In This Case: Fall into the Gap
November 20, 2012
I've had dreams about WPA murals measuring forty inches wide. Visions of playful, contemporary teapots that stand eight inches tall have danced in my head. This is what the gaps in the Luce Foundation Center's cases have done to me! But these gaps also present the exciting opportunity to put a fresh artwork from storage out on view at the museum. Here's how it works.
The Luce Center is an open storage area displaying artworks that are part of the museum's permanent collection but not on exhibition. While we don't intentionally rotate these displays, art leaves Luce when it's chosen to go on loan, to an exhibition, or on view in a different part of the museum. If a piece will leave the Luce Center for longer than one year, we have a "gap" that needs to be filled. And that's where Team Luce come in! We measure the space, research American Art's collection, and work together with staff from our curatorial, conservation, and registrar's departments to narrow down our replacement choices. The ultimate goal is an artwork that will fit—physically, aesthetically, chronologically, thematically, and perfectly—right into the gap.
Visitors may still see gaps in some cases even though we're working so diligently to fill them. That's because spots need to be saved for works that will return within a year's time. Artworks that leave for longer than one year may still be welcomed back, but often placed in different gaps in different cases, such as Peter Blume's Vegetable Dinner, previously on loan to the Brooklyn Museum and now in Case 36b.
This is how works come in and go out of our open storage area. Recent additions include Dan Anderson's Water Tower Teapot in Case 53b, Robert P. Baker's Sanctuary of Dreams in Case 19b, and George Catlin's unique and already popular Tcha-aés-ka-ding, Grandson of Buffalo Bull's Back Fat in Case 3a. All were previously in storage, so this is a great time to see them. Keep your eyes open for even more additions. Your favorite artwork may have just been installed!
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