Wednesday, December 19, 2007

More Coming Attractions

Two more shows are in the works for our winter exhibition schedule and now have their own pages on our website:

Stollerized, a small, focused exhibition curated by fellow Blog Addison poster Jaime DeSimone, features thirteen black and white photographs by Ezra Stoller that were recently gifted to the Addison by long-time donor Stephen C. Sherrill (PA 1971). The crisp lines and orderly compositions of Ezra Stoller’s photographs document modern American architecture of the 1950s (see right).

Winslow Homer: Land and Sea, curated by Addison Director Brian Allen, brings together several of Winslow Homer's watercolors, prints, and paintings from the Addison's collection that focus on Homer's love of the outdoors. The show will also include a recently rediscovered and unknown Winslow Homer watercolor which has been in a private collection for over one hundred years and will be on public display here for the first time.

Both shows open here January 19th, so be sure to check them out the next time you're here at the museum!

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Addison in the News

If you happened by the shop of your favorite antiques dealer or were perusing a selection of arts periodicals last week, you would have seen some well-known treasures from the Addison's Coming of Age exhibition on the cover of Antiques and the Arts Weekly.

In his comprehensive cover story, Stephen May writes:

"Since its founding in 1931, the Addison Gallery of American Art at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., has assembled an extraordinary collection of some of America's finest paintings and sculpture. It is surely the premier art collection in any American preparatory school and, indeed, one of the best collections of American art anywhere.

All this is abundantly clear in a grand traveling exhibition of more than 70 selections from the Addison collection, "Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s" on view at Southern Methodist University's Meadows Museum of Art through February 24. It is organized by the American Federation of Arts and the Addison and ably curated by the Addison's associate director and curator Susan C. Faxon and William C. Agee, professor of art history at Hunter College and an Andover alumnus. "

For the full article, click here.

Maggie Adler
Director of Development

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

From Germany to New York to Andover...

For contemporary art lovers, there is more to the month of December than the holidays. Every December, Artforum magazine invites a range of artists, curators, and critics to reflect upon the past year in art and dedicates a section of the issue to the “best of.” This issue features detailed reviews of seven stimulating exhibitions in 2007 as well as twelve top ten lists from selected contributors. This segment of Artforum brings us from the Cologne Cathedral in Cologne, Germany to the Schaulager Museum in Basel, Switzerland and back to New York City.

Next stop, Andover, Massachusetts! The magazine also follows its usual format of reviewing current exhibitions. Pick up a copy of this month’s magazine to read the review of Class Pictures: Photographs by Dawoud Bey, an exhibition featuring photographs and personal statements by Bey’s teenage subjects who defy stereotypes of American youth during this complicated age. Usha (on right) wrote, “I can speak four languages, I am an actress, and when I was about thirty seconds old I reached up and took my dad’s glasses off his face.” The photographs of other young people from Detroit to Orlando to New York will be on view at the Addison through December 30th.

Jaime DeSimone
Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Fellow

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Report from Dallas

Today we hear from guest poster Brian T. Allen, the Addison's Mary Stripp & R. Crosby Kemper Director, who has recently returned with this report from Dallas, Texas:

The Addison’s Coming of Age show has finally hit the road! On November 29th, I attended the gala opening of the exhibition at the Meadows Museum, the academic art museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In time-honored Texas tradition, it was quite a party. I was delighted to see so much support for the show from the wonderful arts establishment in Dallas. So many longtime supporters of the arts in the city told me how much they love the Addison and its fabled collection and how delighted they were to see the show come to town.

The Meadows has one of the greatest collections of Spanish art in the country. Since my dissertation was on the influence of Spanish art on American art in the early nineteenth century, I was very moved to see the Addison’s great treasures in close proximity to magnificent paintings by Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo, El Greco, Goya, Sorolla, and others. Quite a conversation they will be having over the coming months.

The show next travels to the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London and then to the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and the Museum of Art-Fort Lauderdale.

Pictured above, l to r, are Mark A. Roglán, Director of the Meadows Museum, Gerald Turner, President of SMU, Linda Evans, President of the Meadows Foundation, and Brian T. Allen, Addison Director.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Coming Attractions

With all this talk about expansion and renovations, it is also important to keep in mind that we still have a full slate of new exhibitions coming here next year before we close to the public in July.

Eye on the Collection: Views and Viewpoints opens January 19th. Drawn from our permanent collection and organized into four subject areas: Figuration, Landscape, Urbanism, and Abstraction, this show will include a wide range of artists such as John Singleton Copley, Childe Hassam (see left), Theodore Roszak, and Barnett Newman.

On February 15th, our Opening Reception for our Winter Exhibitions will mark the public opening of Birth of the Cool: California Art, Design, and Culture at Midcentury. Over 150 objects will examine the painting, architecture, furniture design, decorative and graphic arts, film, and music that launched mid-century modernism in the United States. The exhibition installation will feature a jazz lounge, a media bar with film, animation, and television programming, and a period art gallery.

Also be sure to mark your 2008 calendars for Accommodating Nature: The Photographs of Frank Gohlke (see right) opening April 12th and Carroll Dunham: A Print Survey, a new Addison traveling exhibition, opening here May 10th.

By the way, this is our 50th post to Blog Addison. We certainly hope you have enjoyed reading our updates and will continue to check in during the next few months as we open many new exciting exhibitions and prepare for our renovation and expansion.

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Friday, November 30, 2007

Keeping Busy During the Renovation – a Note from Education

Now that word is spreading about the Addison closing for renovation and expansion, I imagine that many of you are in a state of panic over this news. Rest assured that here in the Education Department, we are doing everything we can to assuage your fears as we make plans for what will be happening between now and when we reopen in the spring of 2010.

First, let me say that there are still eight months for you to see an incredible range of exhibitions, bring your class to the Addison if you are a teacher, or attend any of our public events. Take full advantage now while you still can!

