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, September 22, 2016

Philip A. Klausmeyer, April 11, 1963 – August 25, 2016

It is with great sadness that we report on the untimely death of Worcester Art Museum Conservator and Scientist Dr. Philip A. Klausmeyer. Philip was a cherished family member, esteemed colleague, and friend. He passed away on Thursday, August 25, 2016 at the age of 53, surrounded by his loving family, after a 14 month battle with pancreatic cancer.

Philip worked at the Worcester Art Museum as both a paintings conservator and scientist while also serving as Associate Editor for Studies in Conservation, the international peer-reviewed journal for the conservation of historic and artistic works. Philip also held a research appointment at WPI (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) where he brought museum conservators together with university scientists and students to explore the application of innovative technologies to conservation research. At WPI, Philip was exposed to cutting edge technologies, and it was here that he discovered the potential for laser shearography to assess the impact of environmental conditions on artworks.

In 1998, Philip received an M.S. in painting conservation from the Winterthur/ University of Delaware Program in Conservation. He completed two summer internships at the Museum of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and fulfilled his third year internship requirement at the Worcester Art Museum (WAM). Over the next five years, he honed his conservation skills while holding several advanced fellowships at WAM, including two Samuel H. Kress awards. During this period, he also worked part time for two years as an assistant conservator at the Harvard University Art Museums, where he made significant contributions to the conservation treatment of John Singer Sargent’s Triumph of Religion murals at the Boston Public Library.

Monday, September 19, 2016

A Passion for Wood

Recently Paula Artal-Isbrand, WAM’s Objects Conservator, and I welcomed to the museum two leading wood researchers, Dr. Itoh Takao (Kyoto) and Dr. Mechtild Mertz (Paris). They are conducting a comprehensive research project to identify the type of woods used for as many Chinese religious wooden sculptures as they can test. They have already tested some sculptures in Chinese and European collections as well as the ones at the Met in New York. This time on their trip to the U.S. they came to test the ones at the MFA, Harvard, Isabella Stewart Gardner, RISD, Cleveland, Princeton, Yale, and Brooklyn as well as ours at Worcester. A very intense and focused research project! We look forward to learning more about our Chinese wooden sculptures from Dr. Itoh and Dr. Mertz and were honored that WAM was able to contribute to their important study.

See more Chinese Art in our Collection Highlights

-Vivian Li, Assistant Curator of Asian Art

Image 1: Dr. Itoh and Abby Hykin, Objects Conservator at the MFA accompanying him, studying our Head of Guanyin, Yuan Dynasty, 1260–1368, wood, polychrome and gold leaf, Museum Purchase, 1932.15

Image 2: Paula (left) observing Dr. Itoh and Dr. Mertz working on our Standing Bodhisattva, Chinese, Song Dynasty, 1100–1200, carved wood, polychromed, Museum Purchase, 1954.165

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Recently opened: 'Facing the World: Modernization and Splendor in Meiji Japan'

Just last week we installed a new exciting show in the Arts of Japan gallery, Facing the World: Modernization and Splendor in Meiji Japan. During the Meiji (“enlightened rule”) period (1868 -1912) when power was restored back to the emperor from the samurai class, Japan underwent rapid modernization that established a thriving industrial sector and a powerful national army and navy. Besides dramatic domestic reforms, modernization during the Meiji period also involved presenting the nation on the international stage through the beauty of its arts. With the decline of the samurai class and its strong patronage, many artisans also increasingly turned to creating works for the growing export market. Facing the World features magnificent lacquerware that represented Japan at international expositions in Paris and San Francisco as well as prints reflecting Japan's accelerated growth at home and abroad. The show will be on view until April 16.

See more images and read more about Facing the World

- Vivian Li, Assistant Curator, Asian Art

Above: Cabinet, about 1900, lacquered wood, designed by Kishi Kokei (Japanese, 1840-1922), lacquer decoration by Kawanobe Itcho (Japanese, 1830-1910), Kawanobe Heiemon (1852-1926) and Funabashi Iwajiro (1859-after 1914), Private Collection, E.70.16.3

Accessory Box, 1912-1926, lacquered wood, Japan, Private Collection, E.70.16.1

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Ask a Curator Day!

Have you ever wondered how exhibitions at the Worcester Art Museum are put together?
Are you curious about the day-to-day life of a curator?
Want to know more about an object in WAM’s collection?

