Director's Note 11/1/17

November 1, 2017

Sculptures are making their way indoors: Marta Pan’s Floating Sculpture left the pond over a period of two days, its bright red only partly eclipsed by the flaming maples. Emilie Clark’s Research Station rolled back into the barn, where the fish will continue to swim and the plants will continue to grow under a light. When I last looked up, Samuel Buri’s cows were still perched on the bank, but I know they will be inside before long, enjoying winter beside the pool, sheltering alongside George Rickey’s Peristyle – Three Lines. Fo Wilson’s installation, Eliza’s Peculiar Cabinet of Curiosities, hosted its last field trip of the season today; both the cabinet and the Bonsai Exhibit will be closing for the winter.

How do the rest of us get through the winter at Lynden? We count birds, we make things, we find new ways to think about the outdoor sculpture collection (we also ice skate, snowshoe, and cross-country ski when weather permits).

Holiday gift-making begins at Lynden this weekend, and will continue into December. Workshops range from simple activities suitable for families with smaller children to more advanced workshops for adults. This month’s workshops include two book-related workshops with Cary Suneja: paper marbling and bookbinding. Take both and produce a beautiful handmade book with marbled endpapers. David Cobb and David Weissman show us how to make our own wooden cutting boards, and pass out bread and cheese for a trial run at the end of the afternoon. Claire Hitchcock Tilton teaches you how to make felted slippers just in time to keep your toes warm over Thanksgiving. And all the family can participate in Feed the Birds, a drop-in workshop with Naomi Cobb that will send you home with suet feeders to keep your backyard birds happy during the cold months. (We also have a special pre-holiday art drop-in all afternoon on Wednesday, November 22 if you need an activity for your children the day before Thanksgiving.)

We embark on our fourth season of bird-counting for the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project FeederWatch this month. The volunteers at FeederWatch sites relay simple, standardized counts of the birds at their feeders to a central database, helping scientists study changes in the distribution and abundance of feeder birds over time. We have established bird feeders on the grounds, using the recommended seeds to attract birds through the seasons; and we provide binoculars and color charts to help with identification and comfortable (indoor) places for watchers to sit while counting. Now, we need citizen scientists of all ages and experience levels to join us on our siting days to help tally our observations for the project.

As winter closes in, we are filling the gallery with smaller works by the artists whose sculptures punctuate Lynden’s landscape. Among the pieces: a recently-acquired set of five Tony Smith posters for The Wandering Rocks, just outside the window; a wall relief by Heinz Mack; and sculptures originally collected by Mrs. Bradley from the Bradley Family Foundation collection and on loan from the Milwaukee Art Museum. We are accustomed to seeing Barbara Hepworth in some kind of proximity with Tony Smith on the grounds; we routinely walk past an Aldo Calo to reach a Masayuki Nagare and then a Henry Moore. Indoors, we shake things up a bit, creating new relationships and illuminating different facets of the work of these artists. The exhibition , which opens without fanfare later this week, remains on view through February 18.

And all that scurrying about in the conference room? We are preparing for the arrival of the jurors for the 2017 Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Mary L. Nohl Fund Fellowships for Individual Artists. Applications are being checked, images and videos are being loaded onto computers, notebooks are being compiled. You are all cordially invited to attend the public talk given by this year’s jurors--Michelle Jacques, Chief Curator, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada; Allison Peters Quinn, Director of Exhibitions & Residency Programs, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago; and Gabriel Ritter, Curator and Head of Contemporary Art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art—at the Haggerty Museum of Art on Thursday, November 6. The event is free and open to the public, with a reception at 6 pm followed by the talk at 6:30 pm.

Don’t forget to bring your dog for a post-Thanksgiving walk on Nov. 25.

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