Jan 21, 2010 Herm Card Uncategorized
While that sounds like a baseball keystone combo, it is actually the keystone to the Everson’s 2010 season. The record-setting Turner to Cezanne exhibition turned the corner of the new year and leads to the Tim Scott exhibition that opens the museum’s exciting 2010 season on Jan. 30
When the information regarding the possibility of hosting the Turner to Cezanne traveling exhibition first landed on Steven Kern’s desk, his desk was in the San Diego Museum of Art where he served as curator of European art for nine years. Three years later his desk was in Syracuse, and as director of the Everson Museum, he was able to host the exhibition.
The process had begun before Kern’s arrival. Sarah Massett, Everson’s Public Relations Director, said, “The process for being selected starts with ‘tossing your hat into the ring’ so to speak. The organizers of the show, American Federation of Arts, distributed information on the show to museums. We were interested in being selected, and immediately began a series of steps to show them we were capable of hosting the exhibition.”
The tour itself is focused on smaller market cities, relying on the quality of the museums to attract the crowds. The Everson certainly did so, bringing in more than 60,000 visitors (including 9,000 students) over the three month run, surpassing the 38-year-old–record set by Yoko Ono’s exhibit in 1971.
“People in Syracuse should not have to go to Boston or New York or Toronto to see great art,” Kern said. “There are already great things on view here — this is a smart town — and this show is big.”
The 53 paintings in the exhibition are part of the 260 painting collection acquired by sisters Margaret and Gwendoline Davies, and donated to the National Museum Wales where it is housed. The works, primarily impressionist, were selected by the tour sponsor, the American Federation of Arts. According to Kern, it was a real coup for the Everson to be part of the tour, officially titled Turner to C (c)zanne: Masterpieces from the Davies Collection, National Museum Wales.
Artwork on the move
While details of the shipping and security involved with transporting the artwork is not public information, Kerns was clear that the paintings are well taken care of. “They are transported in climate controlled vehicles that maintain the same temperature and humidity that is required in the museums as well — 70 degree temperature with, 50 percent humidity. The packing, unpacking and transport are all supervised by officials from the American Federation of Arts and National Museum Wales.”
The exhibition came to Syracuse from Oklahoma City and moved on to Washington DC (the only large market on the tour) immediately following its closing here. The economic impact in the area was probably significant, but again, not the point of bringing it to town.
“The Chamber of Commerce and other groups have formulas to figure those things out. It’s not something we can measure here beyond knowing how many patrons came to see the exhibit,” Kern said. And there were lots of them, which made for long lines toward the end of the run, and in very cold weather.
The Everson staff met the challenge, creating a maze of velvet ropes within the main lobby, allowing the crowds to be warm during their wait, and even on heavy days (2271 attended on Jan. 2) the waiting times were not exceptionally long and the traffic flowed smoothly through the galleries. The Everson even joined the big box retailers this year with Black Friday lines.
For those who measure art in terms of its value, Kerns said that he really had no idea what the collection would be worth in terms of dollars. “Anyone who wants to know can probably find out more than I know by going on line. The collection is a tribute to the taste, patronage and philanthropy of the Davies sisters,” he said.
This next season — starts with Tim Scott
Shortly after the closing of Turner to Cezanne, came the announcement of the 2010 season, which will begin with Tim Scott–The Sixties: When Colour was Sculpture running from Jan. 30 through April 11. The Scott exhibition will feature monumental steel sculptures of the British artist, along with recent ceramic sculptures from his House of Clay series. His large-scale sculptures made of painted steel and acrylic sheeting were created in the late 1960s, a period that celebrated color as both form and subject.
Speaking of the new season, Kern said, “We are thrilled to be offering such a wide range of artistic styles, eras and materials this year. We are going to excite the community with everything from color field sculpture, works on paper, local artists, furniture design and more. 2010 is going to be a great year to visit and get involved with the Everson.”
A highlight of the 2010 series will be the presentation of the Everson Biennial, with a new format. The Edge of Art: New York State Artist Series will be transforming the Biennial into four separate exhibitions featuring regional artists. Additionally, this summer the whimsical prints of Maxfield Parrish will fill the second level galleries in an exhibition titled Fantasies and Fairy-Tales: Maxfield Parrish and the Art of the Print.