Once we do close, the Education Department will continue to meet with classes, both from Phillips Academy and area PreK-12 school groups, though we’ll meet in the classroom instead of the museum. We will also have an artist-in-residence who will be working in Lawrence, meeting with students from various schools.

While closed, we will have the chance to offer an even more extensive and varied selection of teacher workshops. These will include single-session workshops, like the ones we have always done, and mini-classes that will allow teachers to go into greater depth with the topics covered.

When it comes to our public events, we look forward to collaborating with other area cultural organizations in order to bring you lectures and films.

In addition to all of the plans described here, we will be developing a comprehensive plan for when we reopen with much-expanded education programs in the new Museum Learning Center. In case you thought that the Education Department would have nothing to do during the renovation, you can see that we will be keeping ourselves – and hopefully you – busy with art and ideas.

Amy Freedberg
Education Fellow

Coming of Age Opens Today in Dallas

Just a quick reminder for our Texas readers that our traveling exhibition Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s opens today at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Enjoy the show!

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A Proper Loading Dock

I have grown accustomed to the glaring looks I receive from truck drivers when I ask them to back up our driveway (see left) and offload their deliveries at what passes as our current loading dock. Maneuvering a full-length tractor-trailer towards the ground-level receiving entrance on the north side of our building can be done, but it takes a lot of patience, skill, and luck (see below). Then, once the truck has arrived, we all hope that its lift gate is working properly to lower our crates to the ground. This will all change, though, when we build our new addition.

A proper loading dock is designed for the new north side of the building (see below). The approach will include a wider turning area in front of the Andover Inn for those long trailers, and a shorter, straighter driveway to our new, raised truck entrance. A dock leveler will be in place to access trucks of various heights and crates will be able to roll smoothly right off the back of the truck and straight into our building. This is key when moving large crates such as those for our Thomas Eakins Professor Rowland or our Frank Stella East Broadway and far safer for all artwork.

The current plan calls for the dock area to be gated with a screening material similar to that cladding the exterior of the addition’s glass walls. This will help mask the dock door and the employee entrance from passers-by on Chapel Avenue.

The best part of our new loading dock, though, will be the smiles we’ll receive from the truck drivers when they see how much easier it will be to approach our building.

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Monday, November 5, 2007

Closing Q&A

Now that the Campaign for the Addison has become public, I’ve found myself answering various questions about the project from colleagues around campus and the museum world. I thought it might be a good idea to post a few of the more popular questions and answers here for our Blog readers:

-How long will the museum be closed?

We’re scheduled to close July 13, 2008 and reopen in the early spring of 2010, just under two years later. The actual construction period is planned to take 18 months.

-Where is the staff going?

The Addison’s staff plans to relocate to Addison-controlled spaces on campus in Abbot Hall just down School Street. The artist-in-residence apartment, studio, and our pedestal construction shop will be converted into temporary office spaces. Some staff may need to be located off-campus, but we’ll know more about that once our interim office plans are finalized. Our phone numbers should remain the same and, of course, Phillips Academy’s Central Services will always know where to find us!

-What will the staff be doing?

The staff will be busier than ever! Not only will we continue to do what we’ve always been doing including planning upcoming exhibitions, acquiring new objects, caring for the collection, and teaching school groups (albeit in their classes and not in the museum), we’ll also be monitoring the building construction project, laying out our new spaces, and taking on many other important projects that we haven't had the time to address while the museum is open.

-Where is the permanent collection going?

Other than the objects touring the world in our Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s and Carroll Dunham Prints: A Survey traveling exhibitions, all of the Addison’s collection will be moved from the museum and stored in an off site, highly-secured and climate-controlled art storage facility. Access to the collection may be limited during the closure period, so requests to view and borrow objects will be considered on a case-by-case basis. The collection, in its entirety, will be moved back to the museum when we reopen.

-If you’re putting on an addition, why do you need to close and empty the old building?

The original Platt-designed building will undergo renovations to upgrade critical building systems, including new climate-control, security, and storage systems. It is far more efficient and safer to have the staff and collections removed from the building as this work is being done.

-Will I still be able to buy catalogs and order rights and reproductions images?

You certainly can, though there may be some delays in our response during the building period.

If you have any other questions you’d like to see us answer, send them to the Addison at We look forward to hearing from you!

James Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Little Help from our Friends

YOUR SUPPORT MATTERS… become a Friend of the Addison!

Have you had the pleasure of visiting the Addison for any one of our stellar exhibitions or captivating events? Have you noticed that everything we do is free to the public?

You may not be aware that the Addison, though a part of Phillips Academy, is a self-supporting institution - almost completely financially independent from the Academy.

To sustain our operations, each fall we begin a year-long annual fund drive to help us continue the high level of exhibitions and programming we have here.

We rely on gifts from our friends to finance the Gallery. Support through our Friends of the Addison program is the Addison’s main source of unrestricted annual funding.

We hope you will help us by becoming a Friend of the Addison with a contribution of $50 or more to our annual fund. Or, know a friend who loves the Addison? Consider a gift membership.

Click here to get started.

I’ll be happy to thank you in person!

Maggie Adler
Director of Development

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


The start of the New Year will be very busy for the Registration Office here at the Addison. Five shows will close at the same time, four of which are composed of objects lent by private collectors and institutions. Meanwhile, William Wegman: Funney/Strange will also close at the Wexner Center of the Arts. It will be up to us to arrange returning the objects from all these exhibitions to their lenders. That means, this time around, dispersing a total of 362 different objects to 67 individual lenders.

This is no simple task. We can’t just pop objects into the mail. In most cases, we use fine art shippers: companies that specialize in safely handling, packing and transporting antiques and artwork. There are several different ones that serve the New England region, but it’s up to the Registration staff to decide which would be best to use for each shipment. Our decisions are based on what other regions those shippers serve (for example, we would not use a local company to transport something to California), what kind of trucks they use (you can’t ship a huge painting requiring a tractor trailer with a company that uses only straight trucks), how much they charge, and, most importantly, what the lenders require. For example, a lender may want a courier to accompany their object. We need to find a shipper who can accommodate a courier and will be able to provide the most direct route between us and the lender’s home.

