Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Farnsworth Art Museum, Center for Maine Contemporary Art

Tracy Pollock visits the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine
On October 6th we took a trip up the Maine coast to visit Rockland, Maine. After a four-hour-long drive through the rain, we arrived at the Farnsworth Art Museum, a museum that focuses on Maine’s role in American art. The museum houses a large collection of work by Andrew Wyeth, Alex Katz, and Louise Nevelson – all artists that have ties to Maine. 

We were particularly interested in viewing a sculpture by Portland-based artist Aaron Stephan that was part of the exhibition Four in Maine: Site Specific. His work, 30 Columns (2010), consists of thirty columns installed outside the museum. The columns are arranged in a snaking line through the lawn and emerge from the ground askew. The white columns, structures laden with historical connotations, are in dialogue with the Federalist buildings that surround them, yet also stand apart since they are not connected to any building, and have no structural function. Stephan often alters everyday items, like chairs and books, in order to create new ways of seeing and understanding these objects.

Our second stop was the Center for Maine Contemporary Art. On view was the exhibition Photographing Maine: Ten Years Later, which includes work by 150 artists, all created since 2000. This broad exhibition demonstrated the wide range of subject matter, techniques, and styles used by Maine photographers to capture elements of their surrounding environment. 

Of course, a trip to Maine is not complete without sampling some of its famous lobster. We stopped in Wiscasset at Red’s Eats and filled up on fried food and lobster rolls. This little shack is famous for bringing the entire town to a halt during the busy summer months when hungry tourists wait for hours to get one of Red’s legendary lobster rolls!

 - Tracy Pollock