouette mural, and created their own hybrid animals with feathers and foil paper, all inspired by James Prosek’s work. Music from James’s band Troutband was playing in the background. James was on hand to talk with visitors about his work, offer art-making tips, and answer the many questions of his young star-struck fans.

--Christine Jee, Education Associate for School and Community Collaborations

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