WellesleyWeston Magazine

WINTER 2017/2018

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: https://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/897427

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Page 81 of 195

And some of the museum's prize pieces were out of sight. "Having theme drive content was not allowing us to show a lot of the really won- derful objects that were in our storage that just didn't happen to fit," she adds. Combing through the museum's holdings, the curatorial team was struck by the breadth and, in some surprising areas, the depth of the collection. "We really needed to think about how we could show these strengths in an organized fashion," says Whitner, who is assistant direc- tor of curatorial affairs and senior curator of collections. The solution was to return to the more traditional layout that emphasizes chronology and region, allowing viewers to appreciate how art forms change over time and artists are influenced by other cultures. While the lower level is reserved for special exhibitions, the perma- nent collection begins on the second floor, with galleries displaying non-Western and ancient Mediterranean art, including pieces given to Wellesley College in honor of a faculty member's participation in an archaeological dig. Climbing to upper levels, the viewer sees art from around the globe, spanning four millennia. But the curators didn't completely abandon the thematic approach. "We didn't want to throw out the baby with the bathwater," Whitner says. "So, we developed thematic installations where interesting connections could be made between objects from different time periods or cultures." The Davis Museum, which traces its roots to 1889 but opened in its current location in 1993, was the first building in North America to have been commissioned by Rafael Moneo. Three years later, the Spanish architect won the Pritzker Architecture Prize, often called the Nobel Prize of architecture. In the Davis's previous incarnation, more of the space had been devoted to temporary exhibits. The permanent galleries had been orga- nized by theme, such as "Perceiving Space in Art" and "Stories, Ideals, Beliefs." While that approach made for thought-provoking juxtaposi- tions, Whitner says, "If someone was looking for a specific kind of art, it could have been in any of those galleries." left: A view from the fifth floor lightwell to the galleries below; right: The 19th- century American Art gallery features Hudson River School landscape paintings and artworks by the indigenous people of the Plains and Southwest P H O T O S B Y S T E V E B R I G G S P H O T O G R A P H Y Davis Museum W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e | w i n t e r 2 0 1 7 / 2 0 1 8 80

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