Summers in Maine are known for their beauty, whether they are experienced hiking in the mountains, lying on the beach, or taking in the exhibits at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. This summer, around 9,300 people flocked to the Museum to see seven new shows.
"Simply Divine: Gods and Demigods in the Ancient Mediterranean"
This exhibit features ancient pottery and sculptures and was curated by Associate Curator of the Ancient Collection in the Museum of Art Jim Higginbotham. Some of the pieces on display were included in the earlier "Ars Antiqua" exhibit, but "Simply Divine" also includes marble, terracotta, and clay sculptures. The exhibit opened June 4 and is a long-term installation.
"Scratching the Surface: Master Prints from the Charles Pendexter Gift"
All of the prints in this exhibit are from the private collection of Charles Pendexter, who gifted over 1,500 works to the Museum. The current prints on view include "The Martyrdom of St. John" from Albrecht Dürer's "The Apocalypse" series, Édouard Manet's "Dead Christ with Angels," and Francisco de Goya's "Nadie se conoce" from "Los Caprichos."
The title of the exhibit was inspired by both the technique of fine etching and the depth of Pendexter's generous gift.
"Scratching the Surface is a clever pun—we're just touching the surface on this gift," said Curatorial Assistant Kate Herlihy '08. "It's so deep that the works will go down through the ages." Though in its final days, the prints will be rotated through the Museum in a variety of upcoming exhibitions.
This one opened on June 16 and will close on September 12.
One of this highlights of the exhibit was the Gerhard Richter piece "Abstrakes Bild," a large canvas that makes violent use of colors.
The show also includes provocative works by artists such as Wang Tiande, who uses cigarette burns to accentuate his painting "Digital Series No. 03-AO5." An entire wall of the exhibit belongs to Michael Mazur's "Fall Mountains for Kuo Shi," a smudged landscape scene which makes use of bright colors.
"The canvasses are large and powerful and are really talking about what the artists have been doing in recent history," said Herlihy.
Opening on June 16, this exhibit is a long-term installation with rotating works.
"Masterpieces of European Painting from the Wadsworth Atheneum"
This exhibit features 10 paintings that have been loaned to the Museum from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, Conn., which is known for its Baroque and Renaissance collections.
Bowdoin is now able to display some of its famous works by artists like Aelbert Cuyp, Giuseppe Ribera and Thomas De Keyser. These paintings are so significant that they are already being used as learning tools for various classes this semester.
"Things you study in Introduction to Art History are up on the walls—there's nothing better than that," said Herlihy. "I think Bowdoin students will really benefit from these pieces being here."
This is another long-term installation that opened on July 9.
"Maine as Muse"
This exhibit showcased works inspired by Maine. All of the paintings are recognizable scenes of Maine: George Hawley Hallowell's "Logging Crew" is painted in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, and Rockwell Kent's "Sun, Manana, Monhegan" instantly conveys the Maine coast. The standout of the exhibit is Neil Welliver's "Deer in Bottom," a large canvas depicting a quiet moment in the Maine woods. Walking toward the canvas feels more like walking into the painting.
"Deer in Bottom" was given to the Museum by halley k harrisburg '90 and her husband, gallery owner Michael Rosenfeld.
This exhibit also includes a watercolor by Winslow Homer as well as some of Homer's possessions: his paint brushes, palette and fishing net. The exhibit opened on July 16 and will close on October 3.
"Henry Moore—The Drawings: Works on Paper from the Henry Moore Family Collection"
For the first time this summer, the Museum participated in Brunswick's Friday ArtWalks, which were held the second Friday of every month. On an ArtWalk night, various galleries in town and the Museum were open until 8 p.m. to allow visitors to take in as much art as possible.
The ArtWalks helped draw a larger crowd to the Museum, which led to the decision to hold the opening of the Henry Moore exhibit on an ArtWalk night.
"We had a great-sized crowd of local residents and tourists," Herlihy said. "Museum Director Kevin Salatino spoke and there was a reception."
This show was the Museum's biggest of the summer. Moore is known as a sculptor, but this exhibit showcases his drawings and drafts to reveal the process behind making a sculpture. Some of the drawings on display are crude sketches, while others are more developed.
"Having a Henry Moore drawing show is interesting because you see how a sculptor conceives of his ideas and how 2-D drawings are a body of work onto themselves," said Herlihy. This exhibit will run until October 3.
"American and European Paintings and Sculpture- Selections"
This was the final exhibition of the summer. All of the works featured are from the Museum's own collection, and it is surprising to see the variation.
This exhibit includes some of the pieces from the popular "Methods for Modernism" show that closed on July 11, including Joseph Stella's exciting and abstract work "Spring (The Procession)." The exhibit opened on July 27 and will also close on October 3.
The Museum used every space available to show its diverse exhibits this summer. Now the curators are preparing for the fall show "Sit Down!", an exhibition of chairs from six different centuries that opens on October 21. There is still time to catch some of the summer exhibits before they close, but time, as well as the lovely Maine summer weather, is fleeting.