May 7: Tyrus (documentary film)
His art inspired Bambi. His art will inspire you. Tyrus is Pamela Tom’s tour-de-force documentary about 105-year old Guangzhou-born, Los Angeles based visual artist, Tyrus Wong and his breathtaking scope of work across multiple artistic mediums and his personal and professional journey navigating racial bigotry in 20th century America. Tom’s film makes meticulous use of Tyrus Wong’s exquisite art, archival footage, illuminating interviews and commentary from Wong himself to document how his unique style, melding Chinese calligraphic and landscape influences with contemporary Western art, helped the Disney animated film, Bambi (1942) specifically, and early Hollywood in general establish their signature visual styles. The film makes a critical contribution to the documentary tradition and to American society in correcting a historical wrong by spotlighting this seminal, but heretofore under-credited figure.
May 14*: Reimagining Rome: Piranesi’s Vision and Legacy: Maggie North, Acting Curator of Art, Springfield Museums
The artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720-1778) spent his career studying, illustrating, and imagining the Eternal City of Rome. His dramatic depictions of monuments and ruins were so impressive that Grand Tourists who visited the city after seeing them were sometimes disappointed by the reality they found. Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Fantastic Ruins: Etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, this lecture will explore Piranesi’s vision, world, and legacy.
May 21: The JFK Assassination: Exploring the Why: James M. Bates, Major Gift’s Officer, Springfield College
This will refer to the Assassination, as an end, to what transpired during the Kennedy Presidency. We will explore the myriad of conflicts this President was presented with, his handling of the same and how he “polarized” his Presidency, which resulted in his assassination, if it was a conspiracy.
May 28*: Suffragettes in Corselettes: The evolution of underwear and our 19th amendment: Grounded Goodwife, Ehris Urban, author, herbalist, holistic nutritionist, AND Velya Jancz-Urban, author, teacher, expert on “herstory unsanitized”
A Centennial Tribute to the Suffragettes. For centuries, women have allowed themselves to be squeezed, twisted, and squished to conform to desired shapes. The history of underwear reveals a lot about women’s changing roles in society—how we perceive ourselves, and how we’re viewed by others. The 1910s saw an end to the hourglass figure with a tiny waist – women were finally able to breathe and move more freely. Did the demise of tightlacing help women gain the right to vote in 1920? Underwear matters.
This presentation is hands-on and participatory. Tight corseting exerted 22 pounds of pressure on internal organs—find out what that actually feels like! Experience the difficulty of completing everyday tasks while wearing a corset. Have you ever relay-raced in a hobble skirt?!
June 4: Process and Pleasure, Paintings by Ken Scaglia: Presented by Ken Scaglia, Assistant Professor of Art at Western Connecticut State University and member of the International Guild of Realism
The artist discusses his process for creating photorealistic paintings, relying on some traditional methods as well as his personal preferences.
June 11: Looking Things Over: Zora Neale Hurston: Presented by Gwendolyn Quezaire-Presutti, dramatist, historian, and storyteller, Woventales Productions LLC
A central figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Zora Neale Hurston was a woman of enormous intelligence and talent. An outstanding novelist, journalist, folklorist, and anthropologist, Hurston believed in the beauty of black expressions and traditions. Her books Mules and Men and Their Eyes Were Watching God celebrate African American culture.
Although her work was praised by many, some attacked it, focusing on Hurston’s lifestyle and personality—her audaciousness, independence, and arrogance.
June 18: Edith Wharton’s Lenox: Presented by Cornelia Brooke Gilder, Berkshire historian and author
In 1900 Edith Wharton burst into the settled summer colony of Lenox, long-frequented by her husband’s gentle, conservative family. Still in her thirties and merely an aspiring novelist, she was already a ferocious aesthete and intellect. Amidst the shingled country houses of the Berkshires, she and Teddy planned a defiantly classical villa. There at The Mount she became a bestselling novelist with The House of Mirth in 1905.
As a hostess, designer, gardener and writer, Edith Wharton set high standards that delighted many—including Ambassador Joseph Choate, and sculptor Daniel Chester French—but she could also alienate potent figures like Emily Vanderbilt Sloane and Georgiana Welles Sargent with her perceptive and sometimes tactless pen.
Admission is $4 ($2 for members of the Springfield Museums); visitors are invited to bring a bag lunch (cookies and coffee are provided by Big Y).
All lectures marked with an asterisk * are followed by a members-only continuing conversation led by a Museums docent or curator.
Free onsite parking is available. For more information about Museums à la Carte, call 413.263.6800, ext. 488.