The upside to having so many returns is that we can save money by combining shipments. If objects from two or three different shows are being returned to the same area, we can make those shipments on one truck. It does get very complex, though, working this out, especially given that four shows are dispersing from the Addison and one will be dispersing from Columbus, Ohio. It’s enough to make the head spin of even the most savvy of Registrars.

Thankfully, our winter shows will draw more heavily from our permanent collection. This will help as we start another major project: packing and moving our entire collection off site as we prepare to shut down for renovation. That’s probably the biggest dispersal we’ll ever have to arrange!

James Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Monday, October 22, 2007

Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot Lecture and Wednesday Lunch Series

The Addison Education Department invites you to not one, but two exciting events this week.

Will Anybody Know Who I Am?
On Curiosity, Witness, and Respect
This Friday, October 26, 8 pm, renowned sociologist, educator, and author, Dr. Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, will give a lecture in conjunction with the exhibition Class Pictures: Photographs by Dawoud Bey. A professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Dr. Lawrence-Lightfoot profiled Bey’s work in her book Respect: An Exploration. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to hear one of today’s leading thinkers and writers on education. This event is free and open to all. Cochran Chapel.

Wednesday Lunch Series
Bring your bag lunch over to the Addison this Wednesday, October 24th and enjoy a tour of Class Pictures: Photographs by Dawoud Bey with Julie Bernson, Director of Education. 12:00-1:00 pm.

Amy Freedberg
Education Fellow

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Off site, but not forgotten

Last year the Addison exhibited Kara Walker’s Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War (Annotated), a portfolio recently acquired by the museum at the time. Walker enlarged select illustrations from Harper’s Pictorial History of the Civil War, published in 1866 and 1868, to use as backdrops against which her silhouetted characters play out new narratives in the prints as in Deadbrook after the Battle of Ezra's Church (on left).

The fifteen large-scale lithographs are currently on view at the
Fogg Art Museum at Harvard University until November 11th. The Fogg’s installation commemorates “Drew Gilpin Faust’s inauguration as the first woman president of Harvard University.” If you’re in Boston, then stop by the Fogg to see Walker’s thought provoking portfolio.

If you find yourself wanting to learn more about Kara Walker’s art, then I can offer two current resources. First, Kara Walker: My Complement, My Enemy, My Oppressor, My Love is on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art through February 3rd, 2008. Organized by
Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, this exhibition is the first survey by an American museum of the artist’s work. Second, Kara Walker is featured in the October issue of Art in America and promises to be an informative read.

If your travels this fall do not lead you to Andover, then please consider these exhibitions in Boston and New York that explore the work of Kara Walker.

Jaime DeSimone

Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Fellow

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Many Hats of Development

Today we hear from guest poster Maggie Adler, the Addison's Development Director, as she describes her job as part of our occasional Blog Series focusing on the various jobs of museum staff:

The Development Director of the Addison wears many hats. My main role is to encourage gifts from individuals, foundations, and corporations both to support the Addison’s annual operating expenses and to fund special endeavors such as educational outreach, public events, exhibitions, publications, building renovation and expansion, and even this website. We’re grateful to have a great group called Friends of the Addison who continue to support us year after year. You can find more information about becoming a Friend here. My colleagues and I also work with Matter Communications, our new public relations firm, to help get the word out that the Addison is a wonderful place to visit.

Speaking of getting the word out…I wanted to give you a window into my exciting first days here in March. On my third day, Addison staff member Austin Sharpe walked into my office with an interesting proposal. Apparently, he and another Addison colleague, Jason Roy (see left), are members of a top notch competitive paintball team. As the world of art would be nowhere without paint, because I was new and impressionable, and because I thought that a vast new world of potential museum goers might find out about us by attending world class paintball extravaganzas, the Addison agreed to sponsor their team: Northern Persuasion.

I suspect we may be the only museum dedicated to the finest in American art that can claim a paintball team as a point of pride. I am personally looking forward to the end of the season when the Addison labeled jerseys come back looking like Jackson Pollocks. I am told it would be a greater mark of distinction for the jerseys to reach the end of the season without a drop of paint on them…but only time will tell.

I hope that you will join me in supporting the Addison and in rooting for the home team! I look forward to the unexpected adventures that each new day at the Addison brings.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

What's all this about an expansion?

The Addison has grown over the years: The collection has grown to over 16,000 objects from the 600 we had when the museum opened, the staff has grown from three in 1931 to the seventeen we have now, and now, finally, after seventy-six years, the building is growing. The Campaign for the Addison has begun!

Fundraising for our $30 million campaign is underway. Centerbrook Architects has been hired to design the three level addition to our north between the Addison and the Elson Arts Center (see left, click to enlarge). The addition will include a Museum Learning Center and space for art storage, a loading dock, and staff offices.

The Museum Learning Center (see below) will serve as a multi-functional space. There will be space for individuals and classes to view artwork from storage by appointment and areas for studying the museum's extensive library and archives. Art storage areas will expand so that, for the first time in many years, we will be able to finally store our entire collection onsite. A proper loading dock will allow larger trucks to approach the museum and offload their shipments more easily. Office space will occupy the top floor bringing together staff who are now spread out and stuffed into various nooks and crannies around the museum.

Moving many of the behind-the-scenes functions currently crammed into our venerable Platt building into the addition will allow us to renovate the museum's original facility. Parts of galleries currently being used for staff offices will be returned to their original function for showing art. A new climate control system will continue to keep our environment stable for preserving the collections. And our visitor services area will be enhanced with an expanded gift shop that may, finally, be able to display and sell every one of the Addison's numerous publications.

