As visitors to the 2006 exhibition Extreme Materials may remember, Devorah Sperber’s stunning installations explore the ways we see and perceive our world in the digital age. Using special software, Sperber scanned a photo of Grant Wood’s iconic painting, American Gothic. The resulting heavily-pixilated, inverted image was her blueprint to assemble 4,596 spools of thread. From close up, the viewer sees only fields of color, but upon stepping back and looking through an acrylic sphere (or is it a crystal ball?), the scene magically rights itself. See for yourself, in the exhibition corridor near the Lockhart Gallery.
Pictured: (Above right) Curators installing the work and (above left) the work itself, complete with “crystal ball.”
The most important Renaissance tapestry in the Gallery’s collection went back on view in April 2012 for the first time in nearly two decades. Woven of wool and silk in 16th-century Flanders and measuring 12 by 15 feet, Trellised Garden with Animals shows a colonnaded garden with lush foliage and wildlife (details shown). But until recently, it was only too obvious that the centuries had taken their toll on the work. In 2009, thanks to a major grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Gallery was at last able to send the tapestry to the Textile Conservation Laboratory in New York City. Read the whole story
Above: MAG curatorial staff, assisted by Marlene Eidelheit, director of the Textile Conservation Laboratory, reinstalled the tapestry in the second floor Renaissance Gallery.
With funds generously provided by the Gallery Council, the two second floor galleries devoted to 19th- and early 20th-century European art reopened in November 2011 following a complete makeover. The work included a new floor and paint for the Gold Gallery and—last but not least—a complete reinstallation of the artwork in this space and the adjacent Green Gallery.
In the Gold Gallery, 19th-century treasures such as Monet’s Waterloo Bridge and Cézanne’s View of L’Estaque have been united with early 20th-century works, such as Matisse’s Girl with a Tricorne, which has been off-view for more than year. Other changes include hanging Degas’s pastel Dancers and Daumier’s drawing The Conceited Lawyer, both on view for the first time in many years, in the Green Gallery. The result is what Nancy Norwood, curator of European art, calls a “re-visioning” of the space.
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