Friday, September 21, 2012

Day 8/60: Spencer Museum of Art

Sunday, 9/16: Hays to Lawrence, 230 mi, I-70

Dan was worried when we first awoke because the fog was as thick as pea soup. By the time we left at 10 a.m., it had lifted enough that there was enough visibility to drive. The day was mostly cloudy.

Our objective was to get to Lawrence, Kansas with enough time to take in the Spencer Museum of Art at the University of Kansas. We arrived at 1:30, giving us 2 1/2 hours before the museum closed at 4 p.m.

Entrance to the Spencer Museum of Art
Dan's photo
The Spencer is a small museum, crammed with art exhibits.

An exhibit on the roles of black women in the 19th C. by a woman from South Africa named Mary Sibande featured fanciful clothing of household servants.

In order to show off their one painting by Vasari, they brought in a few other paintings from the period for a little show on Vasari's influence.

The upper floor was given over to their 20th C. art. It was a big jumble, with paintings stacked up to the ceiling with no discernible order, sometimes hidden by sculpture.

This jumbled presentation is maddening for photographers.
Jan's photo
Dan's major objective in visiting this museum was to bag a shot of an important painting by Thomas Hart Benton. He managed to get a good shot despite the poor arrangement of the art.

The Ballad of the Jealous Lover of Lone Green Valley,
by Thomas Hart Benton 1934, Dan's photo
Here are a few more highlights.

Violet Persian Set with Red Lip Wraps by Dale Chihuly
Dan's photo
Untitled (Stack), 1967, by Donald Judd
Jan's photo
Figure with Flowers, 1961, by Paul Wonner
 Jan's photo

A special treat for me was a sounding sculpture by Bertoia that we were actually allowed to touch; the vibration of the thin vertical rods sounds like rainfall or a run on a harp.

One glass cabinet had a witty group of small sculptures, as shown in my photos below. The two standing figures are by 19th Century sculptors: in the background was Swords into Plowshares by Frenchman Edouard Drouot. The yawning figure is by Englishman Frederic Leighton. The bust in the foreground is by a 20th Century artist who is known for his paintings of contemporary black men in traditional poses, Kehinde Wiley.

The classical style lives on
St. Francis of Adelaide by Kehinde Wiley, born 1977
Jan's photo
After our tour of the museum, we made an auto tour of campus. It is located on the only hilly ground in flat Kansas, or so it seems. It has many stately old buildings of native stone.

We both ate dinner at Montana Mike's, a short drive from our motel. Dan had a small steak. I had shrimp salad. It was an ordinary family place with good service.

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