Colby Museum of Art Celebrates 50 Years with "Art at Colby"
May 6, 2009
The Trapper, 1870
Oil on canvas
A museum-wide exhibit, Art at Colby: Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Colby College Museum of Art,
will be on view July 11, 2009, to February 21, 2010, to mark the
founding of the museum in 1959, a half century ago. A 376-page book of
the same title, featuring 202 color illustrations, will be published to
accompany the exhibition.
Art at Colby will present works acquired early in the museum’s history, such as Winslow Homer’s 1870 Adirondack landscape The Trapper, William Merritt Chase’s Tompkins Park, Brooklyn,
and key works from the American Heritage Collection of folk art. It
also will offer the most comprehensive overview to date of works from
the Lunder Collection, promised to the Colby College Museum of Art by
Peter and Paula Lunder in 2007.
The exhibition will provide a
history of the museum through its collection, with artworks grouped by
the decades in which they were acquired. Highlights include areas in
which the museum has collected in depth: American art from the 18th
century to the present, including works by John Marin and Alex Katz;
contemporary art; and American prints by James McNeill Whistler (part
of the Lunder Collection), Terry Winters and Richard Serra. Other
highlights are early Chinese art from the Colville Collection, Greek
and Roman artifacts and European paintings and prints.
illustrated publication of selections from the collection, each with a
newly commissioned text, will accompany the exhibition. Prefaced by a
short history of the museum, the publication will include an impressive
144 brief essays by 98 authors on 176 works. Whereas the exhibition
will juxtapose cultures and periods, the book will draw historical
connections—a Roman Lar, or household god, precedes a pair of
Chinese guardian tomb objects, and European prints are followed by a
portrait by John Singleton Copley. The earliest work is a Cypriot
vessel in the shape of a bull from c. 1450 B.C.E. The most recent is a
wall installation from 2008 by the American artist Maya Lin, composed
solely of straight pins. Most of the works in the book also appear in
the exhibition. In addition, the exhibition is supplemented by other
works from the collection.
Key to the mission of the Colby
College Museum of Art is its dedication to new scholarship and to
approaching the visual arts from a wide range of perspectives. Art at Colby,
the book, contains essays from contributors including art historians
Michael Leja, Anne M. Wagner, Geoffrey Batchen and Rachael Ziady DeLue
and curators such as Kenneth John Myers, Erica E. Hirshler, Barbara
Haskell and Ingrid Schaffner. Art at Colby is equally rich in writers
less commonly associated with traditional museum collection overviews,
from geologist Robert A. Gastaldo on Phillip Taaffe to poet Ron Padgett
on Fairfield Porter to the multitalented Richard Hell on Joe Brainard.
Artists also provide commentaries on fellow artists—Alex Katz on
Winslow Homer, Rackstraw Downes on John Marin and David Salle on Roy
Lichtenstein—as well as several poems inspired by artworks. The Colby
community is richly represented with numerous contributions by
students, faculty, and alumni.
As the Colby College Museum of art looks to its future as a teaching museum and a cultural resource in Maine, Art at Colby offers an opportunity to reflect on its past and the individuals who have developed and nurtured its mission.
Art at Colby: Celebrating the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Colby College Museum of Art
376 pages, clothbound with jacket
202 color illustrations and eight black-and-whites
Published by the Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine; distributed by Distributed Art Publishers (D.A.P.), New York
for the publication has been generously provided by the Mirken
Foundation, Alan B. Mirken ’51. Exhibition support provided by the
Everett and Florence Turner Exhibition Fund, Colby College Museum of
Art. The exhibition audio tour is sponsored by the Unity Foundation.
Colby College Museum of Art, with 28,000 square feet of exhibition
space, is one of the largest museums in Maine. It is open 10 a.m. to
4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission
is free and the museum is accessible to people with disabilities. For
additional information visit www.colby.edu/museum.