Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Quick Change Artists

By: Chris Rossi, Associate Curator of Exhibitions

Although Fenimore Art Museum is closed to the public until April 1, the galleries are in flux right now. As with the snow-covered landscape outside, it would be easy for those in the outside world to think that we are mimicking the local wildlife and are snug in our burrows waiting for the spring thaw. But there is life under the snow and there is plenty of life in our seemingly dormant museum. We are doing our big seasonal swap, which translates into taking down last year’s exhibits, bidding a fond farewell to paintings and objects that came on loan to us, and launching new exhibits for the 2011 season.

Truth be told, doing this strenuous work while we are closed is a logistical pleasure. Right now there is a lot of open gallery space to work with and no worries about making sure the public has room to navigate safely through our mess. Once we open on April 1, it becomes more of a challenge. Keeping that in mind we try to design galleries that are “change friendly.” One of this year’s big quick-change areas will be our Great Hall. We start the season with The Spirit of Land and Tradition, which is comprised of objects from our Eugene and Clare Thaw Collection of American Indian Art. Later in the spring we switch to Prendergast to Pollock: American Modernism from the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute* (opens May 28), and then back to the The Spirit of Land and Tradition in the fall (opens October 1), all while open to the public.

One way will we manage the changes is by using color and design elements in the gallery to imply change without involving dramatic physical change. The perimeter walls will stay the same color for the entire year. Freestanding walls will be added for Prendergast to Pollock in different colors to transform the space. The aim is to make the transitions go as smoothly as possible and keep the maximum amount of gallery space open and accessible to our visitors.

Design view of Great Hall for The Spirit of Land and Tradition

Design view of Great Hall for Prendergast to Pollock

*This traveling exhibition was organized by the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art, Utica, New York. The national tour sponsor for the exhibition is the MetLife Foundation. The Henry Luce Foundation provided funding for the conservation of artworks in the exhibition.

No comments:

Blog Widget by LinkWithin