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It’s great when our famous works get to meet famous people. Actors Bill and Susan Hayes made sure that they had time to visit the Cleveland Museum of Art during their media tour on October 20. Married for 35 years, the couple has played Doug and Julie Williams on NBC’s “Days of our Lives” for almost as long. The couple was in Cleveland to promote the show and their book Like Sands Through the Hourglass and support WKYC-TV3’s 4th Annual Heroes Help Northeast Ohio.
Susan first visited the museum back in May 1979 when she was in town with her mother during a promotional visit. She went back home to her California church and talked about a carving of Jesus Christ she saw during her visit to the CMA . During Susan and Bill’s 2011 visit, they enjoyed viewing Winslow Homer’s Early Morning After a Storm at Sea. Susan, who paints watercolors in her spare time, sees the work as an “education in color.” A true Homer fan, she donated a copy of a Winslow Homer painting to hang in the vestibule of her church.
Bill often ponders how artists detail texture and color in their portraits. “I’m always fascinated with how artists paint skin,” he said as he viewed The Portrait of Dora Wheeler by William Merritt Chase. As longtime art lovers, sketches by Rodin and Durand are among their personal art collection.
“The museum has a knockout collection,” Susan said. “I wanted to be sure to spend an afternoon here while we were in town. It seems like there is three times as much here as when I visited all those years ago. I’m looking forward to seeing as much as I can.”
She was intent in taking as many memories of our collection home with her as she could. At the time of this interview, her digital camera had already captured 100 images of their visit.
By Anita Chung
Curator of Chinese Art
The subject of this painting is a group of third-century scholars and poets who retreated to nature, using wine, music, poetry, and Daoist-oriented “pure conversation” (qingtan) to escape from the corrupt political world. Here, Fu painted the dense, luxuriant bamboo grove using fine brushstrokes in various ink tonalities further enriched by careful toning of green color washes. The seven worthies and an attendant appear in light-filled voids in the bamboo grove, as if the moon is casting a silvery light on them, reflecting their peaceful solace. The effect of light and atmosphere show that Fu was inspired by modern Japanese paintings of refreshing, naturalistic landscapes that also indirectly reflected the impact of Western art. In so doing, Fu gave new vitality to his modern interpretation of a traditional Chinese theme.
Although this painting is not dated, Fu painted several similar versions during 1943–45; this one is close in style to those dated 1943. That year, Fu and his circle of friends created an interesting caricature in fine-line drawing (baimiao) titled The Seven Worthies Coming Out of the Grove, a modern adaptation of the theme and a delightful work commemorating the gatherings of kindred spirits in wartime Chongqing.
If the one constant in life is change it certainly holds true that at the Cleveland Museum of Art there is always something new to see, particularly now during the exciting expansion project. One of the museum’s goals is to create exhibitions and collections that are relevant and inspirational to its patrons and to do so in a way that makes each visit to the museum fresh and vibrant. There is an ever-changing schedule of exhibitions to be installed, new acquisitions to be added to the galleries, works being rotated on and off exhibition, and a myriad of behind-the-scenes support activities taking place each day, and they all have one thing in common….art handling.
Tracy Sisson, art movement supervisor, coordinates the movement of all art within the museum utilizing a team of five highly-trained art handlers. Planning can often begin up to one year in advance of any object actually being moved.
Barry Austin and John Beukemann, two of the five art handlers that make up the Cleveland Museum of Art’s team, recently sat down to explain their job of working with the objects in the museum’s collection.
Being an art handler requires having art terminology/history knowledge, technical skills, and the right personality. And there are both physical and psychological components to the job. Objects vary greatly in size and weight and art handlers have to be physically able to manipulate both very small and very large pieces of art. It takes steady hands and incredible focus and concentration to move art within specific parameters. Although the art handlers are frequently working on a strict schedule, they can’t rush and must work at a very deliberate pace. The safety of the object is their number one priority.
The main areas of responsibility for an art handler include:
- Assessing art to determine risk/approach for art movement
- Transporting art safely throughout the museum
- Installing/de-installing art, including making proper hardware selection choices
- Packing art for shipping
- Pick-up and delivery of art
“Each piece of art is unique and has its own set of problems that have to be examined,” explains Barry. An object may require a special mount to be made for its installation in an exhibition, it may always need to be stored in a certain position because of its condition, or it may be that its size or weight makes it more challenging to move or install.
John is a Cleveland Institute of Art alum and has actually moved his own artwork, which was featured in a local artists show at the museum. His artistic abilities allow him to visualize what impact the placement and lighting of an object has on the visitor experience.
Both Barry and John love their jobs because they are in the presence of great artwork. “We are more intimate with the objects than most people will ever be,” says Barry. They note that the privilege is not lost on any one of their team. The great care they put into their jobs helps the museum run smoothly. Gretchen Shie Miller, registrar for loans, notes that “couriers visiting from other institutions are impressed by our museum’s art handlers.”
After spending some time with the art handling team and learning about all what goes into moving and installing works of art, there’s no doubt that the Cleveland Museum of Art collection is in good hands. The next time you’re at the museum, keep an eye open for the art handlers, although, if they’re doing their job right….you just might miss them.
The original schola cantorum (Latin for “singing school” or “choir”) was established centuries ago by Pope Gregory I to perform sacred music in the churches of medieval Rome. Today, the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela both honors and builds upon the legacy of its European predecessor, boasting a vast repertoire that includes religious music, classics by Baroque and Renaissance masters, traditional Latin American works, and contemporary masterpieces. The group’s versatility and distinctive style—characterized by rich timbres, high energy, and rhythmic complexity, and praised by Time Out New York as producing “sounds of delirious beauty”—have rightly earned the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela the reputation of being Latin America’s finest touring choral ensemble.
Founded in 1967 by Venezuelan composer and conductor Alberto Grau, the Schola Cantorum is credited with contributing to the growing choral movement in Venezuelan music. In particular, the choir is celebrated for its virtuosic performance of polyphonic music (music featuring counterpoint, or two competing but complementary lines of melody) and in 1974 was awarded first prize for polyphony at the prestigious Guido d’Arezzo Foundation’s International Polyphonic Competition in Corso, Italy. The Schola Cantorum de Venezuela has now grown into a global phenomenon led by award-winning chief conductor María Guinand, with multiple international tours, over two dozen recorded albums, and several world premieres under its belt. In fact, Argentine composer Osvaldo Golijov wrote his La Pasión según San Marcos (The St. Mark Passion) specifically for the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela, who premiered this highly acclaimed masterwork at the 2000 European Music Festival in Stuttgart, Germany, and whose recording of the piece later earned them a Grammy nomination for best choral performance and a Latin Grammy nomination for best classical album.
Known for putting on shows that are both musically stunning and rousingly fun—and often involving a degree of audience participation—the Schola Cantorum de Venezuela exudes an originality and exuberance that make its upcoming Cleveland performance an event not to be missed. The world-renowned choir will take the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Gartner Auditorium stage on the evening of Friday, October 28, as part of the museum’s VIVA! & Gala Performing Arts series. Tickets are available through the museum website.
Wearable Art Fashion Show & Boutique is on Sunday, October 16, 2011 at Landerhaven, 6111 Landerhaven Drive, Mayfield Heights, Ohio 44124. View some of the creations that will be at this year’s show.