Making a permanent impression since 1994
December 1, 2003
An arsenal of art at the Atheneum
By Joe Keo and Katie Jordan
a place where a sculpture is carved from human bones, ghosts peer out of
paintings, and unseen people watch every move you make.
may sound spooky, but it really isnít.
Wadsworth Atheneum, a well-known art museum in
sounds like a nerdy place to hang out. You may think any place called an
Atheneum ó a center of knowledge, named for the Greek goddess
again, you havenít got the whole story.
through the revolving doors and breathe in the scent of art. There isnít
actually a distinctodor to art. Itís really the smell of paint, chemicals,
canvas, and the fancy perfumes worn by the museumís many employees.
Stop still in your tracks, take a look around, and take in the spaciousness of this renowned arsenal of art.
of the works are elegant and masterfully created. Others stir the imagination
and causeyou to scratch your head.
a sculpture of miniature furniture, each piece only centimeters tall. They stand
piled one on top of another in a glass case. It seems rather bland ó until the
docent reveals that each piece is made of human bones that theartist bought off
the black market.
fun doesnít end there.
ghost faces gaze at bypassing visitors from within several paintings. These
arenít stereotypical spirits, but rather artistsí mistakes ó images that
were painted over, but havebecome dimly visible over time.
monkey around or lean against any of the exhibits or sculptures, because the
observant unseen people are watching constantly, making sure you donít touch
or damage anything.
security guards, and the
you may not recognize all of the paintings at the
Van Goghís famous self-portrait looks out from one wall, his signature
brushstrokes in varying shades of reds and blues. He resides humbly in a corner,
with no presumptuous or showy display.
Van Gogh hangs Nympheas,
Water Lilies, the
peaceful painting of water lilies floating on a reflective pool. Anyone can see
why this beautiful piece by Claude Monet is so beloved.
of the most famous works in the
Lady of Shallot,
painted by Holman Hunt, stands horrified by her broken mirror, grieving over Sir
battle paintings in a great red hall portray famous generals from the American
Revolution, many done by renowned
conceptualism and contemporary art is your cup of tea, the Atheneum has what
youíre looking for, with three-dimensional pop-out paintings and splatters of
paint on canvas.
it is an original Alexander Calder sculpture or someoneís umbrella leaned
against a wall, everything inside the walls of the museum is art.
once you kick that crumpled paper bag outside the
Atheneumís array of contemporary art allows visitors to have fun, expand their
imaginations and step out of the box for a few hours.
will be scratching their heads while looking at Salvador Daliís surrealistic
pieces or just admiring the walls of Sol LeWittís ingenious creations. Given
the intense scratching involved with some of the works, itís unbelievable no
one has ever become bald.
Wadsworth Atheneum is also a treasure chest of pure American art. Artists such
with Shiner portrays
an all-American experience ó a girl outside a principalís office with a
museum pleases the homegrown American art taste along with the international.
wandering on your own gets you lost, the docents, or guides, are very helpful.
Knowledgeable guides point out quirks and interesting stories about paintings
and their artists.
your art cravings are nearly satisfied, step through the revolving glass doors
and back onto
careful and donít walk into the path of the red-orange stegosaurus. Donít
worry ó dinosaurs are extinct, but Calder resurrected Stegosaurus
of tall steel frames and rafters.
far from Stegosaurus
a large rusty steel girder. It looks like a neglected city repair project, but
in reality itís Untitled
Robert Morris, a work of art.
|© 2003 by The Tattoo. All rights reserved.|