This is an exciting time for the museum. The new space will allow us to do all the things we strive to do well even better. The current plan has the museum closing to the public in the summer of 2008 and reopening roughly eighteen months later. To learn more about the project and how to contribute to The Campaign, click here. The Blog will keep you up to date as our plans become more solidified. Stay tuned!

James Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fall Opening Reception

Just posting a quick reminder to all our blog readers that the opening reception for the Addison Gallery's fall exhibitions is this Friday, September 28th, from 5:30 to 7:30PM. Be sure to check out the Exhibitions page on our website to see what will be hanging on the walls and our Public Programs page for a complete list of our fall events.

We hope to see you here Friday night!

James Sousa

Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Looking Forward to What Lies Ahead

A few postings back, Addison blogger James Sousa mentioned that he soon would be introducing a new blogger from the Education Department. As the new Education Fellow at the Addison, I can reasonably conclude that he was referring to me. I’ve taken matters into my own hands (actually, Mr. Sousa asked if I would) and am happy to introduce myself. If you have checked out the Education link on our website recently, then you’ve noticed that to get in touch with the Education Department, you are encouraged to contact Amy Freedberg. Well, that’s me.

I started here at the Addison at the beginning of this month. Until this fall, I had been teaching 6th grade English and Spanish at the Glen Urquhart School in Beverly. Before teaching, I studied art history as an undergraduate at Yale and worked at the Yale University Art Gallery. Museum education (my two loves – art and education – combined!) has always interested me, and signing on to be the new Education Fellow was an easy decision. It was made even easier by my familiarity with the Addison; as a PA alum (’99), I have known for years what a remarkable museum this is.

These first three weeks have been exciting — and busy! The new Curriculum Packet that I’ve been writing is nearly complete. Director of Education Julie Bernson and I are cooking up all kinds of ideas for educational programs this fall. We’re charging ahead with our plans for Educators’ Evening (Oct. 4th) and a Teacher Workshop (Oct. 17th). School groups have begun scheduling visits, and artist-in-residence Angela Lorenz is working with a number of PA classes. With four incredible shows on view, we are sure to be very busy this season! While I remain skeptical that anything could be as fast-paced as classroom teaching, everything I have heard about the Addison Education Department has me wondering if this job might come close. In any case, I am looking forward to all that lies ahead!

Amy Freedberg
Education Fellow

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Recent Acquisitions on View!

What does a shopping cart, plaster, rope, and twigs have in common? Well artist Charles Long used them to create We Wait a Long Time To See You, To Beat You in 2005 (see right). In the wall text for Out of the Ordinary, one of the five shows in The Discerning Eye, curator Allison Kemmerer wrote “Long loaded the plaster and papier mache sculpture onto a shopping cart and sent both cart and sculpture into the river where it remained for several days.” Removed from the water and now dry, Long’s construction is just one of the recent acquisitions that is currently on view at the Addison.

Other recent acquisitions include a painting by Jennifer Bartlett and numerous woodcut and relief prints by Arthur Wesley Dow. In her recent body of work, Bartlett uses dreams and overheard conversations as sources for her imagery. Standing in front of Sad, a gigantic oil painting (96 x 96 inches!), one can get lost in its frenzied layers of paint until you pull back and recognize the two trees in the foreground and the distant forest.

Switching scale and medium, the Addison also recently acquired a large body of work by Arthur Wesley Dow. Raised in Ipswich, Dow’s prints capture the marshes, meadows, the shanties and bridges found in his beloved hometown. It is remarkable to see how Dow experimented with different techniques and mediums to capture the idyllic scenes. For example, in Ipswich Days: Arthur Wesley Dow and his Hometown one can trace Ipswich Shanties from its early stage as a woodblock to its final color woodcut, the latter which is now part of the Addison’s permanent collection (see left). This exact image recurs in a gelatin silver print taken by the artist as well as an oil painting. The Addison is grateful to the Ipswich Historical Society and Museums, who kindly lent objects to this exhibition and thus made this comparison possible.

The aforementioned objects are on view for the first time at the Addison and we invite you to stop by to take a look at them in person.

Jaime DeSimone
Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Fellow

Friday, September 14, 2007

At the Addison and Beyond...

At the Addison, the galleries are still reverberating with the sounds of hammering as we work to complete the installation of Ipswich Days: Arthur Wesley Dow and his Hometown (see left). Most of the artwork is here and already hung on the walls. The show opens next Saturday, September 22nd. Also opening will be Angela Lorenz: The Artist's Book as Volume of Knowledge. Angela Lorenz has been on campus here at Phillips and will be laying out her show over the next few days.

As those shows come together, you can see Class Pictures: Photographs by Dawoud Bey that features photographs and personal narratives by Phillips Academy alums Omar Siddiqi, Marieke Sterling, Kevin Hatcher, Charles Thornton, Christopher Pohlmeyer, Mgbechi Erondu, Terrance Rubin, Catherine Castillo, and Amy Tsao alongside those of students from Lawrence High School, New York, Chicago, Florida, Detroit, and San Francisco. And, as I've written before, The Discerning Eye: Five Perspectives of the Addison Collection, is filled with treasures, many rarely-seen, from our permanent collection.

I spent last week in Columbus, Ohio, to assist the extremely friendly and efficient staff of the Wexner Center of the Arts (see right) with the unpacking and installation of William Wegman: Funney/Strange at its fifth and final venue. The Wexner, with its large, modern, angular galleries, should prove to be a very dynamic installation. The show opens to the public September 20th.

The opening reception for all our fall shows here at the Addison will be September 28th from 5:30-7:30. It is free and open to all so we hope to see you here!

James Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Addison Reopens Tuesday, September 4th

As our deadline approaches for reopening the museum after our August break, Preparators are scrambling to install artwork, Curators are polishing their text for their wall labels, Registrars are condition reporting the incoming loans, and Educators are finalizing their tours and curriculum packets. The museum may look quiet outside, but the staff is bustling within. I thought I'd post a few images of the galleries to give our readers a sneak preview of what's to come.

Three shows will be ready for September 4th. Class Pictures: Photographs by Dawoud Bey (see above left) consists of forty large-scale color portraits of high school students taken across the country. Each image is accompanied by the sitter's personal statement, the image and text combining to give unique insight into the personality and mind of each student.

Class Pictures shares our second floor with The Discerning Eye: Five Perspectives of the Addison Collection. Our Director, three Curators, and Dawoud Bey have each curated a gallery with different themes. Our own blogger and Curatorial Fellow Jaime DeSimone, has curated her gallery of The Discerning Eye (see right) using artwork that uses contemporary interpretations of word and image.

The third exhibition is hung on our main level: Bernard Langlais: Abstract Wood Reliefs (see left). Also occupying the main level will be Ipswich Days: Arthur Wesley Dow and his Hometown and Angela Lorenz: The Artist's Book as Volume of Knowledge, but you will need to wait until our opening reception September 22nd to see those two shows. We start installing them next week.

Over the next few weeks, keep checking Blog Addison as we introduce our new blogger from the Education Department, bring you up to date on current and future museum events, and continue to give you the behind-the-scenes glimpses of our museum as you've come to expect. We also will soon announce what Building for the Addison's Future is all about. Sharp-eyed viewers have noticed the spot for that new link on the Addison's main web page.

Thanks as always for reading and we hope to see you here at the museum soon!

James Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Monday, July 30, 2007

Tomorrow's Ends and Beginnings

Tomorrow is the final day to see our Spring 2007 exhibitions here at the Addison, including the wildly popular William Wegman: Funney/Strange (see left) and An Impressionist Legacy: Lawrence's White Fund Paintings. We're very sad to see these shows close as they have become favorites among our record number of visitors.

Tomorrow is also the final day of our Education Fellow and blog poster Rebecca Spolarich. Though her two year Addison fellowship is ending, she'll be starting a new job in Paris, France. We all wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors!

And late tomorrow, we'll be launching a freshened front page for our website. It contains links to our fall shows and a spot for a link to Building for the Addison's Future, a major project on the museum's horizon that will soon be announced to the public. This follows the newly redesigned Education Module on our site (see right) launched last week and designed by Rebecca as one her last gifts to us before her departure. A multitude of new pages outline the various aspects of our Education program. Click here to view it.

We will be taking a break from posting to the Blog during the month of August while we're closed and busy installing the new shows. But, I promise, we'll be back posting again when we reopen September 4th. Take care and have a great summer!

James Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Monday, July 23, 2007

What to see while we're closed...

Though the Addison closes its doors during the month of August, one will be left open at a different address - the Essex Art Center in Lawrence, MA.

To celebrate the artwork and writing created by the hundreds of students who visit the Addison throughout the school year, the Education Department has organized Student Photography Alphabets - an exhibition of student photography - on view through August 17 at the Essex Art Center.

Student Photography Alphabets brings together selections from sixteen Photography & Writing projects prompted by the Addison's fall 2006 exhibition, WendyEwald: American Alphabets. Responding to Ewald's work which questions the link between language, education, and identity, students created painted photographs, alphabet books, and DVDs which mimic the format of the familiar alphabet primer. Sixteen alphabet projects created by K-12 students in schools as close as Andover and Lawrence and as far away as Mumbai, India are on interactive display in the Essex Art Center's Student Gallery. Visit for visitor information.

Contemporary photographer Wendy Ewald's collaborative work with children and young adults across the United States has inspired numerous projects organized through the Addison's Photography & Writing Program - a program directed by the Education Department which works to develop students' visual literacy skills through picture-making and creative writing. Learn more about this program by clicking on EDUCATION on the Addison's website.

Top left: Q is for Quieted, A 20th Century Alphabet, Pike School, Andover.
Above: M is for Martin Luther King, Jr., A 1st Grade Alphabet, Robert Frost School, Lawrence.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Only Two Weeks Left!

There are only two more weeks left before William Wegman: Funney/Strange closes here at the Addison. Plans are in place to start packing the show soon after it closes July 31st while transport via a climate-controlled, tractor-trailer truck has been arranged to bring the show's thirty-six hefty crates to its next and final venue: the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio.

Last week, representatives from the Wexner visited the Addison to have a look at the installation here. They took copious notes as they met with Allison Kemmerer, the Addison's curator in charge of the show, and bounced ideas off each other regarding the layout of the artwork and the positions of the walls in their exhibition space. Their Registrar and I compared notes on the challenges associated with moving and unpacking the show's large crates and installing some of its more complex pieces, such as the large, four-paneled postcard painting Tilted Chair (see above in the Brooklyn venue, below in the Addison venue).

I have my own travel arrangements set for early September to fly out and oversee the unpacking and condition reporting of the show in Ohio. It will be the fifth installation I've seen of Wegman and I'm looking forward to see how it will fit into the Wexner's space. It's always interesting to see artwork installed in different places. It was great fun this weekend when I saw our three Hoppers proudly hung outside the Addison's walls at the MFA, Boston in their Edward Hopper exhibition.

So be sure to visit William Wegman: Funney/Strange before it closes here July 31st. Otherwise, you'll need to see it at the Wexner when it opens there September 20th.

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On a related note, Boston Globe subscribers may have noticed the interview with William Wegman in Sunday's Globe Magazine about his new murals in the service plazas on the Maine Turnpike. You can see the full article here.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Behind Closed Doors

Summers typically mean vacation, especially for the students at Phillips Academy. However, summertime is one of the busiest seasons for the Addison staff. When the museum closes for the month of August, we're still busy working inside offices and storage areas that are behind closed doors and off limits to our visitors. This summer the Addison is fortunate to have a special guest working among us. We invited artist Dawoud Bey to curate one of the five galleries in the upcoming exhibition The Discerning Eye: Five Perspectives on the Addison Collection.

