Friday, May 6, 2016

2016 Lilac Watch: Interview with Landscape and Gardens Manager Jessica Gallas

Lilac buds as of May 5, 2016
The lilacs are beginning to bud throughout the Museum grounds. Soon, the Museum campus will be painted with fragrant shades of purple, white and dark burgundy bushes. Come enjoy these beautiful plants over the next few weeks.

Lilacs have always been an important feature of the Shelburne Museum landscape, with over 400 bushes of 90 varieties situated throughout the grounds. Museum founder, Electra Havemeyer Webb said “[Lilacs were] one of the first collections that I made since Watson and I were first married… When we moved to Vermont, we brought two hundred and fifty lilacs from our Westbury home to the Museum grounds.” Below is a short interview with Landscape and Gardens Manager Jessica Gallas.

Lilacs in full bloom on the north end of the Shelburne Museum grounds, May 2015.

How long have the lilac bushes been part of the Museum landscape?
Some of the lilac bushes on the grounds today have been part of the landscape since the Museum opened in 1947. The lilacs located between the Dutton House and the north end of the grounds came from the Webb estate in Westbury, Long Island. All the others were bought from nurseries around this region and planted in the 1950’s and 1960s. We continue to add new hybrids today, as some of the older varieties are succumbing to disease.

What is the significance to the placement of the bushes within the landscape?

The lilacs and apple trees were chosen for the Museum grounds, knowing they would be in bloom about the time the Museum opened each spring. Their placement was designed to enhance the natural appearance of the historic structures they surrounded.

Why are lilacs so popular in Vermont/New England?

Lilacs are popular in the New England region because they are hardy (like many New Englanders!), they survive the cold Vermont winters, and have been around since the 18th century. Plus they produce beautiful flowers and a strong, elegant scent. 

Lilacs in full bloom, May 2015.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Kinetic Sculpture, Grandma, Snake Charmers, & Sol LeWitt: 2016 Exhibition Schedule

The lilac buds are beginning to bloom and the birds have started chirping in the apple trees - it is now spring at Shelburne Museum! May 1 has been the traditional opening day for the Museum, even though we are now a year-round institution thanks to the Pizzagalli Center for Art and Education, and that date has symbolic and enduring appeal.  This year is no exception. Museum staff are busy preparing the grounds, gardens, buildings and galleries for an exciting season, complete with new, energizing exhibitions!

We are pleased to share Shelburne Museum’s plans for the coming year, these exhibitions showcase the strength and depth of the institution’s acclaimed collections, as well as our goal of bringing meaningful projects that explore American art and culture to the community. Each exhibition exemplifies Shelburne Museum’s mission of provoking collective curiosity. 

Shelburne Museum’s education staff have developed programs based on the themes of the upcoming exhibitions that engage learners of all ages with interactive activities, thought provoking lectures, and workshops in a variety of media. In addition, for adults, nationally-known speakers will lead symposia on art history, craft, historic preservation, and topics that extend and amplify exhibition themes.


32 Degrees: The Art of Winter

January 23–May 30, 2016
32 Degrees:The Art of Winter features winter-inspired works of art in an array of media, from the late nineteenth century to present day. This multifaceted, interactive exhibition explores the complexities of snow and ice. Artworks ranging from Claude Monet’s famous Grainstacks to contemporary photography, sound pieces, digital art, games, and ephemeral sculptures are located both inside the gallery space and on the Museum grounds. Curator Carolyn Bauer actively sought out international and contemporary artists while digging deep into the rich collections of Shelburne Museum to explore themes of aesthetics, ephemerality, nostalgia, and climate change.

Birds of a Feather: Shelburne Museum’s Decoy Collection 

November 21, 2015–June 19, 2016

Culled from the Museum’s renowned decoy collection,this exhibition features eighty decoys by such master artisans as A. Elmer Crowell, Charles “Shang” Wheeler, Albert Laing, and Lemuel T. and Samuel Ward. The exhibition includes thirteen different bird species, ranging from black ducks and Canada geese, to swans, herons, and shorebirds. Operating under the principle that “birds of a feather flock together,” decoys are designed to lure game birds into gunning range by physically mimicking waterfowl in safe waters. Carvers of decoys are often hunters themselves, but they are no less naturalists and admirers of the beauty and diversity of their prey.

