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Friday, May 6, 2016

The Hood Museum, Closed for Renovations, Loans Works to Fleming

Posted By on Fri, May 6, 2016 at 6:31 PM

"Supper" by Alex Katz, gallery view - COURTESY OF FLEMING MUSEUM OF ART
  • Courtesy of Fleming Museum of Art
  • "Supper" by Alex Katz, gallery view
Vermonters dismayed by the Hood Museum's long-term closure will be happy to know there's an upside to the situation — and not just a bigger, shinier Hood when it reopens in 2019.  Three contemporary American paintings from the Dartmouth College institution's permanent collection have been relocated and are now on view at the University of Vermont's Fleming Museum of Art in Burlington. 

The Hood has shut its doors through 2018 in order to add, according to its website, "three object-study rooms, a sweeping public reception space, and a number of stunning new galleries." The  museum is also renovating its current gallery spaces. Much of the collection has been relocated to nearby storage, but 50-odd artworks have been temporarily adopted by other institutions for the mutual benefit of the Hood and museum-goers around New England. 

The works on loan at the Fleming are Ivan Albright's "The
"The Vermonter (If Life Were Life There Would Be No Death)" by Ivan Albright - COURTESY OF HOOD MUSEUM OF ART
  • Courtesy of Hood Museum of Art
  • "The Vermonter (If Life Were Life There Would Be No Death)" by Ivan Albright
 Vermonter (If Life Were Life There Would Be No Death)," Alex Katz's "Supper" and  Georgia O'Keeffe's "Taos Mountain, New Mexico." 

"These were so perfect for us, on a number of levels," said Fleming Museum executive director Janie Cohen in a telephone conversation. "They fit so beautifully into the collection the way they’re currently hung." 

"The Ivan Albright was selected because of the subject," Cohen explained. Albright (1897-1983) spent the majority of his life in Chicago, but moved to Woodstock, Vt., in 1965. He painted his oil "The Vermonter"  between 1966 and 1977. The portrait depicts his neighbor, Kenneth Harper Atwood, who, as it turns out, was a UVM alumnus.

This was the first work Albright began in his new home.  Because of its subject, it currently hangs in the Fleming's New England Gallery. Cohen noted that "Albright's style was influenced by European painting and his work as a medical draftsman in WWI." So, his style is "so not New England," she said. 

In 1997, the Art Institute of Chicago hosted a retrospective of the painter's magical-realist works. Albright was also the father-in-law of former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright. 

"Supper" by Alex Katz - COURTESY OF HOOD MUSEUM OF ART
  • Courtesy of Hood Museum of Art
  • "Supper" by Alex Katz
"Supper" by Katz (1927-) is a 1974 acrylic point-of-view painting that uses crisp lines and simple light to show an ordinary scene of friends and family congregated at the dinner table. The figure on the right is Katz's wife, Ada. At approximately five by eight feet, the work is the largest work in the Fleming's European and American Gallery, noted Cohen. 

The oil landscape by O'Keeffe (1887-1986), also placed in the European and American Gallery, was painted in 1930, during the early years of the artist's love affair with the American Southwest. "Taos Mountain, New Mexico" is an example of the simplified forms and juicy palette for which O'Keeffe would become famous. 
"Taos Mountain, New Mexico" by Georgia O'Keeffe - COURTESY OF HOOD MUSEUM OF ART
  • Courtesy of Hood Museum of Art
  • "Taos Mountain, New Mexico" by Georgia O'Keeffe
 The Fleming is not the only museum to benefit from the Hood's need-induced lending. A fragment of an Egyptian sarcophagus is at the Middlebury College Museum of Art. Regionally, other institutions that have received works include the Currier Museum of Art, the Williams College Museum of Art and the Yale University Art Gallery

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Monday, April 4, 2016

Talking Science With Montshire Museum's Marcos Stafne

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 8:35 AM

Marcos Stafne engaging in hands-on science with young patron - MONTSHIRE MUSEUM OF SCIENCE
  • Montshire Museum of Science
  • Marcos Stafne engaging in hands-on science with young patron

This month marks Marcos Stafne’s first anniversary as director of Norwich’s Montshire Museum of Science. Since relocating to White River Junction from New York City, where he was vice president of programs and visitor experience at the venerable Brooklyn Children’s Museum, Stafne, 38, has put down Upper Valley roots.

In Vermont, he's already become known for his outgoing engagement with the community. Stafne's lively online essays, collectively titled “Marcos at the Montshire,” reveal him as an inquisitive polymath who loves to guide people along the path of science education.

A glance at Stafne’s résumé — which includes a four-year stint at Manhattan’s Rubin Museum of Art and an extensive background in theater — does not immediately suggest a passion for science. Yet the “throughline” of his extensive museum career is an idea that Stafne proposes in one of his essays: “Science is an ADVENTURE.”

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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Burlington's Fletcher Free Library Scores Smithsonian Exhibit

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 3:33 PM

Handaxes from (L to R) Africa (1.6 million years old), Asia (1.1 million years old) and Europe (250,000 years old) - CHIP CLARK, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION
  • Chip Clark, Smithsonian Institution
  • Handaxes from (L to R) Africa (1.6 million years old), Asia (1.1 million years old) and Europe (250,000 years old)
They might not have called ahead about it, but you should know that your relatives are coming to town. So are mine, and your neighbor’s, and those of your bank teller and barista. You can meet them all in downtown Burlington.

The Fletcher Free Library has just been selected as one of just 19 sites to host “Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean to Be Human?,” a traveling exhibit based on a permanent feature at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The exhibit — which features hands-on displays, videos and interactive kiosks — is cosponsored by the American Library Association, and will be at the Fletcher from February 18 through March 17, 2017. Talk about planning ahead.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Hordes of Ants Invade the Montshire Museum

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 4:52 PM

If this ant were human-size, this would have been the photographer's final shot. - MARK W. MOFFETT | COURTESY OF SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION TRAVELING EXHIBITION SERVICE
  • Mark W. Moffett | Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service
  • If this ant were human-size, this would have been the photographer's final shot.
We may not give much thought to the millions upon millions of ants that occupy nearly every ecosystem on Earth — but perhaps we should. After all, ants and human beings are a lot alike. Both are social species with complex kinship systems, they’re the only two species known to practice agriculture, and the only ones to wage full-bore war on creatures of the same species. In many ways, the study of ants is akin to anthropology.

The fundamental similarity of ants and Homo sapiens is one of the chief lessons of the Montshire Museum of Science’s
new exhibit “Farmers Warriors Builders: The Hidden Life of Ants,” which opens at the Norwich museum on Saturday, January 24. The exhibit, curated by the Smithsonian Institution, puts front and center 39 enormous, extraordinary photographs of ants taken by renowned explorer, scientist and author Mark W. Moffett. His macro-lens shots of these tiny, fascinating creatures are works of art as much as scientific studies.

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