Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Spring has sprung!

By Chris Rossi, Associate Curator of Exhibitions

Spring in Cooperstown sounds pretty good. Not a bad place to be as the tulips magically appear out on our terrace and the ice lets out on the Lake. It’s past our April 1 opening date and we have already had 80-degree weather followed by flurries today. Such are the vagaries of spring in Central New York.

More constant than the weather is the exhibit schedule here at the Fenimore Art Museum. Yes, our exhibits Empire Waists, Bustles and Lace: A Century of New York Fashion and In Our Time: The World As Seen By Magnum Photographers are up. But, we’re not ready to kick back with an ice tea on the terrace just yet. Our John Singer Sargent: Portraits in Praise of Women exhibition makes its debut on May 29 and there is work to be done.

I have been sizing vinyl titles for the hallway just outside the Scriven Gallery where the exhibition will be installed and designing graphics - that's the on-screen mockup, above. Our Preparator, Stephen Loughman, spent quite some time creating full-size paper mock-ups of the portraits to help us lay out the gallery - that's the gallery, below. Not what you would call hi-tech, but sometimes the old-fashioned way works pretty well. Seeing the paper at the actual size helps you imagine how the paintings will fill the gallery. And it’s much easier to move a piece of paper than re-hang a large and valuable painting!

From here it’s just a matter of hanging all those fabulous portraits, tweaking the lighting and installing the graphics. With a little bit of luck it will have stopped snowing in time for the May 29th opening!

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