Find out directly from WAM curators themselves on Ask a Curator Day! You ask, we answer. To participate, tweet your questions to @WorcesterArt TODAY, September 14, from 11am-4pm EST with the hashtag #AskACurator.

We will be gathering your questions throughout the day and members of the curatorial team will answer during WAM Curator Hour from 4-5pm. Standing by to answer your questions are…

Jon L. Seydl, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Curator of European Art
Tweet sign-off: jls
Expertise: Medieval to 20th century European art; Ancient Greek and Roman art.

Elizabeth Athens, Assistant Curator of American Art
Tweet sign-off: ea
Expertise: 18th- and 19th-century American Art.

Justin M. Brown, Curatorial Assistant in American Art
Tweet sign-off: jmb
Expertise: Pre-20th century American painting; race and American visual culture.

Nancy Burns, Assistant Curator of Prints, Drawings, and Photographs
Tweet sign-off: nkb
Expertise: Prints and drawings after 1850; the history of photography.

Jeffrey Forgeng, Curator of Arms & Armor and Medieval Art
Tweet sign-off: jlf
Expertise: Hand-to-hand esthetics.

Vivian Li, Assistant Curator of Asian Art
Tweet sign-off: vl
Expertise: Ancient to contemporary Asian art.

Karysa K. Norris, Curatorial Assistant
Tweet sign-off: kkn
Expertise: Wrangling curators.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Visit the Museum Library

Want to learn more about Otto Dix, the artist who painted WAM’s newest acquisition, The Pregnant Woman, and the culture of Weimar Germany that spawned the art movement of New Objectivity? If so, then you should visit the Museum library and browse the newly acquired collection of books on Dix and the movement of New Objectivity conveniently arranged on a table as soon as you enter the reading room. There is also a display of new books related to upcoming exhibitions and other new WAM acquisitions. If you would rather learn about what is happening in the art world in general, browse the library’s collection of current art magazines ranging from Art in America to the History of Photography or if you want to know what’s happening in the world of contemporary art, browse either Frieze or Flash Art. 

Since the library’s collection has been developed around the Museum’s collection of art objects, it is the primary place to come to learn more about something you found in the Museum that interests you. Just ask the librarian on duty what your interests are, and we will be glad to help you get started on your search. The library welcomes visitors of all ages and levels of interest, from a parent looking for a child’s book on Impressionism, a college student researching one of our Antioch mosaics, or a visitor wanting to learn more about Mary Cassatt. There are over 53,000 books in our collection, all devoted to art, which are in our on-line catalog and all are available for browsing. The library is free and open to the public, and offers our resources to everyone, not just the Museum staff. Our new fall hours started after Labor Day and we will now be open on Saturdays during the Museum’s open hours for the remainder of the school year.

Learn more about the Museum Library

- Deborah Smock Aframe, Librarian

Thursday, September 1, 2016

I’m coming to WAM. Where do I park?

As the Museum’s new Guest Services Manager, one of my first tasks has been to communicate Museum parking options for the thousands of people who visited WAM during Free August.  We are proud to offer free parking to our guests, but during high visitation periods, spots do fill up quickly.  I hope the following information will help you when you plan your next visit to WAM. 

Guests have three self-parking options provided by the Museum free of charge: the Lancaster Street Lot, the Salisbury Street Lot, and the Tuckerman Street Lot. The Lancaster Street Lot offers closer parking to the Lancaster Street Entrance and the Higgins Education Wing.  The Salisbury Lot is offers closer parking to the Salisbury Entrance and offers accessible parking spaces. The Tuckerman Street Lot offers closer parking to the courtyard entrance and also has accessible parking. Parking in the Museum lots are first come, first served.

In addition, free street parking is available on several streets around the Museum.  Metered spots are available one block away in the Highland Street Municipal Parking Lot. During school vacation weeks, community days, and other predictably busy times, we suggest taking public transportation or carpooling. If you will be driving, we recommend arriving earlier or later in the day for the best parking availability.

In order to make this information more accessible to you, we have included it on our website along with a parking map.

Should you have any questions regarding parking or any other issue, please dial the main number at 508-799-4406.

I hope you find this information useful. I very much look forward to welcoming you to the Worcester Art Museum soon.

Brian P. Scurio
Guest Services Manager

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