Thursday, September 30, 2010

First Day of Classes!

And what a day it was!
The Addison Education Department has expanded by one. Namely, me! Hello, I’m Katherine Ziskin and I just began my stint as Education Fellow for School and Community Collaborations. I will be working primarily with schools and community groups in Andover and Lawrence as well as many other surrounding areas. We now have 50% more staff to accommodate the expanding interest in bringing classes and taking part in all of the opportunities that the new Addison makes possible.

September 16th was a busy day for the Addison Education Department as the first classes to visit the renewed, improved Addison came bounding up the front steps.

Our first class in the new Addison Gallery was the Kindergarten Prep class from The Children’s Place, a Bright Horizons center located on the campus of Phillips Academy. Mrs. O’s and Miss Sarah’s class has been studying circles this month, and as we discussed the architecture of the Addison, we counted all the circles in the rotunda (even noticing the room itself was round!). We also hypothesized about the fountain and the reasons there may be flowers around it.

“Sometimes the flowers need water.”
“So it [the fountain] could look pretty.”

Upstairs we ventured into the Presence gallery to see the painting we had discussed earlier in the month in the classroom, The Drummond Brothers by Benjamin West. We pointed out the differences between the picture of the painting we looked at in class and the one on the Addison’s walls.

“It’s [the one in the Addison] bigger!”
“It has a square around it.”

The students spent time differentiating between ornate (a new vocabulary word!) frames and less decorative ones. And, since the class will be curating their own collection of circle objects we took some time to think about how certain pieces of art were displayed. Some display questions included: “What would be the difference if this pedestal (another new word!) was painted in a dark color?” “What if they put the sculptures on the floor instead of the pedestal?”

We said goodbye to Kindergarten Prep knowing we would see them soon. They’re due back next month to see more of the exhibition, Inside, Outside, Upstaris, Downstairs, and we can’t wait!

Our very first Phillips Academy class also came in on Thursday. Emily Trespas’s ART500/Portfolio class joined us in the afternoon for a brief overview of the renewed Addison and a look inside the Museum Learning Center. We spent some time in the Document gallery discussing what it means to “document” and what a “document” might be. We also hypothesized about some of the paintings, photographs, and sculptures in the Industry and Construction galleries. We tried to define what aspects of composition and artist choice allowed for an art object to convey a certain mood. Why did some of the photographs feel alive and jubilant while others felt desolate and cold?

We made our way into the Museum Learning Center (MLC) where we discussed the possibilities for research in our improved library. But, the highlight of any Museum Learning Center visit these days seems to be watching Tristan Perich’s Machine Drawing draw itself! The drawing has been working on itself for three days now and it can’t be denied that it’s really coming along nicely. Perich, our current Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence (and PA alum) is a visual artist and composer inspired by the aesthetic possibilities of math and science. Using a hand-crafted two-motor machine, Perich programs his creation to draw; in this case on our brand new MLC walls!

All in all it was a rewarding and inspiring day and we look forward to the many groups from both Phillips and all over the area to come, explore, learn, and think in our re-opened galleries!

Posted by:
Katherine Ziskin
Education Fellow for School and Community Collaborations

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Grand Reopening!

The Addison Gallery of American Art is opening its doors once again! As of September 7, 2010, the museum resumes regular public hours, Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and Sunday from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. and, as always, admission to all exhibitions and events is free.

On View: Inside, Outside, Upstairs, Downstairs: the Addison Anew
To celebrate the Addison’s much anticipated reopening, the Addison’s curatorial team has developed a comprehensive exhibition of over three hundred historical and contemporary art objects chosen from the museum’s extraordinary collection. Arranged thematically, these celebrated treasures, old favorites, less familiar works, and newly acquired pieces illustrate the great strengths of the Addison collection while creating engaging dialogues among works across media and time.

Artist Project: Tristan Perich
Soon, our fall 2010 Edward E. Elson Artist-in-Residence Tristan Perich (Phillips Academy class of 2000) will begin work on a multimedia installation to inaugurate the Museum Learning Center, the centerpiece of the Addison’s new Sidney R. Knafel Wing. Inspired by the aesthetics of math and physics, Perich works with simple forms and complex systems to create both his music and art. Best known for acoustic and electronic musical compositions that explore the physicality of sound and the polyphonic potential of 1-bit audio, his works for solo instruments, ensemble, and orchestra have been performed throughout the world. As a visual artist he works primarily with handmade machines to create delicately executed pen-on-paper drawings that explore the limits of traditional drawing through randomness and order. (image: Tristan Perich, Machine Drawing in progress)

To celebrate the Addison's reopening and permanent collection, all are invited to our Open House celebration, on Saturday, September 25, from 3:00-7:00PM. Hope to see you there!

For more information, please visit our newly designed and launched website at

Posted by:
Jamie Kaplowitz
Education Fellow and Museum Learning Specialist