Yesterday Dawoud began his two week residency at the Addison, where he will be working in storage rummaging through our photography collection. Dawoud, curator Allison Kemmerer, Director of Education Julie Bernson and I spent the day discussing his goals for his residency and the idea about his exhibition. Dawoud will be investigating various portraits in the Addison's collection and the role between the sitter and photographer in different settings. However, my brief generalization about the artist's concept is a mere regurgitation of Dawoud's current idea, but things may change as he continues to look, investigate and select photographs for the exhibition. With that being said, Dawoud will be writing an explanatory text for his show that will be more insightful and interesting, especially once you see the art and read the artist's statement alongside each other.

Until then, no more spoilers about his exhibition, but it promises to be an innovative one!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Inventory's Hidden Treasures

Collections inventory is an important part of the work we do here. We need to track the locations of the 16,067 objects in our permanent collection. This is not an easy task given how often our exhibitions change, how many objects we send out on loan, and how often our collection is used in-house for study. Inventory not only keeps us on top of where everything is, but it gives us the opportunity to rediscover treasures in our storage areas that rarely see the lights of the exhibition galleries.

Recently, I came across our Larry Stark print collection (see right)while resolving some outstanding inventory issues. Research into our archives indicated that Mr. Stark and former Addison Director Chris Cook made an agreement years ago that the Addison would be the repository of one copy of every print he made. We now have almost 400 prints by the artist.

We recently made a similar agreement with Carroll Dunham, a Phillips Academy alumnus of 1967, who, just a few months ago, gifted us one of every print he made, totaling over 200 pieces in all. We are organizing a traveling show of his work next year.

We are also the repository of the George Tooker archive (see left) which came to us in 1996 and contains nearly 200 studies and drawings by the artist, also a Phillips alumnus, of 1938. Representatives from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the National Academy Museum and School of Fine Arts were here recently to select objects for a George Tooker exhibition they'll be organizing next year.

As they were studying the Tookers, they asked me which little-known, hidden treasure in the Addison's vaults is my favorite. I chuckled, saying, "I couldn't possibly choose just one object!" There are too many objects and I'm discovering new favorites with each and every inventory. Who knows what the next one will bring to light?

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On a slightly related note, today Margaret Leahy, our Assistant Registrar and Development Associate, finished her two year project scanning over 12,000 slides of our collection from our archives. This now allows us to post digital images of over 80% of our objects online. Congratulations are in order for a job well done!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Community members make art & celebrate Lawrence history

The Open House & Community Day in celebration of Lawrence's White Fund Paintings brought together residents of all ages from local communities on Saturday, June 23

Lawrence's White Fund Paintings, a special collection of European impressionist landscapes on view in the area for the first time in nearly 100 years, proved to be a just cause for community celebration last weekend. Here, we share with you scenes from the eventful day's many exciting activities!

OUTDOOR PAINTING WORKSHOPS: Families and adults learned to paint like impressionist artists Claude Monet and Camille Pissarro did - outdoors and from direct observation of one's surroundings.

ARTISTS CAN ENTERTAIN: Local painter Dennis Poirier demonstrated the impressionist painting technique outside while indoors, the Lawrence High School Salsa Band made music for guests to enjoy while touring the William Wegman: Funney/Strange exhibition.

EXPLORING LAWRENCE HISTORY: Student volunteers from Lawrence's Esperanza Academy assist visitors as they explore historic maps and photographs of Lawrence related to the White Fund Collection.

TOURS OF THE EXHIBITION: Addison Associate Director and Curator Susan Faxon and White Fund Trustee James Dowd reveal the extraordinary story behind Lawrence's White Fund Paintings during family and adult tours in the galleries.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Open House & Community Day this Saturday, June 23rd!

Come celebrate with us!

Visit the Addison this weekend to take part in a day-long celebration of Lawrence's White Fund paintings - fun for families and adults!

Open House & Community Day
Saturday, June 23, 11am-4pm

Enjoy an array of fun and educational activities throughout the day! The celebration will feature
- outdoor impressionist painting demonstrations
- landscape painting workshops
- adult and family tours of the exhibition, An Impressionist Legacy: Lawrence's White Fund Paintings,
- music
- food & drink
- and more!

FREE and open to ALL.

FREE TRANSPORTATION is offered to and from Lawrence Public Libraries:
Departing from Lawrence Main Library at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30, 1:30, and 2:30
Departing from South Lawrence Branch at 10:40, 11:40, 12:40, 1:40, and 2:40
Return trips from the Addison at 11:00, 12:00, 1:00, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00

Held rain or shine. (Some activities may be held indoors in the case of rain.)

Objects on the Road

As the Addison's Curators create their object checklists for our permanent collection fall show The Discerning Eye: Five Perspectives on the Addison Collection, they need to take into account that almost one hundred different Addison objects will be on the road on loan during that time.

For example, visitors to the Frist Center of the Arts in Nashville, Tennessee will be able to see our Maurice Prendergast, In Central Park, New York (see right) and George Bellows, Outside the Big Tent in Life's Pleasures: The Ashcan Artist's Brush with Leisure, 1895-1925, starting August 2nd. The show is being organized by the Detroit Institute of Arts and will be visiting there as well as the New York Historical Society in subsequent venues.

Our Edward Lamson Henry, City Point, Virginia, Headquarters of General Grant will be traveling to the Virginia Historical Society, the Missouri Historical Society, and, again, the New York Historical Society as part of the Lee and Grant exhibition opening October 20th in Richmond. This painting has seen a lot of travel lately, having recently appeared in Historical Fictions: Edward Lamson Henry's Paintings of Past and Present at the Yale University Art Gallery.

Representatives from the Art Institute of Chicago visited recently to study our Jasper Johns Target up close. It will be included in their show Jasper Johns: Survey in Gray opening in Chicago November 4th and then traveling to the MET.

