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

Thursday, July 28, 2016

What's your feedback?

The next time you visit the Museum, we hope you will notice a new feature in the Higgins Education Wing. The Feedback Wall is exactly what it sounds like. We've added this interactive space as a way to continually solicit feedback on current and upcoming projects and exhibitions, programs and museum materials. This space is different from the iPad surveys in our museum galleries because we will be asking you for your feedback on specific exhibitions, programs, tours and more. Additionally, you will be able to see what others have written about their experiences and respond.

This feedback will be used to help us continually learn about the work that is happening at the museum.

 Right now, the Feedback Wall is asking the following questions about the #Meow project:
• Why does Meow matter to you?
• What conversations grew out of your visit to Meow?
• Tell us about your cat.

If you would prefer to email your responses to these questions (or any other thoughts about Meow), please email us at meow@worcesterart.org. Additionally, you can always give us your general thoughts about the institution through our online survey. If you haven't already done so, we'd appreciate you taking the time to leave your responses.

- Adam Rozan, Director of Audience Engagement

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Study of a Female Figure

The Worcester Art Museum’s ink drawing, Study of a Female Figure (1992.55), shown above-left, was offered to the Worcester Art Museum in 1992 as a gift by David Richardson. Originally attributed to Giovanni Battista Castello (Il Bergamasco), the drawing in fact appears to be by Luca Cambiaso (Moneglia 1527 – 1585 Spain). Exemplifying Cambiaso’s distinct style, the work includes his signature use of curvilinear lines accented with wash, heavy ink application, mannerist poses, and abstraction of form. Further research indicates that the drawing served as study for a female figure in the central ceiling fresco at the Palazzo della Meridiana in Genoa (image above-right). Cambiaso’s study for the Return of Ulysses—the central fresco in the Reception Room—would be contemporary with the present study, accurately dating the drawing to circa 1560-1565.

In the mid-16th century, Admiral and Statesman Andrea Doria stabilized Genoa under his political leadership, allowing it to emerge as a major artistic center in Italy. Early transplants—including painters Perino del Vaga, Domenico Beccaufumi, and Giovanni Antonio de Pordenone—particularly influenced artists of the emerging Genoese school, of which Luca Cambiaso became the first great artist. He was a draughtsman and painter born in Moneglia, then part of the Republic of Genoa and the son of a painter and teacher, Giovanni Cambiaso. Considered the father of the Genoese school, Luca Cambiaso’s bold, unique style significantly influenced those in his circle. Cambiaso adopted the evident mannerist style of Perino del Vaga and combined it with the bold and dramatic line work of Pordenone.

The present drawing has been discussed with a number of scholars in the field, including foremost Cambiaso expert and director at the National Gallery, Jonathan Bober, and Old Master Italian drawing specialist Linda Wolk-Simon, formerly of the Morgan Library, who have both kindly confirmed the re-attribution to Cambiaso. This re-attribution to Cambiaso is significant as he is considered the founding artist of the Genoese school, which has gained increasing collector and academic interest over the last decade. Additionally, this study is a relatively rare instance of a true preparatory sketch for a single figure amidst countless drawings by the master himself and workshop pieces that served as autonomous works. As such, this piece is a real highlight of the museum’s collection.

- Oliver Joseph, MD, Curatorial Volunteer Researcher, Old Master Drawings

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pokémon GO to Worcester Art Museum!

Unless you were living under a rock (and maybe even then, too), you have heard of an incredibly popular phenomenon sweeping the gaming world this week, called Pokémon GO.

If this all seems a little confusing, a week ago I was in the same boat; luckily, it doesn’t take long to get caught up to understand and play this popular and fun game. Pokémon GO is an AR gaming interface for your phone, which means “augmented reality.” The idea is to get gamers off of the couch and send them out into real world locations to find and catch virtual Pokémon, which can be found at actual historical or landmark sites all across the globe. Moving throughout the map contained in the game, you find locations of Pokémon via the camera on your phone. Pokéstops, virtual outposts for Pokémon GO players, are found all over the place… even right here at the Worcester Art Museum. These stops help players to gain Poké Balls and other materials needed to play the game. We’re pleased as can be that the Worcester Art Museum has not only one, but TWO Pokéstops in the facility. Additionally, it is a huge benefit for Pokémon GO players that we have free Wi-Fi throughout the entire WAM building. Since the app requires either streaming data or Wi-Fi for the map aspect to function, this takes a load off of a potential surprise data suck... and cell phone bill. Here’s an insider tip, too: admission to the Worcester Art Museum will be FREE during the entire month of August, so it will be a great time to not only check out our extensive, beautiful galleries, but to capture some new Pokémon as well. Also happening in August, it was announced that players will be able to purchase a Bluetooth device (Pokémon GO Plus) that will alert them when a Pokémon is nearby, so they can quickly pull out their phones and catch it. Until then, remember that admission for WAM members and institutional members is free, so it is a good time as ever to join or use your membership.

Tips for a successful Pokémon GO visit to WAM:
• Be careful seeking Pokémon in Museum galleries. From the Pokémon GO website: “If you see a Pokémon someplace where it might not be safe to capture it (like in a construction site or on private property that you can't get to from the street), don't do it. There will always be another chance to catch that Pokémon later on!” This applies around our delicate works of art as well!
• Walking while staring at my phone is something I found myself doing while playing the game, which also can be dangerous around WAM’s works of art, staircases, and other museum guests. Be vigilant of your surroundings at all times while walking.

Pokémon Go is a free app downloadable for your Apple or Android device. If you’re sharing images of your Pokémon sightings on social media, be sure to tag your Worcester Art Museum Pokémon with #WorcesterArtMuseum!

- Katrina Stacy, Associate Curator of Education

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