Small Wonders from the American Collections
- Dates: On view since October 15, 2008
- Collections: American Art
- Location: On view in Visible Storage ▪ Study Center, 5th Floor
- Description: Small Wonders from the American Collections. [10/15/2008---/--/20--]. Installation view.
- Citation: Brooklyn Museum. Digital Collections and Services (DIG_E_2008_Small)
- Source: born digital
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September 2008: More than 350 additional objects from the Museum’s renowned American holdings will be installed in the Luce Visible Storage ? Study Center, bringing the total number of works on view in the Center to 2,500. These objects will be installed in forty-two publicly accessible drawers in a phased installation beginning in mid-October and continuing over several months. To celebrate this expansion, an exhibition of seventy highlights from the drawers and related objects from the collection, Small Wonders from the American Collection will be on view October 15 through June 28, 2009.
The drawers will contain of a wide range of objects from the Americas, including art of the United States as well as of the indigenous and colonial peoples of North and South America, and dating from the pre-Columbian period to the present day. Each drawer will be covered in Plexiglas, providing protection for and visual access to the objects. The works vary in medium, date, and geographical origin but share a diminutive scale and suitability for flat storage. Among them will be American and Hopi ceramic tiles, Mexican pottery stamps, jewelry and other ornaments from Native and South American cultures, modernist jewelry, silverplated flatware and serving pieces, Spanish Colonial devotional objects, American portraits and mourning miniatures, commemorative medals, and embroidery.
Small Wonders from the American Collection, exploring a range of the cultural traditions and artistic practices that constitute American art, will be installed on the walls and in display cases above the drawers in an alcove created for temporary exhibitions. A variety of jewelry and other objects of personal adornment though produced by different peoples function similarly to signify information about the wearer’s identity. Flatware, pins, and other silver items reflect a broad array of forms, styles, and uses. Ceramic tiles made contemporaneously by Native and non-Native Americans provide opportunities for cross-cultural comparisons related to decoration and marketing.
The Center, which opened in early 2005 with the installation of 2,100 objects in vitrines and on rolling paintings screens, provides greater access to the collections by presenting works in a more compact fashion than in a traditional gallery presentation. Objects in the Luce Visible Storage ? Study Center are organized in much the same manner as they are in closed storerooms, by medium and type. Two large, glass-walled bays contain nearly six hundred paintings on rolling racks, which are periodically rotated; there are also more than thirty vitrined storage cases with Plexiglas walls for large- and small-scale three-dimensional objects such as furniture, silver, ceramics, glass, sculpture, and industrial design. Throughout the Visible Storage ? Study Center, works are labeled with accession numbers, which may be entered in to nearby computers or at www.brooklynmuseum.org/research/luce to access detailed information about each work on display.
Both the drawer installation and Small Wonders from the American Collection are organized by a team of curators who are responsible for various parts of the American collections, including Karen A. Sherry, Assistant Curator of American Art; Barry Harwood, Curator of Decorative Arts; Judith Dolkart, Associate Curator of European Art; Nancy Rosoff, Andrew W. Mellon Curator, Arts of the Americas; and Susan Kennedy Zeller, Associate Curator, Arts of the Americas. The Luce Visible Storage ? Study Center is a part of the Luce Center for American Art.