Monday, April 30, 2007

Digital Magnifying Glass

First of all, thanks to everyone who attended the opening reception for our spring exhibitions and ventured to Kemper in the rain on Sunday to see William Wegman speak. We had a fantastic turnout at both events and hope to post some images from them soon as our popular Seen at the Addison feature moves from our E-Newsletter to Blog Addison.

In the meanwhile, I thought I'd point out a little-known feature on our Collections pages. Have you ever wanted to get so close to a painting that your nose almost touches it, but you don't for fear of our ever vigilant guard force catching you? Now you can get as close as you ever wanted using the Zoomable Image button.

Eleven paintings in our collection now have high resolution images available online for you to zoom into and see every brushstroke as if you were inspecting the painting with your own digital magnifying glass. Just click on any of the paintings below and click Zoomable Image under the image:

George Bellows, The Gulls, Monhegan, c. 1913, oil on panel (image above)
Thomas Eakins , Professor Henry A. Rowland, 1897, oil on canvas
Marsden Hartley, Summer, Sea, Window, Red Curtain, 1942, oil on masonite
Childe Hassam, Early Morning on the Avenue in May 1917, 1917, oil on canvas
Winslow Homer, Eight Bells, 1886, oil on canvas
Winslow Homer, The West Wind, 1891, oil on canvas
Edward Hopper, Manhattan Bridge Loop, 1928, oil on canvas
Maurice Brazil Prendergast, Sketches in Paris, c. 1892-1894, seven oil on wood panels
Frederic Remington, Moonlight, Wolf, c. 1909, oil on canvas
John Singer Sargent, Val d'Aosta: A Man Fishing, c. 1907, oil on canvas
John Sloan, Sunday, Women Drying Their Hair, 1912, oil on canvas

Though we will be adding more, we know this feature could never replace coming to the Addison and seeing the paintings up close in real life.

So if you haven't been to the museum recently, come on by. If you have been here recently, come again! We hope to see you soon!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's that time of year again...

The Addison Education Department gears up for its busiest season of the year

On the bright, brisk morning of April 10th, fifty pairs of feet belonging to the inquisitive first grade students from Melrose's Lincoln Elementary School marched up the museum's steps and paraded into this spring's special exhibition, William Wegman: Funney/Strange, the first school group to tour this season which promises to attract extraordinary numbers of visitors.

Upon entering the galleries, spontaneous "woah!"'s and laughter erupted as the young students spied the artist's fanciful paintings and clever Polaroids of weimaraners assuming their human personae in classic Wegman fashion. Addison Education Assistant Regan Doody gathered the class before a photograph of the artist's beloved model Man Ray and soon what started as instantaneous giggles evolved into a thoughtful discussion as the students recognized the humor, imagination, and irony crafted in Wegman's works.

While April traditionally marks the start of the museum's busiest season for school group visits, the Addison Education Department works with classes like those from the Lincoln School every
day throughout the year, engaging K-12 and college students from both public and private schools from as close as Andover and Lawrence, to as far as Boston and New Hampshire. Over 6,000 students tour the Addison through the Education Department each year, composing nearly one quarter of the museum's annual visitorship.

Since the formalization of the Education Department in 1993,
the Addison has offered free museum tours, classroom presentations, and professional development to area teachers and students. Through student-oriented group discussions around art works, the museum's educators aim to encourage visual and critical thinking in all learners, as well as encourage fellow educators and adminstrators to integrate art into all curriculum areas, especially language arts, history, social studies, science, and math.

If you or someone you know is interested in visiting the Addison with your students this season or in the future, please contact us! See the Education page on this website for more information.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Andover MASSterpieces: Celebrating Local Cultural Excellence

The Andover Cultural Council and the Addison Gallery are hosting a celebration entitled Andover MASSterpieces: Celebrating Local Cultural Excellence. The 2007 grant recipients, twenty-five organizations, and individuals from Andover and neighboring communities will be honored on May 3, 2007, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Addison. The evening will include a performance by the North Shore Youth Symphony ensemble, a welcome by the Addison’s Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director Brian Allen, and remarks from grant recipients. Refreshments will be provided complements of Andover Cakes, Andover Liquors, The Cupcake Boutique, Dish, I Dream of Jeannie Cakes, and Wild Oats. The event is sponsored by Butler Bank.

The Andover Cultural Council is part of the Local Cultural Council Program (LCC), the second largest grant program of the Massachusetts Cultural Council. The LCC Program is the most extensive system of its kind in the nation to support arts, sciences and humanities in local communities.

Andover Cultural Council grants benefit public school arts and sciences programs, help to support public art projects, provide a showcase for local artists at town events such as Andover Days, and help to nurture new arts and established arts programs in the community including such well known programs as the Andover Chamber Music Series, the Andover Choral Society and many others.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Few Bits of Random News

While the staff here at the Addison are busy installing the last of the spring shows and readying for the April 27th opening reception, I thought I'd update the blog with a post of a few bits of random news:

-An Impressionist Legacy: Lawrence's White Fund Paintings opens to the public Tuesday, April 24th. However, last week, high school students from the nearby city of Lawrence got a sneak preview of the paintings being installed (that's Leslie Maloney, our Chief Preparator, arranging the paintings in the image on the left). The Eagle Tribune newspaper covered the event: click here to see the article and click here to see a slide show. Then, click here for a full list of events associated with the exhibition.

