British sculptor Tim Scott (seated on left) with Everson Museum director Steven Kern, on Saturday, January 30, the afternoon following the exhibition's opening reception. Tim Scott gave a gallery walk-through and then a Q&A with visitors gathered in the upstairs east gallery. Behind them is Scott's "Bird in Arras V" (1969), painted steel tubes and acrylic sheets. Collection of Lewis P. Cabot. Photo (c) Darryl Hughto, used with permission. To see a photo gallery with more work by Scott, go back to the main page and click on the blue "Photos" button in the center bar.
Sometimes you don't know what possessed you. Some rules you learn so early and they are so incessantly repeated that you forget there was a time you didn't know you're not supposed to touch the art, and you actually can't remember the last time you did. Museums and galleries remind us -- with glass cases, velvet ropes, white cotton gloves for handling photos and archives, lighting that illuminates and also sets apart, and the occasional idiosyncratic object lesson. North of Syracuse, near the Canadian border, the Frederic Remington Museum in Watertown displays a cast bronze head along with a stern sign inviting you to touch this one and notice what the accumulated oil of innumerable finger tips does to the metal's patina. The Everson Museum has chosen white tabs on the floor, dotted around the six monumental Tim Scott sculptures now on view there. Though discreet, they faintly evoke the chalk line drawn around the fallen victim at a crime scene.
On my third visit to this exhibition, at a midday lull when the museum was nearly empty of visitors, I was standing next to the most extended slender prong of "Wine" (1969), the first Scott you encounter in the north gallery at the top of the stairs, and -- E.T.-like, Sistine-like -- I touched the end with one index finger. Immediately the guard at the gallery door took one step forward and I, one back. A nearly imperceptible tremor ran through the entire piece. "Wine" is not even my favorite piece in this show, nor is it the most delicate. In the midst of the museum's main traffic flow in the first floor court, Scott's "Bird in Arras VII" (1969) -- ten feet wide and eight feet high, ten thin orange and yellow acrylic sheets bolted to painted metal tubing -- poises entirely on just four points.