And also this fall, the Addison will receive a large delivery of crates for seventy-one of our objects traveling in Coming of Age: American Art 1850s to 1950s, which opens November 30th at the Meadows Museum in Dallas, Texas and travels to London, Venice and Florida before returning home to Andover.

Thankfully, the Addison's collection is deep and the Curators should have no trouble finding the objects to fit their needs for The Discerning Eye. It provides the opportunity to use pieces that have not been hung on the gallery walls in a while, or ever. So be sure to stop in and see what's here! And if you live close to one of the venues listed above, be sure to stop in and see what the Addison has there!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Calm Between Storms

Despite the record numbers of visitors coming to see William Wegman: Funney/Strange and An Impressionist Legacy: Lawrence's White Fund Paintings, the periods between installations are a relatively calm time that allows us to catch up and prepare for what's coming ahead.

The Registration staff are coordinating the loans and shipments for our fall shows:
Ipswich Days: Arthur Wesley Dow and his Home Town (see right), Dawoud Bey: Class Photographs, and Angela Lorenz: The Artist’s Book as Volume of Knowledge. Curatorial is putting the finishing touches on our two fall publications. The Preparators are organizing all the framing, cases and pedestal building for the incoming shows as well as The Discerning Eye: Five Perspectives on the Addison Collection.

In The Discerning Eye, Director Brian Allen, Curators Susan Faxon and Allison Kemmerer, Curatorial Fellow and blogger Jaime DeSimone, and Artist-In-Residence Dawoud Bey will each curate a gallery drawing from our permanent collection, producing five unique shows within one exhibition. We are all excited to see what they come up with. The show will have a page on our website very soon.

The Education staff, as you can see from Rebecca's last post, are incredibly busy giving tours before the public schools close. They're also preparing for our big
Open House on June 23rd. It promises to be a fun-filled day of gallery talks, painting demonstrations and various family activities.

So be sure to see the current shows while they are here and come to our Open House on the 23rd. And while we may be closed in August, we'll be busier than ever putting up the fall exhibitions, so plan on coming back again to see what's new at the Addison!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Lawrence Students Discover Local Long-Lost Treasures

The current exhibition, An Impressionist Legacy: Lawrence’s White Fund Paintings which brings the extraordinary art collection of a former Lawrence resident back to the area for the first time in nearly 100 years has attracted a lot of attention from Lawrence schools. Since the exhibition’s opening in late April, the Addison has hosted tours of the paintings for over 1300 students.

Recognizing the importance to instill an appreciation of these important treasures in Lawrence citizens and with generous funding from the White Fund, the Addison Education Department was able to offer special professional development programs, free buses, and curriculum materials to Lawrence schools.

Related Event
As a result of the students’ interaction with the paintings, the Addison and various Lawrence schools present:

Lawrence Impressions: Artwork & Writing by Lawrence Students
OPENING RECEPTION THURSDAY, JUNE 7! At Lawrence City Hall, 3-5pm
The White Fund paintings inspired K-12 teachers and their students to create artwork and writing in a variety of forms including paintings, drawings, poetry, and research projects. Come see their extraordinary creations on view at both Lawrence City Hall (200 Common Street) and Lawrence Heritage State Park (1 Jackson Street), June 7- July 18, 2007.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Idea People

Addison curator Allison Kemmerer, Wegman curators Joan Simon and Trevor Fairbrother, and Addison Associate Director Susan Faxon enjoy the Wegman exhibition.I've mentioned before that Curators are the idea people. But what exactly does a Curator do? Instead of providing a list of duties, it might be easier to show what they (see right) do by describing what a typical week for a Curator might look like:

Monday: The day is spent in meetings. The first is with the Director to discuss ideas for upcoming shows. The next is with the loans committee to decide which objects from the collection will be lent to other institutions' exhibitions. Then, there is a meeting with the Registrars and Preparators to work on the checklist, layout, and wall color for an upcoming exhibition. If there's any time left to the day, it's used to work on writing an essay for an exhibition catalogue that was due, unfortunately, sometime last week.

Tuesday: The day is spent in front of the computer (see below), first writing the wall text for a show that opens next week, next writing to a fellow institution about a show we're thinking of borrowing next year, then, if there's any time left, working on the essay.

Wednesday: The morning is spent at the library doing research for the essay. The afternoon is spent back at the museum in the galleries laying out the artwork for the show that opens next week. One of the objects on the checklist is unexpectedly unavailable for the show so the Curator cruises the collections database to find some replacements, looks at them in storage, and makes a selection. Thankfully it fits in the space allowed on the wall.

The Curatorial department...too much to do, too little time!Thursday: The day is spent traveling to New York City, first to meet with a donor to gain support for an upcoming exhibition...the one with the catalogue with the essay. The afternoon is spent at a couple of dealers looking at potential acquisitions for the collection. There are a couple of photographs that have potential so arrangements are made to have the pieces sent to the Addison for inspection. The train rides to and from the city are spent working on the essay.

Friday: The morning is spent giving a gallery talk for a group of visitors. The afternoon is spent with a donor interested in giving some artwork from his collection to the museum. Friday evening is spent having dinner with the current artist-in-residence to discuss her ongoing project on campus.

And yes, the weekend is spent trying to finish the essay.

The Addison has two Curators, one whose expertise covers artwork created before 1950, the other artwork created after 1950 and photography. We also have a Curatorial Fellow: my fellow blog poster Jaime DeSimone. And we have a Curatorial Associate who tries to make order from the chaos of all those Curatorial ideas.

The question is, where do the Curators find time to come up with their ideas? Only the Curators know. But one thing's for sure, without their ideas, their jobs may become less hectic, but the museum would be a very boring place indeed!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Faces of the Addison

My first job in the museum field was here at the Addison in 1991 when I was hired as a Gallery Attendant for the weekends. I manned the front desk and stood guard in the galleries. While was I beginning to learn how a museum worked, I also learned how the museum is seen through our visitors' eyes and what an important role the Front Desk personnel and Gallery Attendants have in their experience. They are the "faces of the Addison," keeping a vigilant eye on the safety of the artwork on our walls while greeting our visitors with a smile.

