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The Curator Is In, January 5, 2012

Posted on by Minneapolis Institute of Arts

MIA: Our curators are now online. Feel free to ask them questions as usual, but they’ll also be asking YOU questions about the MIA and our collection. The 1st correct answer for each question receives 2 tix to our upcoming exhibition, The Sports Show or an Edo Pop t-shirt. Here we go!

MIA: 1st question: What legendary rock star and avid art collector visited the MIA during a 1989 concert tour to the Twin Cities?

James V.: Paul McCartney?

Taylor G.: Prince?

Dennis Michael Jon: Good guess, but not correct.

Stephen J. R.: Hummm. Sting?

Ana C. : Elton John?

Dennis Michael Jon: Another fine guess, but no.

Erica W.: Mick Jagger?

Sarah K.: Lars Ulrich

Taylor G.: David Bowie?

Patrick F.: Soul Asylum?

Erica M.: David Bowie

Alfred Y.: Michael Diamond?

Kristi C.: Michael Jackson?

Taylor G.: Lou Reed?

Shawn G.: Lou Reed?

MIA: Erica W., you are correct! Please email artsmia@artsmia.org with your mailing address and prize preference.

Jill B.: Springsteen

Roger L.: Mick jagger?

MIA: Roger, you are correct, but Erica W. beat you to the punch.

Shawn G.: Greetings from White Bear Lake! Our Art History class is currently online, and researching Gothic Cathedrals! We are curious as to what are some of the curatorial staff’s favorite sacred sites?

Jennifer Olivarez: As a modernist, I have to say one of my favorite sacred spaces is Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis by Eliel Saarinen in 1949 (with an addition in the 1950s by Eero Saarinen). They refined the design of their earlier church in Columbus, Indiana and made it intimate and spiritually uplifting without a lot of overt Christian symbolism. The simple materials and use of light are unbelievably effective, and show how well the Saarinens made use of simple materials (as did their fellow Finn, Alvar Aalto). It’s in town, too! I would also recommend Eero’s MIT Chapel in Massachusetts, a wonderful respite on a busy campus with a nondenomenational chapel.

Thomas Rassieur: I like a lot of them, but one of the first I ever saw still sticks with me… Wells Cathedral with the beautiful “scissor arches” and cascading stairway.

Dennis Michael Jon: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Greek Orthodox Church in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is a must see.

Eike Schmidt: La Cuba in Palermo – despite its name it’s not a club but a 12th century church, with perfect proportions.

Patrick Noon: the Sainte Chapelle Paris

Shawn G.: As a member of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s photography staff, I am curious if there will be any works related to auto racing in the upcoming Sports Show?

Thomas Rassieur: Shawn, it’s not my show, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Lartigue’s photo of a speeding car will be there.

Jennifer Olivarez: Here’s a fun one to start with. Which of the MIA’s period interiors have been reputed to be haunted?

Jennifer Olivarez: Hint: it’s more than one.

Thomas Rassieur: I thought it was your office.

Deborah S.: I have no idea, but I’m curious to know!

Jennifer Olivarez: I would call my office a period interior, for sure, but I’m not sure it’s haunted.

Jennifer Olivarez: Deborah: make a guess!

Jennifer Olivarez: Think period rooms and their ilk, not gallery spaces.

Deborah S.: Wild Guess: Grand Salon from the Hotel Gaillard

Jennifer Olivarez: Good guess, but no…try again.

Christy K.: The Connecticut Room?

Taylor G.: Connecticut Room?

Kristy C.: the Connecticut room

Jennifer Olivarez: Ding ding ding! That is ONE correct answer, perhaps the best known. The Paranormal Society of MN even gave it a visit. There are two others I am thinking of that might not be as well known to the public. Keep guessing!

MIA: Christy K. You are correct! Please email artsmia@artsmia.org with your mailing address and prize preference. Thanks!

Terri L.: I’m being teased! What’s the haunting all about?

Heather T.: Are the other 2 haunted areas of the MIA the Tudor Room and the Georgian Room?

MIA: Heather T. and Terri L., check out this Flickr set for a full haunted tour of the MIA.

Thomas Rassieur: Who has given the most works of art to the MIA?

Rachel McGarry: Tom, is this the same person who brought Rembrandt’s Lucretia to Minnesota?

Thomas Rassieur: Rachel, you’re getting warm.

Alice G. M.: Louis Hill

MIA: Alice, try again.

Chris W.: tee hee – the artists!

