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