-William Wegman will be here at Phillips Academy next week for his Artist-In-Residency and to celebrate the opening of William Wegman: Funney-Strange at the Addison. He plans on spending time meeting classes at Phillips Academy and from Lawrence as well as doing photography around the campus.

-Bird and animal lovers and fans of John James Audubon rejoice! We've nearly finished scanning and posting online all the images from our Quadrapeds of North America and Birds of America elephant folio volumes (see right). Click here to go to our Collections page and type Audubon in the Quick Search box to start browsing. Thanks goes to Registrarial Assistant Margaret Leahy for her patient scanning skills!

We hope to see you at the April 27th opening reception for our spring exhibitions from 5:00PM to 8:00PM. It is open and free to all!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Remembering Sol LeWitt

To say that the art world suffered a great loss this week with the passing of conceptual artist Sol LeWitt is an understatement. Finding it difficult to express the magnitude of his oeuvre and fulfilling a desire to comprehend his history with the Addison, I decided to dedicate this blog entry to the artist. I have searched through archival exhibition files, read our exhibition catalogue for Sol LeWitt: Twenty-Five Years of Wall Drawings, 1968-1993, and looked at documents about objects by the artist on file. The following notes and photographs represent a small selection of my findings.

In 2003, the Addison produced a brochure for the exhibition Sol LeWitt: Recent Acquisitions, which unfolds into a poster displaying the forty-seven objects by the artist in the Addison’s collection. Printed on its reverse side, former director Adam Weinberg wrote about the museum’s history of collecting LeWitt’s art:

“The first connection to Sol LeWitt came in 1978 through Addison director Chris Cook, long an admirer and supporter of conceptual art. During his tenure, the museum acquired its first LeWitt works, the screenprints Three Squares with a Different Color in Each Half Square…, 1971 and Lines, Not Long, Not Heavy, Not Touching, Drawn at Random (Circle)…, 1971, thanks to Donnelly Erdman, a Phillips Academy alumnus, and Dossett McCullough. Shortly thereafter, in the Addison’s fiftieth anniversary exhibition, Cook included Wall Drawing #358, a piece that was produced by Andover students. This project was the precedent for the landmark Sol LeWitt: Twenty-Five Years of Wall Drawings, 1968-1993, organized by director Jock Reynolds in 1993. This stellar exhibition presented forty-four wall drawings that were produced by sixty students and volunteers working with one of LeWitt’s assistants and the Addison Gallery staff.”

These archival photographs document the creation of Sol LeWitt: Twenty-Five Years of Wall Drawings, 1968-1993.
These wall drawings now exist underneath numerous layers of paint on the Addison’s walls. However, one wall drawing remains visible. Painted on a vaulted ceiling in a gallery, Wall Drawing #713 was designed by the artist specifically for the Addison in 1993.

The Addison will be forever indebted to Sol LeWitt’s extraordinary generosity.

Monday, April 9, 2007

Looking ahead to 2008 and beyond!

When you're looking at an exhibition, do you ever wonder about how it was organized? For instance, William Wegman: Funney/Strange opened at the Addison on Saturday April 7th, which is the fourth stop in its touring schedule, but it took years of preparation!! I am not exaggerating.

While the Addison's prep staff is busy painting walls, framing art and installing it for current exhibitions, the curatorial department is already focusing on future exhibitions. That's right, we're looking ahead as far as 2011! Curators prepare checklists of artworks to be included in the exhibition, conduct endless hours of research, and talk with artists and/or other scholars. Discussions between other institutions occur and sometimes these museums will become stops on the exhibition's tour similar to Wegman's schedule. Once the exhibition is finalized, then it is time to organize the accompanying publication. Not only do curators write the essays for the exhibition catalogue, but they're thoroughly involved in the process from beginning to end. The Addison's curators have ongoing conversations with editors and designers to produce the highest quality publication. The next time you're reading an exhibition catalogue take a moment to think about the fact that it took at least a year to produce.

The Addison has added a new feature on its website that has information about our future exhibitions and their availability. Check out what the Addison's curatorial department is working on for the
next four years by browsing through these future exhibition proposals.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Lenders, Lending, and Loans

As we put the final touches on our William Wegman-Funney/Strange exhibition opening Saturday, April 7th, I'm reminded of the many kind people who lent their objects to the show. Over forty lenders have sent their pieces including private collectors, galleries, and fellow museums.

The Addison lends objects from our permanent collection on a regular basis to other institutions for their exhibitions. At this moment, we have fourteen different objects on loan throughout the country including two George Rickeys at the Vero Beach Museum of Art in Florida, five Charles Sheelers at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, and several Eadweard Muybridges at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC.

Soon, we'll be lending three of our Edward Hopper paintings: Manhattan Bridge Loop, Railroad Train, and Freight Cars, Gloucester (see right) to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts for their Edward Hopper exhibition. The show will travel to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and the Art Institute of Chicago later this year. Unfortunately, Manhattan Bridge Loop can only make it to the Boston venue…it's slated to be in our own traveling show: Coming of Age: American Art 1850s to 1950s, in November.

This month, we're lending our Joseph Cornell, Cage, to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, MA for their Joseph Cornell: Navigating the Imagination exhibition. The show is being toured by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. You may recall that this Washington, DC institution hosted the second venue of our Wegman show.

So when you look at the labels accompanying each object either here at the Addison or at your local museum, please take note of where it came from. Without the generosity of these lenders, shows like William Wegman-Funney/Strange, would never happen!