Matthew C.: Gotta be the Daytons

Shannon G.: Daytons ?

Alfred Y.: Pillsbury

Alice G. M.: Was it the Gates collection?

Deborah S.: James Hill

Shawn G.: The Little fasmily

Matthew C.: Bruce B. Dayton – over 2000 pieces of art.

Thomas Rassieur: Deborah, the donor that I have in mind gave over 5,000 times as many objects as James Hill.

Thomas Rassieur: Not Gates, not Pillsbury, not Little, not Dayton. Some of those were VERY generous, but this avid reader gave even more objects.

Catherine K. M.: Norwest Bank?

Thomas Rassieur: Norwest Bank produced a lot of paper, but the big donor produced even more.

Shawn G.: F Scott Fitzgerald

Shawn G.: Garrison Keillor?

Jennifer Olivarez: Catherine, good guess, but far fewer objects.

Thomas Rassieur: Shawn, you’re getting colder. Erika Holmquist-Wall suggested a great clue: When it comes to giving objects, no one can keep up with the [blanks].

Annik M.: Carl A. Weyerhaeuser?

Shawn G.: Kardashians?

Thomas Rassieur: Annik, not quite. But, he might have bought a lot of paper made from Weyerhaeuser trees.

Thomas Rassieur: Nice try Shawn, but remember that I said this guy could read.

Shawn G.: Joneses

Catherine K. M.: Dukes of Burgundy – monks?

Shawn G.: Adobe?

Thomas Rassieur: Catherine, I think Shawn beat you to the finish line! Herschel V. Jones, publisher of the Minneapolis Journal, gave the MIA approximately 6,000 prints. It is the cornerstone of the MIA’s extraordinary collection of prints from the 15th century to the present. You are welcome to come see them in the Herschel Jones Study Room for Prints and Drawings. I hope that Shawn will wear his winning t-shirt when he comes to visit!

Rebecca L.: Let’s hear it for journalists!

Patrick Noon: What was the very first artwork accessioned by the museum?

Sarah K.: Clouds and Hills by William Langdon lathrop?

Patrick Noon: correct, but deaccessioned in 1955

Eike Schmidt: How much does the – cleaned and soon to be revealed – statue of Saint Paul the Hermit by Andrea Bergondi weigh?

Thomas Rassieur: Let’s see… marble, over-life-size, hmmm, must be heavy…how about 487 kilos?

Eike Schmidt: Interns, this is not on TMS – guesses please!

Eike Schmidt: More than that, Tom!

MIA: 1950 lbs

Deborah S.: Does MIA actively collect Greek or Roman antiquities?

Eike Schmidt: Yes, we do, according to the AAM’s and AAMD’s guidelines, which amongst several other requirements includes provenance which goes back before January 1970. Unfortunately our last try to purchase an a Greek antiquity was not successful – the sculpture sold at auction beyond our budget.

Deborah S.: I’ve seen the UNESCO law. Buying antiquities must be difficult (which is a good thing) and expensive.

Jennifer Olivarez: It is very challenging to find great objects with clean provenance for consideration, you are very right, Deborah. But we continue to look.

Liz Armstrong: What year did the MIA hire their first curator of contemporary art?
Minneapolis Institute of Arts: 2008, Curator of Contemporary Art, Liz Armstrong

Erika Holmquist-Wall: Which two Impressionist works in the MIA’s collection were once owned by the Frick Collection in New York City?

Sarah K.: chestnut trees at jas de bouffan by cezanne, Tahitian landscape by gauguin?

Erika Holmquist-Wall: Oh, you’re a smartie with that TMS database at your fingertips! :)

Erika Holmquist-Wall: My bad – Gauguin is, of course, post-Impressionist!

Sarah K.: Lol I’m a-learnin!

Cameron K. G.: da Vinci restoration? To be, or not to be

Rachel McGarry: I doubt there will ever be any consensus about the Louvre’s decision to conserve this work by Leonardo…

Liz Armstrong: Who owned the MIA’s jade mountain before it came to the museum?

Dennis Michael Jon: With time running out, I believe it was T.B. Walker.

Rachel McGarry: Who is the youngest person to be appointed director of the MIA?

Rachel McGarry: The suspense must be killing everyone…so I’ll share the answer. It was Joseph Breck, who was appointed director in 1914 at the age of 29. He was actually approached by the board when he was just 28, and was wooed to Minneapolis from the Met. (where he was asst. curator of decorative arts) the following year by the million dollar Dunwoody bequest. He barely beats out Russell Plimpton, our longest serving director (1921-1956), who was appointed when he was 30.