The Front Desk personnel (see right) need to be instant experts on whatever is hanging on our walls. As with most Addison staff, they have multiple jobs: they greet, they give directions, they run the cash register for the gift shop, and most importantly, they field a variety of questions: "Where is Eight Bells?" "What exactly does 'gouache' mean?" "Do you have anything by [fill in artist name here] in your collection?" And, of course, the perennial classic, "Where is the bathroom?"

The Gallery Attendants must walk that very thin line between being friendly to our visitors but being firm in their observance. When an Attendant says, "Please do not touch the artwork," it must be said in a way that does not offend the toucher but gets the point across. I was an Attendant during our Sol LeWitt Wall Drawing retrospective in 1993 where, basically, no one could touch any of the walls anywhere. And it was difficult for visitors to resist feeling the textures the multiple layers of applied washes had created. I had the most success by explaining why it was important not the touch the walls. Colors and chalk could smear. Fingerprints could appear. It was a matter of preserving the artwork so the next viewer can enjoy it just as much as the first.

Which is essentially why those of us in the museum world chose this field: to preserve the artwork for future generations. Our "faces of the Addison" are just as important to that cause as the Conservators and the Curators. And...they do it with a smile!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Hitting the Nail on the Head

In my past posts, I've referred more than once to "Preparators" or "Prep crew." But who are these white-gloved-clad unsung heroes of the museum world?

If the Curators are the idea people and Registrars help to make those ideas a physical reality, then the Preparators are the folks who implement those ideas to become the actual show visitors see on our walls. They paint and light the galleries. They build the pedestals and mounts. They mat and frame the artwork. They load and offload the crates on the trucks, not easy when you don't have a proper loading dock (see right). They pack and unpack the artwork (see below), or bring it from storage, and hang it on the walls. And, at the Addison, they do double-duty as Collection Managers and are responsible, with the Registrars, for the proper storage and movement of the artwork throughout the museum. The Addison has three Preparators on staff and bring in more help during the chaotic exhibition change period.

The Addison's galleries are completely reinstalled every three to four months. This is no easy feat for our Preparators to accomplish in the condensed two to three week period between exhibition closings and openings. Installing artwork is not as simple as just hitting nails on their heads, though the heads of 5484 nails were hit during the installation of our Jennifer Bartlett: Early Plate Work show. Cranking the formulas required to double-hang twenty different objects of varying height and widths at the same horizontal mid-point on the wall is enough to drive the best mathematician crazy. Coordinating the various lifts and cranes to move a 3000 pound fragile sculpture carefully two feet to the left requires perfect art handling skills and an intimate knowledge of physics. And painting the acres of walls in our Kemper Gallery, as anyone who has tried painting a light color over a dark one can attest, can be a challenge, especially at the heartbreaking point when you realize it is going to need that third coat to look completely even.

Speaking of painting walls, two Addison Preparators recently traveled to Dublin, Ireland, to implement one of the Addison's Sol LeWitt wall drawings (#716) in the US Embassy (see right). This took several days to accomplish with very skilled hands and the result was amazing. If you ever happen to be there, make a point to stop in and check it out.

So the next time you visit the Addison and see our Preparators carefully transporting a painting through the galleries on their carpeted green cart, shake their white gloved hands and congratulate them for the jobs they do. Without them, the gallery walls would be terribly empty!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Upcoming Event: "Impressionism Comes to America"

A slide presentation and lecture in connection with the spring exhibitions An Impressionist Legacy: Lawrence's White Fund Paintings and Eye on the Collection: Landscape Impressions will be given by the Addison's Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director Brian Allen on Wednesday, May 23rd, at 6:30 p.m. in Kemper Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Professor Rowland Goes to New York

Addison visitors are well acquainted with our famous, and large, Thomas Eakins painting Professor Henry A. Rowland (see right). The painting shipped recently to the MET in New York City to be included in Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings: The Clark Brothers Collect that opens May 22 and runs until August 19, 2007. I traveled down to the MET to see the painting installed so I thought I'd post about it to give a little behind-the-scenes look at the adventures of museum couriering.

When I arrived at the MET, I was brought deep into the maze of corridors beneath the building to the vault the Professor's crate was stored in when it arrived. The painting had shipped the day before and been given twenty-four hours to acclimate to the MET's conditions. I then accompanied the crate and a crew of Registrars and Preparators up a massive freight elevator to the galleries. One of the Registrars cut a course through the throngs of visitors to the secured exhibition space where the piece would be hung. This was no easy task: the crate was 7 1/2 feet tall by 9 1/2 feet long. The painting had to travel on its side to fit on the truck and through doorways. Needless to say, the visitors quickly moved aside when they saw this coming!

In the secured exhibition space, the crate was laid flat, the lid removed, and the Professor carefully lifted up onto a side. The corners of the frame are very fragile and are prone to crack if the piece is torqued, so the utmost attention is given to its handling. Equal pressure had to be used along the sides of the frame as it was lifted onto a cart and wheeled to the spot where it would be hung. There, one of the MET's conservators and I meticulously inspected the painting. Thankfully, it had arrived without any damage. I checked the "no change" box on the condition report, an act that warms every Registrar's heart.

The MET took over from there. With one person perched above on an electric lift and two holding the painting below, the Professor was lifted up and hung on the wall from two long copper wires. The staff of the MET are experts at what they do: within just a few minutes, the 8 1/2 x 6 1/2 foot piece was level and centered in its spot with no need for adjustment.

Someone from the Addison will need to return in August when the show closes, but until then, we know the painting is hung securely and in good hands. So the next you're in New York, stop in at the MET and see the Professor. You'll be happy, as I'm sure the Professor was, to make the trip!