Springfield Museums, Exhibits
November 4 - December 9
The Art of Observation The Best of Photographer Elliott Erwitt, through – January 12, 2020, D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
BAUHAUS: 100 Years Later, through – February 16, 2020, D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
Fanny Palmer: The Artist behind Currier & Ives’s Greatest Prints, through -February 23, 2020, D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
Sweet: A Tasty Journey, through – April 26, 2020, Wood Museum of Springfield History
People at Work and Other Environmental Portraits by Tad Malek, through – July 12, 2020, D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
Sweet: A Tasty Journey October 26, 2019, to April 26, 2020, in the Wood Museum of Springfield History. This interactive, hands-on, immersive exhibit blends fun and learning to create a unique experience, one that will be savored by all generations.
Sweet takes candy from a “farm to fork” perspective, peeling back the label of our favorite sugary confections. Visitors can engage with the stories from famous candy-makers and chocolatiers and get into the nuts and sprinkles of chocolate making, getting up-close and personal with real factory equipment. They will engage with both the history of candy and its current role within popular culture while exploring this fun and colorful environment.
A giant version of Candyland, a Milton Bradley game, is one of many interactive stations that lead visitors on an adventure not unlike the game of Candyland itself. Plus, the exhibit stations ignite the senses—taste, smell, sound, and sight as well as touch.
The centerpiece of this exhibition is the Rock Candy Mountain, which offers visitors an exciting experience sprinkled with interactive displays, Instagrammable moments, and photo opportunities.
As a companion exhibit to Sweet: A Tasty Journey, the Wood Museum of Springfield History is highlighting local historical stories with Sweet on Springfield: The Confection Connection. November 29, 2019–April 26, 2020 at the Wood Museum of Springfield History.
The Art of Observation The Best of Photographer Elliott Erwitt
November 9, 2019–January 12, 2020
D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
With a keen visual sense and finely honed wit, Elliott Erwitt illuminates connective moments in life that make even the small and the individual feel universal. The artist, who continues to hone his craft at the age of 91, describes his work this way: “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place. I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
Erwitt (American, born 1928) is a documentary photographer who has captured iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, Jackie Kennedy, and more recently Michelle and Barack Obama among others. “We are delighted to share the extraordinary black and white images of Elliott Erwitt, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century,” said Heather Haskell, Director of the Art Museums and Vice-President of the Springfield Museums.
Considered a master of his craft, Erwitt’s images are often funny, and sometimes heart-rending. The images make the viewer stop and look; they allow the viewer to share a feeling. “I observe,” Erwitt remarked in 1988, “I try to entertain, but above all I want pictures that are emotion. Little else interests me in photography.”
“His photographs are insightful,” said Maggie North, Acting Curator of Art. “The images extract humor and poignancy from everyday life. His subjects range from children to dogs to couples, and little moments as well as monumental ones.”
The Springfield Museums will share more than ninety images in this exhibition, which will be presented in the D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts. Both artful and accessible, this exhibit will appeal to a broad audience simply because of the power of the images, North said. At the same time, the exhibit allows visitors to better understand the larger context of photography in the 20th century. “Erwitt’s photographs are clever and fascinating; they also tell a broader story about innovations in photography, as well as history’s triumphs and tribulations,” said North.
Born in 1928 in Paris, France, Erwitt’s family emigrated to the United States in 1939, he went on to study photography at Los Angeles Community College, filmmaking at the New School for Social Research, and later worked as a photojournalist. After serving in the Army in the early 1950s, he was invited by war photographer Robert Capa to join Magnum Photos, which also included pioneering photographers Edward Steichen and Roy Stryker. In the 1970s, Erwitt expanded his work beyond photography and began making films, and both documentary and comedy television. While actively working for magazines, and industrial and advertising clients, Erwitt has created books and exhibitions of his photography. To date, he has published more than 25 photography books many of which focus on one of his favorite subjects: dogs.
“Erwitt frequently photographed the antics and loyalty of dogs, examples of which will be on display in the show,” said Haskell. “We know that our visitors will leave the exhibition not only impressed with the wide-range of images Erwitt created over the past 60-plus years, but also with a smile at his compositional wit and humor.”
As Erwitt stated about his work, “You can find pictures anywhere. It’s simply a matter of noticing things and organizing them. You just have to care about what’s around you and have a concern with humanity and the human comedy.”
“Erwitt’s profound art of observation is revealed in each of the photographs in the exhibition,” said Haskell. “We look forward to sharing the extraordinary images with our visitors.”
August 6, 2019–February 23, 2020
Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
Although her designs adorned the walls of homes and businesses across the United States, the name Frances (Fanny) Flora Bond Palmer (1812-1876) remains largely unknown. The Springfield Museums will celebrate the accomplishments of this important and talented lithographer with the new exhibit Fanny Palmer: The Artist behind Currier & Ives’s Greatest Prints, opening August 6 at the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, and on display through February 23, 2020.
Currier & Ives prints, some scholars suggest, were like the Instagram of the 19th century because of their popularity and their ubiquity—everyone had at least one print on display in their home or business. Before partnering with James Merritt Ives in 1857, Nathaniel Currier established a successful New York City-based lithography firm in 1835. He produced thousands of hand-colored prints that together created a vivid panorama of American life. Among the many artists he employed was Fanny Palmer, who was already an accomplished printmaker when she arrived in the city from England in 1843. As an artist and designer who was also able to transfer her compositions to lithographic stones for printing, Palmer was invaluable to the firm. Currier & Ives relied on many different hands—artists, lithographers, colorists, and salesmen—to produce in great number the spectacular American scenes people collected with enthusiasm. By the time Currier & Ives became a household name, Palmer was well on her way to producing hundreds of images that contributed to the success of the company.
Though she passed away at the young age of 64, Palmer’s 26-year career with Currier & Ives left a lasting legacy.
Gaspar’s Chickens #1 (Hadley, MA), 2016, photograph by Tad Malek, loan courtesy of the artist.
People at Work and Other Environmental Portraits by Tad Malek
August 13, 2019–July 12, 2020
D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts
Striving to connect with the contemplative solitude of remote natural environments, Malek, a resident of Northampton, MA, began his photographic journey producing color landscapes. Today, inspired by the stark honesty and compositional genius of photographers such as Dorthea Lang, Fan Ho, and Vivian Maier, he works almost entirely in black and white.
With his environmental portraits, Malek seeks to capture unique and authentic moments of people at work in Western Massachusetts and around the world. Sometimes candid, sometimes posed, these momentary snapshots provide a glimpse into the lives and narratives beyond the lens. This exhibition features twenty-four works by Malek that embrace the unedited moments—the nuance, drama, comedy, and dignity—of daily life.
No art school had a more influential or lasting impact on 20th century art and design than the Bauhaus. Founded in 1919 by the German architect Walter Gropius (1883-1969), the Bauhaus’ curriculum aimed to unite fine art, architecture, design and craft with the goal of creating functional art that could be incorporated into daily life. Today, the streamlined designs and forward-looking aesthetic of the Bauhaus continues to inspire creative minds. This exhibition showcases work by major figures such as Josef Albers (1888-1976), Johannes Itten (1888–1967), Wassily Kandinsky (1866-1944), Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943), and others who were involved with the school between 1919 and 1933.