Welcome to WAM Updates

WAM Updates are short, informal posts that put the spotlight on small, but exciting, Museum-related projects, such as the addition of a new painting or sculpture to a gallery. They also serve as updates on staff, new services or programs, and other WAM news.

We hope you like reading the Updates! If you are interested in learning about something specific, or have a suggestion for a WAM Update, please update us at wamupdates@worcesterart.org

Monday, April 2, 2018

New Mission Statement Defines WAM’s Purpose


Recently, the Worcester Art Museum adopted a new mission statement:  The Worcester Art Museum connects people, communities, and cultures through the experience of art. 

The first new mission statement for WAM in several decades, this simple sentence represents the heart and soul of what the staff and Board strive to accomplish at the Museum every day.
The process of writing the new mission statement took several months. A dedicated group of staff and trustees dug deeply to answer four basic questions:

-- What does the Worcester Art Museum contribute?


-- Who does it serve?

-- How does it deliver?

-- Why is this important?

During the journey to a new mission statement, we asked more questions; defined beliefs, values, and principles for the Museum; and worked hard to articulate what its role and responsibilities are to the public and its collection.  The process was demanding, but also exhilarating and tremendously rewarding. 
We discovered that the Museum’s wonderful collection is not only a world treasure, but also a catalyst for building community. Everything we do at WAM—from exhibitions and programs to accessibility and outreach—connects individuals, communities, and cultures through the experience of art.  This is so important, because as the universal language, art can be understood and enjoyed by anyoneregardless of background, knowledge, or physical abilities.  Indeed, for some people, such as those with brain injuries, art is their only form of communication.  Art thus functions as a kind of “social glue” that unites human beings with each other.

I am tremendously proud of the Worcester Art Museum’s mission, and I look forward to working with the Board and Museum staff to ensure it remains our focus in all we do.
 
-Lisa Kirby Gibbs, President of the Board of Trustees

Thursday, March 29, 2018

EXTENDED! Jeppson Idea Lab — Master Vases from Ancient Greece

Co-curator Amanda Reiterman and I are delighted to inform our visitors that this multi-media exhibition was extended. Open since the fall of 2016, this show has been used extensively for teaching classics and archaeology by professors of local universities and colleges. Several classes were even designed and scheduled around this exhibition. Come visit and find out about the exciting discoveries that were made during conservation of these vases. Used for storing wine and perfumed oils these vessels were fully disassembled and reassembled from dozens of fragments. Watch a video that takes you into WAM’s conservation lab and, on an interactive iPad, learn about the fascinating story of these exquisite pots made over 2000 years ago. The show will remain open until further notice.

- Paula Artal-Isbrand, Objects Conservator   


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

#5WomenArtists


During the month of March, in honor of Women’s History Month, WAM joins the National Museum of Women in the Arts and hundreds of other museums around the world in the campaign #5WomenArtists to share important contributions by women represented in our collections. Why is this important? Can you name five women artists? Many people can’t. If you can, it probably takes you much longer to think of five female artists than five male artists. #5WomenArtists directly addresses the gender imbalance in the presentation of art in the United States and abroad, assuring great women artists a place of honor now and into the future.

This year, WAM highlights two female painters from our collections, Mary Cassatt and Grace Hartigan; two photographers, Julia Margaret Cameron and Brooke Williams; and one sculptor, Louise Nevelson. From the 19th to the 21st century, each female artist has made a unique contribution to the history of art.  

The Worcester Art Museum has participated in the #5WomenArtists campaign since its inception three years ago. Other female artists represented in WAM collections include Berenice Abbot, Judith Leyster, Joan Mitchell, Rona Pondick, Kate Sage, Doris Salcedo, Joan Snyder, and Marguerite Zorach.

To find out more about this campaign, see Hashtag: #5WomenArtists and the website https://nmwa.org/womens-history-month. (Also include WAM links.)

--Martha Chiarchiaro, Interim Associate Curator of Education & Experience

Image:  Julia Margaret Cameron, Merlin and Vivien, about 1874, albumen print from wet collodion negative, Stoddard Acquisition Fund, 1986.75

Monday, March 19, 2018

Meet Stephanie Cyr, Worcester Art Museum librarian


Stephanie Cyr joined the Worcester Art Museum as Museum Librarian on November 28, 2017.  In this capacity, Stephanie also serves as the Art Museum Librarian for the College of the Holy Cross.
Most recently, Stephanie served as the Associate Curator at the Norman B. Leventhal Map Center at the Boston Public Library, where she planned and executed exhibitions.  Her work focused on varied topics from weather and climate, geology, mining, and current subjects such as hydraulic fracturing, to maps of fantastic and imaginary lands in fiction.  During her career as a librarian, Stephanie has worked in reference and readers advisory and cataloging, and brings over a decade of experience in public, academic and special library settings to the Worcester Art Museum library. Stephanie looks forward to working with all visitors to the Museum, and welcomes neighbors, guests and students of all ages to learn about and utilize the vast resources that the library has to offer. Browse dozens of art magazines, read about current exhibitions, or conduct personal research in the reading room, which is open to the public. 

