The Fleming Museum of Art is excited to announce the completion of a five-part video series, that allows Museum guests to experience the recent Wood Gaylor exhibition, Let’s Have a Ball!: Wood Gaylor and the New York Art Scene, 1913–1936, from the comfort of their own home. Created in response to the Museum’s temporary closure during the COVID-19 crisis, the series features Fleming Curator Andrea Rosen and Curator of Education Alice Boone as they discuss the work of the artist set against the backdrop of the New York art scene.
The videos are part of a larger plan for the production of remote visitor engagement content written into a recent federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act grant the Museum received from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Each short video provides a unique and interesting way for viewers to experience the exhibition since the Museum’s closure. Produced with each participant recording their contributions remotely at home, the content was then edited together by Chris Dissinger, the Museum’s assistant director and manager of outreach and visitor engagement, to create a seamless production.
Wood Gaylor was a prime mover in the modern art world from the teens to the thirties, but has not received the attention either his role or his work merits. Curated by Rosen in consultation with independent art historian Dr. Christine Isabelle Oaklander, the exhibition Let’s Have a Ball spotlights Gaylor’s social and artistic contributions to American modernism in the early twentieth century. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, available to order online through ISDistribution and Amazon, and will travel to the Heckscher Museum of Art in Huntington, NY, this coming winter and the Ogunquit Museum of American Art, ME, next summer.
Each video focuses on a different aspect of Gaylor’s work, including his theatrical presentations of his social scene, the artists who inspired him, and the exciting archival sources Rosen discovered in her research. In the last two episodes, Rosen and Boone put Gaylor’s work in the context of present-day social issues, including the use of posters to support healthcare workers, and the formation and exclusion of groups based on racial identity.
“It was a genuine pleasure to collaborate with my brilliant colleagues Alice and Chris on this video series, which allowed us to explore and share nuanced aspects of the Wood Gaylor exhibition that wouldn’t be possible in any other format,” said Rosen, “Though this was a forced innovation due to the pandemic closure, it is a promising avenue for us going forward.”
With the funds received from the CARES grant, the Museum looks to continue the work they began during the pandemic-related closure, including the launch of a comprehensive online collections database portal and this video series.
“Our success with these virtual endeavors has encouraged us to broaden the scope of our work and, in doing so, not only fulfill our mission but also expand our reach and draw in a more diverse audience,” said Dissinger.
The Museum plans to expand on what they have already achieved and produce a rich portfolio of both online and interactive programming including virtual online tours crafted in response to the requests of K-12 classes, live-stream video discussions between artist and curator, and quality video productions that contemplate objects and themes in the Museum’s permanent collection.
The Museum currently plans to open on September 15th with a new exhibition that explores through the permanent collection some of the urgent issues facing the world today. COVID-19 safety precautions will be in place including social distancing, mandatory masks, and a continuous cleaning and disinfecting schedule. Further details about the opening and exhibition and program offerings will be provided later this summer.
The University of Vermont’s Fleming Museum of Art serves as a gateway for active cultural exchange and critical thinking and has presented diverse artistic traditions for over 85 years. The Museum is Vermont’s premier public showplace for exhibitions, education, and scholarship about local and world cultures, both historical and contemporary. For more information please visit the Fleming Museum’s website at www.flemingmuseum.org.
The Fleming Museum of Art is deeply grateful to the generous sponsors who helped us to realize our goal of bringing our collections online including the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the 1675 Foundation, Joan Kalkin and Eugene Kalkin ’50, and James and Judith Pizzagalli.