Friday, December 5, 2014

Research: Worcester Art Museum "Then and Now" by Travis Simpkins. Update #27

     -In the first photo, from about 1960, the camera is facing west on the 4th floor landing at the Worcester Art Museum. Natural light illuminates the galleries through wide doorways. At left, the top of the stairwell is obscured by a small partition wall. At right, in what is now the Atrium, an open area allows for additional exhibition space. Today, the area has certainly changed, but is still recognizable. The high Atrium walls and skylight were added in 1983, the entryways were narrowed and the linoleum floor was swapped for a mix of ceramic tile and wall-to-wall carpeting.
     -The second "Then and Now" composition, showing views from 1994 and at present, illustrates how little the Pre-Columbian Gallery has changed over a 20 year period. Every object is still in the same place. The only slight differences are the track lighting positions and the addition of audio tour stickers to the cases. The assortment of Pre-Columbian artifacts are amongst my favorite objects to sketch, and I have spent many inquisitive hours in this room.

     -The sketch depicts the large ceramic Pre-Columbian "Seated Male Figure" circa 900-1200 A.D.

     -If you look high up on the 4th floor ceiling above the main stairwell, you'll notice a large eye-hook in the center. Over the 16 years I've been at WAM, I've heard various theories about what the hook was intended for (some ideas more far-fetched than others). Recently, WAM Conservation Scientist Phil Klausmeyer suggested that it could've been used to suspend a Calder-type mobile, and asked me to look into it. He was correct. I found, through various sources, that the eye-hook was indeed placed there to suspend a piece of artwork that was here on loan many years ago... a large kinetic sculpture by George Rickey (1907-2002). The mobile once filled the empty void between the third and fourth floors.

4th Floor Galleries. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Pre-Columbian Gallery. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Seated Figure. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Eye-hook 4th Floor. Worcester Art Museum