Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Characters Welcomed.

In the summer of 2008, the USA Network asked eleven photographers to “capture the character of America.” You may have seen the commercials for The Character Project on television. I always thought I saw a familiar face at work behind a large format 4x5 camera, and sure enough, it was Dawoud Bey, a past artist-in-residence and a long time friend of the Addison. Participants also include Jeff Dunas, Mary Ellen Mark, Eric Ogden, and Sylvia Palchy, among others, who documented their subjects from nearly every corner of our country—Alaska, Los Angeles, Chicago, Michigan, New York, Texas, and Washington. From organic farmers in the Northwest to people living along Highway 50, we witness glimpses of ourselves in our fellow citizens. The Character Project will be exhibited in various cities across the United States this spring.

I found myself wondering—how does the Addison’s collection, an exclusively American one, “capture the character of America?” I decided to stretch this idea beyond the medium of photography and time by featuring both historic and contemporary representations. I hope you will enjoy the Addison’s select cast of “characters.”

Alvin Langdon Coburn, III Mark Twain, 1908, 1905, photogravure

Henry Inman, News Boy, 1841, oil on canvas, museum purchase

Frederick Hayes, Untitled (Young Man), 2000, charcoal on paper, Purchased as the gift of Miriam M. and Charles O. Wood, III

David McGee, Corporate Girl / Side B, 1997, oil on canvas, partial gift of John Axelrod (PA 1964) and museum purchase

Wendy Ewald, Q from A Girl's Alphabet, 2002, digital print, gift of Robin Gates

Gaston Lachaise, Seated Woman, 1927, bronze, gift of The Lachaise Foundation, Boston, MA

Type A, Cheer (Slam), 2006, chromogenic print, gift of the artists

Winslow Homer, Hon. Abraham Lincoln, Born in Kentucky, February 12, 1809., 1860, wood engraving, purchased as the gift of Warren P. Snyder (PA 1936)

Michael de Lisio, Oscar Wilde in America, ca. 1882, 1968, bronze, gift of Sanford Schwartz

Dawoud Bey, A Young Woman Between Carrolburg Place and Half Street, Washington, D.C., 1989, gelatin silver print, museum purchase

Sally Mann, The New Mothers, 1989, gelatin silver print, museum purchase

Sal Lopes, Boy with Sign "Does Anyone Know", Nov. 1983, cibachrome print, gift of the artist

Posted by Jaime DeSimone, Charles H. Sawyer Curatorial Fellow

Monday, March 16, 2009

Coming of Age Closing in Fort Lauderdale March 23

Time is short for viewing our travelling exhibition Coming of Age: American Art, 1850s to 1950s at the Museum of Art-Fort Lauderdale. The show closes there next Monday, March 23rd before it travels to the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, opening there May 28th. This is not a simple venue change: we are adding three new objects to the show to replace two others that we have promised to lend to exhibitions organized by other institutions.

The three objects joining Coming of Age are Winslow Homer's Kissing the Moon, Mary Cassatt's Little Boy in Blue (No. 2) (see left), both last seen in the Addison's Then and Now exhibition, and, one of the Addison's more important recent acquisitions, Barnett Newman's Argos. One of the objects they are replacing is Winslow Homer's The West Wind, which will be travelling to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts to take part in their exhibition Expanding Horizons: Painting and Photography of American and Canadian Landscapes 1860-1918 opening there June 18th. The other object leaving Coming of Age is Georgia O'Keeffe's Wave, Night, which will be travelling to the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute to take part in their exhibition Dove/O'Keeffe: Circles of Influence opening there June 7th.

We encourage you to see Coming of Age at the venue nearest you and to visit our objects being loaned to other institutions. Soon, though, you'll be able to see our works back up on our own walls when the Addison Gallery reopens to the public next spring.

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Missing the Addison? Join us for the final Close Encounter

Still missing the Addison? Join us!!

Curator of Photography Allison Kemmerer will be hosting:

Photographs of the West

Thursday, March 19, 2009
11:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M.
School Room (third floor), Abbot Hall
Abbot Campus
School Street, Andover

Allison’s talk is the last of a three-part series of intimate visits with treasures from the collection hosted by the Addison’s curators.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Update on the Addison Renovation and Expansion

Typical New England winter weather: sub-freezing temperatures, deep snow, high winds and heavy rain, have not been a deterrent to progress on the Addison Gallery's job site. Our addition is growing higher despite the changing of the seasons and our reopening date seems to be rushing towards us faster than we had ever expected.

Regular visitors to our website know that the floors of the new addition are massive concrete pours (see left, click images to make them bigger), thousands of square feet of pristine, smooth concrete just itching to have initials carved in it. Once the foundation walls making up our new storage areas and loading dock areas had set up, the first floor was poured atop a veritable forest of scaffolding and supports diligently holding up the forms (see right). Once the first floor was poured, more concrete walls were formed that will enclose the Museum Learning Center and expanded library. Again, another floor on top of that has been poured, forming the floor for the new office spaces on the upper-most level of the addition.

Meanwhile, a new structure has been built on top of the Elson Art Center that will enclose new building systems for the addition (see left). Work continues inside the Center reconfiguring the classrooms that once overlooked our courtyard. They are now walled in on our addition side with new windows looking out towards George Washington Hall on the opposite side.

Work also continues inside the original museum building. Our new super-chilled color photography collections storage area has been walled in with thick, insulating concrete block (see right). The chases for our new facade and freight elevators are formed. The new bathrooms are coming together in the basement while doorways and windows throughout the museum are being reconfigured to our new design.

As the snow begins to melt, the days get warmer, and the sun stays out longer, we grow ever closer to the day we reopen. Stay tuned to Blog Addison and http://www.addisongallery.org/ for all the latest developments on the project.

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives