March Director’s Message
The past week has been filled with transitions in our galleries, from our final week of MATRIX 183 / Kahlil Joseph / BLKNWS to the opening of Savor: A Revolution in Food Culture. The new show is a testament to the power of collaboration, in this case between two longtime colleagues—the Wadsworth’s Linda Roth and Meredith Chilton, her recently-retired counterpart from the Gardiner Museum, a global ceramics museum in Toronto. Together we inaugurated the show, put the final touches on the installation, and launched the interpretive plan. A big thank you to the many who came for Member Preview Day and over the weekend. We appreciate the feedback you’ve shared, particularly how beautiful you have found the rare and exceptional objects and their way of telling the story of how food culture changed in Europe in the century leading up to the French Revolution. How many of our seemingly modern foodways were cultivated centuries ago! Contemporary works and interactive opportunities throughout the show make the experience fun. Justin Whitehouse, second-generation farm manager from Auerfarm in Bloomfield, with assistance from Farmington Valley Transition Academy volunteers, potted up aromatic herbs to be grown in the Avery Court fountain. Period recipe cards are yours to take home, but here’s the deal—we want you to prepare and share these dishes on Instagram or other social platforms of your choosing.
Take part in one of the Savor programs this month for a fresh perspective: theEncounters discussion group talks food cultivation on March 14th, and, if you’re in the neighborhood for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, stop in for Second Saturdays for Families; exhibition curator Meredith Chilton shares entertaining stories during a gallery talk on March 19th; and on March 25th a panel discussion investigates the evolution of the dining room over time.
This month, another transformation takes place at the Main Street entrance where works on paper by Sol LeWitt will be shown alongside Aboriginal paintings. During the last decade of his life LeWitt turned away from the wall drawings that had defined his career—like the one on the surrounding walls in Gray Court—and began creating gouache drawings. After seeing an exhibition by the indigenous Australian artist Emily Kame Kngwarreye in 1998, LeWitt would go on to collect paintings, batik, and drawings by Aboriginal artists including Kngwarreye and Gloria Tamerre Petyarre. A strong affinity between the late works of LeWitt and these examples of Aboriginal art (all from the Wadsworth’s collection) particularly in their use of line, is the subject of this upcoming installation.
Don’t forget, Amherst College Professor of Art, Sonya Clark, back in New England following her semester at Black Rock Senegal—the residency program developed by artist Kehinde Wiley—will be here to give The Emily Hall Tremaine Lecture in Contemporary Art this Sunday, March 8th.
The Annual Connecticut Spring Antiques Show is coming up on March 21st & 22nd at the Hartford Armory, this year incorporating programs on the theme of preservation and restoration. The Wadsworth has had a regular presence at the event over the years, showcasing works from our American collection and sparking discussions surrounding our current projects. As we continue to prioritize our collection of silver numbering over 1,200 objects and work toward creating a home for silver within our galleries, we look forward to sharing the Wadsworth’s silver story this year. Stop in at 2pm on Saturday the 21st to see a demonstration by curator Brandy Culp and objects conservator Casey Mallinckrodt on the care of silver, or anytime throughout the weekend to say hello.
Thomas J. Loughman
Director & CEO