Recent visitors to the Modern Wing may have noticed that one of the highlights of the modern collection has been off view. Henri Matisse’s Bathers by a River has been deinstalled from the permanent collection galleries so that it can be incorporated into the Art Institute’s landmark exhibition Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913–1917, which opened to the public on March 20.
Installing a special exhibition takes a large team that includes a complex cast of characters, including, but not limited to: the exhibition curator, exhibition manager, research assistants, museum registrars, conservators, carpenters, painters, electricians, lighting specialists, art installers and packers, and exhibition, web, and graphic designers. As the manager for this exhibition, I have the great privilege of being in the center of the culmination of a project that has taken over five years to organize.
What the public doesn’t see is the carefully orchestrated chaos that brought together 115 works from private and public collections in 9 countries. 29 couriers with 64 crates in 24 shipments arrived in the first two weeks of March, spurring thework of packers and art handlers opening crates, conservators writing condition reports, and curators placing works of art. Other staff will adjust lighting, touch up paint, make final revisions to wall text and labels, place graphic materials, and install computers and monitors featuring our conservation research. While the focus of Matisse: Radical Invention is of course the art, all of these details are necessary to show the exhibition in its best light.
Installation is the most exciting and labor-intensive time for all of us who have been dedicated to this exhibition. The most satisfying part of the project is showing off the final product—and the hard work of many—to the public. I hope you’ll see the show before it closes on June 20, and please do tell us what you think. Your feedback is invaluable to us!
—Jennifer P., Departmental Exhibitions Manager, Medieval to Modern European Painting and Sculpture
39 min 8 sec ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING SOON—Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem
Two major figures in American art and literature aim to make the black experience visible in postwar America.
Closing August 28—http://bit.ly/2aQrnYd
5 hours 7 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago It is believed Van Dyck never intended for the early stages of his etchings to be circulated and was surprised by their immediate popularity in the art market. Finding success at a time when artists didn’t usually show works in progress, these “unfinished” prints helped set the stage for the more recent popularity of works that reveal the creative process. See the prints that altered conventions in Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and the Portrait Print—closing August 7.
1 day 1 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago #TBT 1983: The museum held an exhibition for the collection of Jalane and Richard Davidson, Chicago collectors of contemporary American realist drawings. Acknowledged at the time for collecting against prevailing art world trends, they amassed a comprehensive collection of work spanning the careers of both well-known artists—like Jack Beal, pictured here with Jalane herself and a portrait he made of her—and lesser-known Midwestern artists. The entire Davidson collection was bequeathed to the museum and saw another exhibition devoted to it in 1999.