Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our Northern Neighbors: Addison Gallery of American Art + Currier Museum of Art

November 17, 2010

Curator Allison Kemmerer in a rare moment replacing the pen in Tristan Perich’s installation.
 The curatorial department trekked just slightly up north to finally make our pilgrimage to the newly opened Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, MA. The Addison is one of the greatest resources for American Art not only in New England but in the country and, perhaps, the world. So how lucky are we to be just a 30-minute drive to this gem!

We were treated to a tour of their impressive and smartly-designed Sidney R. Knafel Wing by Centerbrook Architects, which houses the Museum Learning Center. Rather than expand their exhibition galleries, the museum thoughtfully added new space to work with school groups (of which they have more than the average museum, being part of Phillips Academy), store their ever-growing collection, and house an art library. 

Sheila Hicks

In the Learning Center artist-in-residence Tristan Perich set up a mesmerizing machine drawing (above), which was a great lead into the museum’s current main attraction: Sheila Hicks: 50 Years, a much-overdue and beautifully installed retrospective of this prescient sculptor. But it’s the Addison’s re-hanging of their stellar permanent collection that is a must-see. Mixing iconic paintings by Winslow Homer with contemporaneous photography and a Jackson Pollock is simply an inspired move.

Our next stop was the Currier Museum of Art in beautiful Manchester, New Hampshire. Below is the eye-popping Sol LeWitt mural in the museum’s new wing. Now on view is a rare behind-the-scenes view of museum practice in the incredibly inventive show The Secret Life of Art: Mysteries of the Museum Revealed. We were thrilled by the dissected shipping crate and, yes, inspired by their blog! Just beyond the special exhibitions gallery, though, is another must-see – the Currier’s newest acquisition of Glenn Ligon’s painting, Invisible Man (Two Views), 1991. Be sure to squint to see Ligon’s own silhouette emerge from Ralph Ellison’s text.
(right) Glenn Ligon, Invisible Man (Two Views), 1991

And then, a bit of art from Nature herself – a double rainbow to lead us back to Boston!

What does it mean?

- Dina Deitsch