Looking Back

Looking Back


What’s in a Name?

In 1957, 101 exhibitors and 2,000 bargain hunters braved the wind and rain of Hurricane Audrey at the Memorial Art Gallery’s first Clothesline Festival. From these inauspicious beginnings, Clothesline has grown into a major community happening.


In the early days, paintings really did hang on clotheslines, but over the years, the show has grown dramatically, spilling over the grounds of MAG and showcasing artists from across New York state.

The early careers of such notables as Wendell Castle, Peter Berg and Kathy Calderwood have all been linked to the Clothesline Festival. And the possibility of finding future luminaries who will go on to command greater fame and higher prices has always been part of the excitement. Clothesline home

1919, 1945 and 1979: Causing a Stir

Recently, an installation by Tom Otterness for Centennial Sculpture Park has evoked a great deal of commentary. But it’s not the first time in MAG’s 100+ year history that an artist has caused a stir. George Bellows (1919), Leon Salter (1945) and Judy Chicago (1979) also made headlines here. Read the whole story

Ten Years Ago at MAG

3 pictures of unpacking the organ in 2005

“A rich, powerful and silvery cascade of complex elegance.” That’s how Hans Davidsson, professor of organ at the Eastman School of Music, described the sound of ESM’s new Italian Baroque instrument.

Discovered in an antique shop in Florence and meticulously restored in Germany, the organ arrived in the US via container ship and in July 2005 arrived at its new home at MAG. Here, an international team of experts unpacked, reassembled, “voiced” and tuned the instrument in time for its triumphant inaugural concert in October. Read the whole story

25 Years Ago at MAG

Fall 1990: MAG staff gathered in the Vanden Brul Pavilion for a group portrait. Nine of those pictured were still on staff at the time of the Gallery’s 100th anniversary on October 8, 2013. (Can you find them?)

See a recent picture of staff, taken at the 2013 rededication.

75 Years Ago at MAG

Women's Council Tea circa 1955February 14, 1940. The Rochester newspapers were filled with the ominous events that would soon lead America into war. Closer to home, the winter’s worst snowstorm snarled traffic and closed schools. Yet for the Memorial Art Gallery, it was a very bright day indeed, as the Gallery’s Women’s Council held its first meeting. Like so much at the Gallery, the Council’s beginnings were inextricably linked with the Herdle family. Read the whole story

Pictured: In 1955, MAG director Gertrude Herdle Moore (second from right) took tea with Council members in the Fountain Court.

105 Years Ago at MAG

Memory being moved to new location 2010William Ordway Partridge’s iconic sculpture Memory (shown being moved in October 2009) now greets visitors to the second floor, as she did in the early days of the Gallery. The 1913 work was commissioned by MAG founder Emily Sibley Watson as a memorial to her son, James G. Averell. More about Memory

Today, Memory is looking better than ever, thanks in large part to cleaning and repairs made possible by long-time supporter Jacquie Adams and her late husband, Jim. More about the Adamses