Friday, February 05, 2010

The art has arrived!

Yesterday, some extremely good luck got sprinkled on this writer, the newbie in marketing. (Maybe it was pixie dust left over from the Wee Faerie exhibit!) I got the chance to hang out with Amanda Burdan, the curator in charge of the new Sewell Sillman exhibition, Pushing Limits, as she unpacked Sillman's works in the exhibition prep area. In the photo above, I caught Amanda carrying one of Sillman's pieces past the long line of metal display racks where the rest of the museum's permanent collection is housed. 
Various pieces of Sillman’s were scattered across a large table: a pile of beautiful, worn sketchbooks; pillows and textiles printed with his signature abstract, wavy lines; a huge piece of limestone with lines carved across the block. I have never been up close and personal with art in this way before. I had the chance to bend over the stone and examine the rough edges of the carving, and saw Sillman’s scribbles and doodles flash past my eyes as Amanda thumbed through the worn pages of his sketchbooks. It was totally magical to be able to move among the pieces of his life’s work, and to see them just as they might have been lying out in his studio. This is an exciting exhibit for the museum, too, being the first devoted exclusively to the work of a contemporary artist. 
As someone who regularly gravitates to the Renaissance and Impressionist galleries in any museum, yesterday evoked a new sense of connection and excitement about modern art. It was heightened by the thrill of getting to play art historian and examine Sillman's work in a much more personal way than my typical experiences as a visitor to formal museum exhibits has allowed. Next week I'll post a few more sneak peeks as the museum gears up for the opening of Pushing Limits on Friday, February 12.

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