Stephanie holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from UMass Amherst, and a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston. Her favorite book is Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and her favorite work of art is Thomas Cole’s View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm-The Oxbow (1836). She lives in central Massachusetts with her husband and two young children.
We're delighted that Stephanie has joined WAM! Please stop by the library to meet her when you are next at the Museum.
--Gareth Salway, Director of Museum Services and Chief Registrar

Friday, February 23, 2018

How to Be a Knight: Pietro Monte’s Collectanea

This week marks the appearance of my latest book, Pietro Monte’s Collectanea: The Arms, Armor, and Fighting Techniques of a Fifteenth-Century Soldier. Monte was a renowned Spanish mercenary active in Italy around 1500. He is mentioned multiple times in Baldesar Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier, and Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks include a remark about consulting Monte on the technique of throwing spears.

The Collectanea is a detailed technical treatise on “how to be a knight.” Monte tells us about the sports that kept knights in physical shape (wrestling, running, throwing, jumping), as well as knightly martial arts (combat with swords, staff weapons, on horseback, in and out of armor). In an age when almost nothing was written about the design of arms and armor, Monte offers extensive detail about how these objects should be made. This makes his work hugely important for arms and armor scholars, who mostly have to rely on reverse engineering to explain the objects we study.

Monte wrote his book in Spanish sometime around 1490, then published an expanded Latin translation in 1509. I began translating Monte’s Latin text about a dozen years ago. It’s been a challenging project: Latin isn’t a great language for technical writing, and Monte’s Latin is exceptionally bad, so it can be difficult to figure out what he’s trying to say. But the work and wait are finally over, and I’m thrilled to have made this important work accessible to modern scholars and enthusiasts.

—Jeffrey L. Forgeng, Curator of Arms & Armor and Medieval Art

https://boydellandbrewer.com/pietro-monte-s-i-collectanea-i-hb.html


Monday, January 22, 2018

Flora in Winter Designer’s Quest for the Cup!

Sally Jablonksi, longtime designer for Flora in Winter and, has been selected as one of the top ten designers in the United States to compete in the FTD America’s Cup in Washington DC this year. Ms. Jablonski entered three photos of her arrangement designs from previous years of Flora in Winter. The three works she entered were floral designs for Portrait of a Man with a Gun-Ralph Earl, The Betrayal of Christ, and Christ's Decent into Limbo - Circle of Gillis Mostaert. FTD America’s Cup is a national competition that selects one individual to represent both FTD and the United States in the 2019 FTD-Interflora-Fleurop World Cup Design Competition which is the world’s most prestigious floral design competition. During the course of the competition designers will face time limits, pressure and each other for the right to represent the FTD and the United States. Join us in congratulating and cheering-on Sally as she competes in Washington DC over the 4th of July weekend.

Sally has competed in multiple FTD competitions in the 80’s and 90’s including the 1989 FTD World Competition in Tokyo. Sally has also placed second in the 2012 Connecticut State Floral Design Competition and second in the 2013 Connecticut State Floral Competition Masters. Don’t miss her design this year for The Discovery of Honey by Bacchus, Piero di Cosimo.

To learn more about the FTD competition please visit http://ftdi.com/ftdamericascup/


Monday, January 15, 2018

New Local Artist Rotation Makes its Debut

A John Pagano painting &ndash: Infatuation (A Place to Go)
John Pagano, Infatuation (A Place to Go), 2016,
acrylic polymer on canvas, Collection of the Artist
The Worcester Art Museum is happy to announce the debut of an ongoing art rotation dedicated to artists who live and/or work in the Worcester region. Located in WAM’s “After ‘45” galleries, the rotation seeks to highlight the diversity of artistic talent here in Central Massachusetts. The inaugural display features John Pagano, a well-known local painter whose work is often on display regionally at institutions such as the Fitchburg Art Museum, ArtsWorcester, and most recently in a monographic exhibition dedicated to the artist at Worcester’s contemporary art space, the Sprinkler Factory.

A Worcester native, John Pagano’s paintings characteristically straddle the line between representation and abstraction. Pagano prefers acrylic paint, a medium associated with vibrant colors and crisp edges. Artists often favor acrylics when seeking a more matte, graphic quality to their work. However, Pagano’s use of the hard-edged acrylic paint combined with his expressive style, simultaneously conveys the appearance of fluid and frozen gestures.

Pagano describes Infatuation (A Place to Go) as an aquatic landscape that emerged organically through recurring shapes, colors and markmaking. He specifically notes the “blooming flower-type shape” seen in the three gray forms with sensuous red and pink outgrowths. According to Pagano, these shapes evolve into “a symbol of an infatuation, an attraction, an invention.” This painting is one of two canvases Pagano created in 2016 with the title Infatuation. Both feature the open, blossoming forms.

Pagano’s Infatuation is on view at the Worcester Art Museum until May 6, 2018.

-Nancy Kathryn Burns, Associate Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

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