July 7, 2013

10 key things to see at Alfond-Lunder Family Pavilion

A guide to enjoying the inaugural show with a focus on 10 key moments.

By Bob Keyes bkeyes@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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“Indian Hunter and His Dog” by Paul Manship (circa 1926) is among the more than 500 pieces in the collection given to Colby by Peter and Paula Lunder.

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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Swedish sculptor Claes Oldenburg’s “Typewriter Eraser”

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

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WHERE: Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville

WHEN: Opens to the public on July 14. On view though June 8, 2014.

HOURS: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday


INFO: 859-5600; colby.edu/academics_cs/museum

MORE: Read Bob Keyes' story on how the Alfond-Lunder Pavilion came to be. A1And that's not all: More new shows


WATERVILLE -- In addition to opening the Lunder Collection exhibition, the Colby College Museum of Art unveils several other new exhibitions that may be overshadowed by Lunder hoopla. Among them:

"A Thing Alive: Modern Landscapes from the Marin Collection," featuring works from Colby's Marin collection supplemented by photographs from the Norma B. Marin collection. The Marin work includes abstracted cityscapes and landscapes, along with photographs of rural and urban scenes by Berenice Abbott, Eugene Atget, Alfred Stieglitz and others. It opens Saturday and is on view through Oct. 6.

"Alex Katz: A Matter of Light," on view through Sept. 15. This show features prints, drawings and paintings from the museum's permanent collection that demonstrate Katz' study of light and shadow.

"Here and There: Contemporary Art from the Alex Katz Foundation," through Dec. 31. The work in this show represents recent acquisitions of contemporary art through the Katz Foundation.

-- Bob Keyes


With almost 300 pieces of art on view, the Lunder Collection demands time and attention for digestion.

"The range is what is so impressive," said Corwin. "I think people will be surprised and astounded with what they see. As you move from one gallery to the next, each one is a revelation. What we had to do was figure out how to make it make sense in relationship to itself."

With that in mind, here is a guide to enjoying this inaugural show with a focus on 10 key moments.

1. The first moment of wonder comes quickly, courtesy of Swedish-born sculptor Claes Oldenburg. His oversized "Typewriter Eraser" sits in the middle of the first gallery, beckoning people to come for a closer look and begging the question that's on the lips of anyone born in the post-typewriter era: What is it? It's a perfectly realistic, three-dimensional representation of the old wheel eraser with bristles.

Across the gallery, Oldenburg's "Model for Clothespin" -- a bronz-and-steel rendering of the common wooden clothespin -- helps us appreciate the form and function of a common utilitarian domestic object.

2. Two paintings by Maine-based Richard Estes command attention: "Mt. Katahdin, Maine" from 2001 and "Columbus Circle at Night," from 2010. Estes is known for his photorealistic paintings. These two show the contrast in his work and his worlds, from a remote region of rural Maine to the heart of Manhattan.

3. Perhaps the most startling piece in the contemporary galleries is Duane Hanson's "Old Man Playing Solitaire." Hanson created a perfect human form, dressed him in old-man clothes, and placed him at a battered card table with a deck of cards mid-deal in a game of solitaire. A sour coffee cup sits off to the side.

It's so realistic, with the old man's hair drooping across his forehead and his eyes cast down at his cards in contemplation, one almost wants to hang around and see not whether he wins his game, but by how much.

The old man freaks people out, Corwin says. "He does. He totally does."

But his presence in the Lunder collection also highlights the collectors' commitment to sculpture, Corwin added. The Lunders broke far from traditional bronze and marble, and encouraged contemporary sculpture in non-traditional media with their purchases.

4. Along those lines, among Corwin's favorite pieces in the collection is another utilitarian effort: Jenny Holzer's granite bench "Under a Rock: Crack the Pelvis." Holzer has chiseled a poem memorializing a violent death into the seat.

It's a perfectly functional piece of furniture that doubles as a piece of art, and it demonstrates the Lunders' growth as collectors and their willingness to expand their own personal horizons. Corwin has placed it in the heart of one of the spacious open galleries, inviting visitors to sit on it.

5. John George Brown's painting "Watching the Circus" is one of those pictures that visitors will return to over and over. It depicts a group of 13 children and one dog standing alongside or sitting on a rail fence in a country setting. Some of the kids are wearing shoes; others are barefoot. All but one wear hats to shield the sun, which bears down and casts dark shadows.

It's a period piece from the late 1800s, and an engaging study in the joy of youth. The title implies that these kids are watching a circus, and the effect of their poses is a wall of wide-eyed innocence gazing out from the canvas.

6. Georgia O'Keeffe's "Birch and Pine Trees -- Pink" from 1925 is a study in form and color, and provides an exceptional example of the artist's ability to blend and merge colors while creating an abstract image of her rural home.

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Additional Photos

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Oldenburg’s bronze-and-steel “Model for Clothespin"

Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

John George Brown, “Watching the Circus” (1881), oil on canvas

Courtesy of Colby College Museum of Art/The Lunder Collection

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Georgia O’Keeffe, “Birch and Pine” (1925), oil on canvas

Courtesy of Colby College Museum of Art/The Lunder Collection

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Winslow Homer, “Girl in a Hammock” (1873), oil on canvas

Courtesy of Colby College Museum of Art/The Lunder Collection

click image to enlarge

James McNeill Whistler, “Chelsea in Ice” (1864), oil on canvas

Courtesy of Colby College Museum of Art/The Lunder Collection


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