Art is the Handmaid of Human Good

Life in Lowell, Massachusetts, USA

Addison Gallery of American Art


January 4th 2013
On Saturday I went out to Andover to visit the Addison Gallery of American Art for the first time. The reason for the visit was to see ‘the kids are all right’ because my sister-in-law, Julie, has two photographs in the show. I am really glad that I both got to see the show (it was the last day – hello, procrastinator!) and visit the museum.

The Addison is a small museum on the Phillips Academy campus. It, as the name suggests, features American art. When I visited, there were four exhibitions – Flash Back—November 22, 1963, James Prosek: The Spaces in Between, Natural Selections, and the kids are all right. I enjoyed all four, but was especially impressed with James Proseck and the kids are all right.

Flash Back—November 22, 1963 coincides with the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination and both investigates the lasting impact of that event and explores the power of media. All of the artwork in this exhibition used documentary images. The largest piece in the show is Andy Warhol’s Flash—November 22, 1963.

Natural Selections highlights art in the Addison’s permanent collection and looked to explore how artists (and us) interpret and engage with the natural world. The pieces were arranged in groupings, light, sky, flora, fauna, etc. It was interesting to see various interpretations of nature via time periods (and what was in fashion during that time,) media, and perspective.

James Prosek: The Spaces in Between was really interesting. I went in knowing nothing about the artist (other than that one of my Twitter friends was really hoping to see the show but was going to miss it) and I was captivated by his work. According to the description “…Prosek’s art invites viewers to engage with realms that science cannot quantify or solve—those spaces in between fact and folklore, science and myth, real and imagined.” It definitely did that. Two of my favorite pieces were of a flying fox. One was a very detailed painting of the fox (similar to Audubon’s birds,) and the other was a taxidermied specimen of the flying fox with lady’s slippers. The last day of the show was Saturday, but the Addison has a Pinterest board that you should check out. Peacock and Cobra was also amazing to see, the rendering of the moon is amazing.

the kids are all right explored the idea of family using photography and video. It was really interesting to see all of the different interpretations of the idea of family in the show, and there were quite a few pieces that I wanted to know more about (and spent a good amount of time imagining stories for the photographs as I was looking at them.)

I was really impressed with the Addison, both with the exhibitions and the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. I am a bit disappointed that it took me ten years of living so close to the museum to finally visit it, but that is definitely something that will be rectified in the future. There is a Whistler exhibition coming up (it begins on February 1st) that I definitely want to visit.


2 thoughts on “Addison Gallery of American Art

  1. I don’t know if you remember that I went to PA…and of course in my 4 years I only went into the Addison a couple of times, for art assignments, I think. Typical. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s