Dominique Ehrmann, Come and Follow Me, 2010.
Cotton, metal, beads, buttons, tulle, and rayon, 72 x 96 x
18 in. Courtesy of the artist. Photography by Lucien Lisabelle.

Dominique Ehrmann: Once Upon a Quilt

May 1–October 31, 2016
This exhibition features the imaginative works of contemporary Quebec-based fiber artist Dominique Ehrmann. Her innovative quilting styles and techniques, along with her appealing stories, will engage audiences of all ages. Works included in the exhibition include 3-D quilts and an outdoor kinetic sculpture.

George Sherwood, Memory of Water, 2014. Stainless steel, 78 x 78 x
78 in. © George Sherwood.
Wind, Waves and Light: Kinetic Sculpture by George Sherwood

May 1-October 31, 2016
Sherwood’ssculptures explore the aesthetic systems of space, time, and the dynamic relationships of objects in motion. The choreography of each piece is governed by a set of basic movements, facilitated by an arrangement of rotating joints and aerodynamic surfaces. Made of stainless steel and ranging in scale and size, the reflective qualities of this material integrate the sculpture into its space and animate the surroundings. Wind speed and direction, shades of light, time of day, precipitation, and seasonal color transform the qualities of light and movement. According to Sherwood, “Each sculpture is a three-dimensional painting of shifting light, drawing all the colors of the environment, pulling down the sky, drawing up the earth and gathering everything in between.”

Anna Mary Robertson (“Grandma”) Moses (1860-1961), The Old Checkered House, 1853, 1944. Oil on pressed wood, 20 3/4 x 28 in. Copyright © 2016 Grandma Moses Properties Co, New York. Bennington Museum, Museum Purchase. 2000.2.

Grandma Moses: American Modern

June 18–October 30, 2016
Grandma Moses: AmericanModern reexamines the works of beloved American artist Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses (1860–1961), reasserting her and her paintings within the context of mid-century American culture and modernist art. This traveling exhibition counters Moses’s marginalization as a “folk” artist or a pop culture phenomenon through close analyses of her paintings and techniques and by presenting her works alongside her fellow “folk” and modernist contemporaries. Co-organized by Shelburne Museum and the Bennington Museum.

Russell Morgan and Company Engravers and Printers, Gorilla and Woman, 1883. Wood-cut print on paper, 90 x 42 in. Collection of Shelburne Museum, gift of Harold and Gladys Degree. 1991-18.3. Photography by Andy Duback.

Papering the Town: Circus Posters in America

July 9–January 22, 2016
During the heyday of the American circus, cities and towns across the country were wallpapered with thousands of brightly colored posters weeks in advance of a show’s arrival. Adopting a “go big or go home” attitude, American circuses advertised through posters that were the “mass media” of their day, both in terms of their volume and their size. This exhibition features some of the largest circus posters in Shelburne Museum’s collection. Several posters, including Mr. Sage and The Two Giraffes Looking over a Billboard, have rarely been exhibited because of their immense size. One section of the exhibition includes the Colchester circus posters, discovered underneath the siding on a home in Colchester, Vermont in 1991. 

The Routhier Collection. Photography by Andy Duback.

Hard-Edge Cool: The Routhier Collection of Mid-Century Prints

November 19, 2016–January 22, 2017
Jason and Dana Routhier, two young art collectors from Northfield, Vermont, have judiciously amassed an extensive and thoughtful collection of mid-twentieth-century prints. The Routhier collection includes the works of more than forty-five acclaimed artists from around the world, providing a comprehensive survey of many of the artistic movements and styles developed during this period, particularly Concrete Art and Op Art. Some of the artists featured in the exhibition include Jean Arp, Max Bill, Wassily Kandinsky, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol LeWitt, and Frank Stella.