Monday, December 12, 2011

Getting Ready for January

January is going to be a busy month here at the Addison. Not only are we closing five shows and opening three new shows here, but we’re closing and opening two other shows on the road. To prepare for this flurry of art movement, I’ve been spending the last few weeks working with shippers and contacting art lenders to arrange for their objects to be picked up or returned to them.

The shows closing at the Addison are fairly straight-forward. Christopher Cook’s artwork will be returned to him, and Lorna Bieber’s work will be returned to her. The other shows closing are culled from our permanent collection and the artwork will be returned to our storage areas.

Alexi Worth (b. 1964)
Desktop, 2011
acrylic on nylon mesh
27 x 36 in. (68.6 x 91.4 cm)
Courtesy DC Moore Gallery
The three shows opening at the Addison are another story. Open Windows and Land, Sea, Sky are made up of artwork lent by multiple lenders. This is not a matter of asking each lender to “send” their objects to us by a certain date. The Addison contracts with specialized art shippers to pick up the objects at each individual lender, pack them, if necessary, and bring them here to the Addison. In some cases, the shipper can gather the objects at their warehouse before trucking them here. Sometimes the objects need to come directly here from the lender. Some things can be wrapped in bubble wrap and cardboard, some require crates. It depends on the lender’s wishes and the needs of each object. And, of course, each lender is available only at certain times for their pick up so trying to schedule multiple pick ups using the same truck can be maddening. The John Marin show is also made up of different lenders, but our co-organizer, the Portland Museum of Art, is thankfully handling the logistics of shipping that exhibition to us.

These shows are easy to gather compared to our American Vanguards show which opens at the Neuberger Museum of Art late in the month. This exhibition has artwork from no less than forty-one different lenders scattered across the country. American Vanguards opens January 29th, the same day our Sheila Hicks show closes at the Mint Museum of Craft and Design, where the artwork will be dispersed back to its twenty-five lenders, also widely dispersed.

Doing the math, I realized I’ve had to schedule over ninety different pickups and drops off with our art shippers for January and early February. That’s a lot of e-mails and phone calls that result in a lot of truck mileage! But the results are worth it when a visitor comes to see an exhibition of a group of objects that have never been together before. We encourage you to come see what we've gathered here next month!

Posted by:

James M. Sousa
Associate Registrar for Collections and Archives

Monday, November 14, 2011

Gallery Conversation, Nov 15 - The Civil War: Unfolding Dialogues, with Christopher L. Jones

A discussion of current Addison exhibition "In The Civil War: Unfolding Dialogues", with Christopher L. Jones, Phillips Academy Instructor in History and Social Science, and Jaime DeSimone, Addison Assistant Curator. The Gallery Conversation, free and open to the public, begins in the Museum Learning Center at 6:30pm on Tuesday, November 15. For more information please call Jaime DeSimone at (978) 749-4038, or email

Below: Winslow Homer, The Army of the Potomac - A Sharp-Shooter on Picket Duty, 1862, wood engraving on wove paper, purchased as the gift of Warren P. Snyder (PA 1936)

Between 1861 and 1865, Americans engaged in wrenching warfare, pitted against each other on their own soil. This lengthy conflict shaped the country that we are today. Now one hundred and fifty years later, The Civil War: Unfolding Dialogues offers a new perspective on this divisive event. Featuring historical and contemporary paintings, prints, photographs, and video drawn from the Addison's collection, this exhibition explores different points of view regarding this ongoing and evolving narrative. From Alexander Gardner’s and Winslow Homer’s eyewitness accounts to works by living artists such as Glenn Ligon and Kara Walker, The Civil War: Unfolding Dialogues reexamines the realities and fictions of this war, its haunting memories, and its lasting effect on American culture. 

Below: Kara Walker, "National Archives Microfilm Publication M999 Roll 34: Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands: Six Miles from Springfield on the Franklin Road," 2009, video, purchased as the gift of Stephen C. Sherrill (PA 1971)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Addison Education Program Back in Full Swing

The Addison education department has hit the ground running this fall! Almost as soon as the museum opened, classes from Phillips Academy, Andover, and Lawrence have been zipping in and out, visiting all six of the fall exhibitions

The entire eighth grade class from the Wetherbee School in Lawrence, MA made their first of two visits, focusing on museum practice. Teachers Lisa Stott, Liz McCleary, and Mike Walsh are leading their students on a collections project journey inspired by Keri Smith’s How to Be An Explorer of the World. Their Addison visit was part of their investigation into how and why collections happen, and what they can tell us about a people, community, or group. 

Students explored the current exhibitions with Addison educators Julie Bernson, Jamie Kaplowitz, and Katherine Ziskin considering the collecting and display practices of the museum. After focusing on the strategies behind selecting and sequencing, the Wetherbee eighth graders wrote their own wall text for objects in the exhibitions, often working to tell alternative stories to those told by the curators. Wetherbee students will be visiting again for a curating workshop in the Addison’s Museum Learning Center before they begin to design and install an exhibition from their collections in the Wetherbee School’s Media Center.

The Addison Education Department is collaborating on another project inspired by the museum’s collections and exhibitions and by Keri Smith’s book! Andover’s High Plain Elementary art teacher Bette Jean Krieger and Katherine Ziskin, Addison Education Fellow, have embarked on a project with the entire High Plain fourth grade. The first leg of the project took place in October with a true “field trip” to the A.V.I.S. trail behind the school. Connecting with the fourth grade curriculum on regions of the United States including climate, geography, and natural resources, Ms. Krieger and Ms. Ziskin created a project based on exploring the “field” of the student’s own backyard. Students hiked the A.V.I.S. trail, collecting materials, photographing observations, mapping the terrain, and writing about the landscape that they encountered. 

Next, High Plain fourth graders will visit the Addison’s current exhibitions to investigate how artists across time have represented the land as the students prepare to create an exhibition about the Andover landscape using their interpretations of their field notes and photographs.
As the students are pouring in, so, too, are teachers who are attending t the Fall Teacher Workshop, How do Images inform Memory?, on November 16, 4:00pm-6:30pm. To request the Fall Teacher Guide or more information on the Addison’s education programs, please contact Kait Ziskin.

- Katherine Ziskin, Education Fellow for School & Community Collaborations