Jennifer Olivarez: Nice potted history of the early MIA, Rachel!

Erika Holmquist-Wall: The MIA was the very first American museum to purchase works by which two 20th century masters?

Shawn G.: Chuck Close and Thomas Struth

Erika Holmquist-Wall: Shawn, my colleague Dennis Jon has just confirmed that the Walker was the first to purchase a Close, two years before the MIA. So you’re *ahem* close!

Erika Holmquist-Wall: Hint to my question: one’s Austrian, one’s British.

Alfred Y.: klimt?

Erika Holmquist-Wall: I wish we had a Klimt! You’re getting warmer.

Alfred Y.: shiele, egon?

Shawn G.: Thomas Struth and Mona Hatoum?

Alfred Y.: and david hockney?

Erika Holmquist-Wall: Alfred, you are correct on the Schiele. Here’s a hint for the second artist: he had a famously disorganized studio.

Alfred Y.: Freud, Lucien?

Alfred Y.: i have no idea

Alfred Y.: maybe Francis Bacon?

Erika Holmquist-Wall: Hooray!

MIA: Alfred Y. is our winner! Please email artsmia@artsmia.org with your mailing address and prize preference.

Alfred Y.: so was it bacon? or freud?

Nikki O.: Francis Bacon?

Alfred Y.: oh, okay

Erika Holmquist-Wall: It was Schiele and Bacon.

Liu Yang: MIA was among the earliest Western museums to show the famous Terracotta Warriors (we will have another large scale exhibition with new materials by this Oct). Do you know in which year MIA presented that show?

Matthew C.: 1985

Emily R.: 1985?

MIA: Matthew, you are our winner! Please email artsmia@artsmia.org with your mailing address and prize preference. Nice work!

Erika Holmquist-Wall: True or False: Once upon a time, Lucretia held a glass of wine…

Marissa M.: False

Emily R.: False

Erika Holmquist-Wall: Correct! The myth of the wineglass was introduced in a 1970s TV promo for the MIA.

Brody H.: true!

MIA: Marissa M. you are correct! Please email artsmia@artsmia.org with your mailing address and prize preference.

Jennifer Olivarez: What was the single largest gift to the MIA’s decorative arts collection in the past 25 years?

Patrick F.: Gallery of tea ceremony arts

Carissa G.: The P-C House?

Shawn G.: Charleston Drawing Room?

Jennifer Olivarez: Patrick, the tea ceremony arts are in the Japanese and Korean collection…sorry. Carissa, that is not the answer I had in mind, but I will give it to you! In terms of physical size, that is correct–the Purcell-Cutts House is the largest! I was thinking of the Herberger Bank collection, which is 1100 in number.

MIA: Carissa G. You win! Please email artsmia@artsmia.org with your mailing address and prize preference.

MIA: Another question: How many columns support the MIA’s main entrance (24th Street) portico?

Shawn G.: 6

Francisca M. R.: 6

Ana C.: I guess 5 then 7

Rachel W. N.: 6

Brad L.: One green, one yellow, two red, one blue and one orange.

MIA: Shawn, you are correct! Please email artsmia@artsmia.org with your mailing address and prize preference.

Jennifer Olivarez: What are the three major architect-designed sections (or wings) of the MIA, and who are the respective architects? (Give the dates if you know)

Jennifer Olivarez: Keep going, Emily….I want all three.

Carissa G.: The “old” part of the building is a McKim, Mead and White, is it not? I love gilded age/Beaux Arts architecture. -cg

Emily R.: McKim, Mead and White – 1915; Kenzo Tange – 1974; Michael Graves – 2006

Carissa G.: Plus, the old building has the most elegant elevator I’ve ever been in AND a grand staircase. Both make me swoon. -cg

Jennifer Olivarez: Yes, you win, Emily! Thanks for your guess!

Emily R.: Thanks for having such a great website! :) All this searching/researching is very educational! I love it!
Jennifer Olivarez: Carissa, yes, it is definitely considered Beaux Arts, and is a beautiful space for us to use.

MIA: Emily R. is our winner! Please email artsmia@artsmia.org with your mailing address and prize preference.

Kristy C.: Michael Graves 2006, Kenzo Tange 1974, McKim , Mead and White 1915

MIA: Thanks for playing! Our curators will be back again Feb. 2., 1-2 p.m. See you then!

Anita L.: Freaky, just came back from MIA with my daughters school field trip and the first post was yours.

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