Thursday, October 16, 2014

Research: Worcester Art Museum "Then and Now" by Travis Simpkins. Update #15

     These "Then and Now" compositions focus on the recently unveiled, "très attendu", Knights! Exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum.

     -The first photo, from 1910, shows the 2nd floor main hall during an early period of transition in the museum's history. At that time, the collection still consisted largely of plaster casts and works on loan, but the process of acquiring original works of Art for the permanent collection had begun to gain momentum… with works by Thomas Crawford, Gilbert Stuart and Joseph Badger intermingled with copies of Classical sculpture. The same spot today, Salisbury Hall, once again reflects a new stage and shift in the museum's development. As the starting point of "Knights!", a transformative acquisition of arms and armor, bold change is evident with a mounted knight on a strawberry pink horse and dual video projections glowing in the openings of the original 1897 windows.
     -The photo at left in the second "Then and Now" composition, from 1984, shows the inaugural exhibit in the freshly-built Hiatt Wing: The Collector's Cabinet. (This view was partway through the gallery, with another room just before it at the entrance. I'll post the entrance comparison shots at a later date). The current view from the same spot in Knights!, finds Batman presiding over his "Knights" in the center of the gallery.

      -The sketch depicts the two ancient bronze "Corinthian Helmets" (550-450 B.C.) in the Roundtable section of Knights!

     -The last photo sequence is the culmination of nearly four months (15 weeks) of repeat visits to the gallery during the exhibit's construction. I started when the gallery was empty, not knowing what the final floor plan would be, and chose about a dozen specific reference points to which I'd keep returning every 7 days. After a few weeks (as the walls went up), it became apparent which views would work, and were worth continuing. From the installation of hardwood floors, to the painting of the walls and horse, it was a remarkable process to observe considering the short time frame. In the end, I created 5 separate 15-week sequential compositions from different points in the gallery. I'll share the other four views in future updates.

Salisbury Hall. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Knights! . Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Corinthian Helmets. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins

Knights! Construction. Worcester Art Museum. by Travis Simpkins