Friday, September 17, 2010


Todd Rivers, head prep, just went on a trip on museum business and he wrote us up a little something about his journeys. The slideshow above is a selection of the photos he took.

Last week, I accompanied our director, Bill Eiland, on a trip to several cities in Virginia and both North and South Carolina to visit Jay Robinson (an artist whose work is represented in our collection), museum donors and the newly constructed additions to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Meeting Jay Robinson was an experience. He has an air of confidence and the work schedule of someone in his late teens or early 20s. He told us some days he sleeps until 1 p.m. and paints into the wee hours of the morning. He described his recent watercolors as abstractions of elements and particles on a molecular level. They have fluid movement and intense color. He treated us to a wonderful dinner, during which he told us stories about his experiences at Cranbrook, his trips to Africa and the Belgian Congo in the 1950s, his work for the Office of Strategic Services in Washington, D.C., and the tragedy of a studio fire that clamed the bulk of his early work. The evening was capped by a tour of his sketchbooks chronicling the indigenous people of Africa and Asia.

The tour of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts started with lunch in the museum’s cafĂ© and a brief visit to a storage facility to see works in Morton Traylor’s “Miner Series.” The museum’s grand hall resembles old railroad terminals and boasts the two largest invisibly supported panes of glass in the United States. We discussed some of the challenges their new building poses and how taxing the additional load has been for its staff members.

Next, we traveled to Charlottesville, Va., and had a quick visit and dinner with author and art historian Paul Barolsky. Early the next morning, we drove to nearby Gordonsville to pick up a chest from the Daura family.

After loading the chest, we traveled to Raleigh, N.C., to the North Carolina Museum of Art. If you have not seen its new permanent collection addition, please make arrangements to do so. This addition, which is separate from the existing museum, sits on the rolling hills like a glass warehouse. The state-of-the-art facility is completely run by computers that automatically lower and raise the shades of the exterior window walls as the sun travels across the museum. Natural light floods the galleries through glass that triple filters for UV and minimizes lumens. We finished the day by having dinner with Anne Thomas.

On the final day, we picked up some prints by Howard Thomas and drove to Rock Hill, S.C., to view the exhibition “Edmund Lewandowski: Precisionism and Beyond” at Winthrop University Galleries so we could get a feel for the show, which will open at GMOA September 10, 2011.

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