The Bruce Museum – exhibitions that span centuries, historical and contemporary subjects

by leslierankowfinearts

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THE BRUCE MUSEUM EPITOMIZES  THE COMMITMENT THAT A STRONG COMMUNITY PROVIDES ITS  FAMILIES WITH  A DIVERSITY OF  EDUCATIONAL AND ENTERTAINING ACTIVITIES SUCH AS BEAUTIFULLY CURATED  EXHIBITIONS, SOPHISTICATED LECTURES AND GALA EVENTS,  AND ACCESS TO THE WORLD OF  ART GALLERIES AND ARTISTS’ STUDIOS.  THE BRUCE IS ALWAYS SEEKING OUT EXCELLENT TRAVELING EXHIBITIONS  AS WELL AS CURATING THEIR OWN IN THE AREAS OF BOTH ART AND SCIENCE AND  WORKING TO ENCOURAGE THE  SUPPORT OF  THE MUSEUM IN ANY NUMBER OF WAYS.  THESE INCLUDE DONATIONS, BOTH MONETARY AND TANGIBLE,  AND ACCOUNT FOR ITS  WEALTH OF OBJECTS IN THE PERMANENT  COLLECTION AND ITS  FINANCIAL WHEREWITHAL TO EXPAND ITS INFLUENCE TO THE BENEFIT OF ALL.

TODAY, AUNDREA AMINE, RESIDENT OF GREENWICH, TRUSTEE AND LOYAL SUPPORTER OF THE BRUCE WILL OUTLINE JUST A FEW.

AUNDREA, WELCOME BACK.  WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PAST EXHIBITIONS AT THE BRUCE THAT WERE THE MOST WELL-RECEIVED AND ATTENDED? IS THERE A PATTERN OF INTEREST IN CERTAIN TYPES OF EXHIBITIONS OVER OTHERS?

The Bruce covers a wide range of topics in its exhibitions, which are tailored to its key audiences – students and educators, families and children, culture seekers and adults, art connoisseurs and

collectors. Families are always drawn to hands-on science or interdisciplinary shows, and some of the most popular were Designing Dinosaurs: Solving Prehistoric Puzzles, Ben Franklin’s Curious Mind, The Real and Imagined: Animals in Children’s Book Illustration, Robotics and the current show Chinasaurs: Dinosaur Discoveries from China. Art exhibitions at the Bruce have included major artists from Rembrandt and Rubens to Monet, Alexander Calder and Damien Hirst. Particularly well-attended were themed shows, such as  Best in Show: Dogs in Art from the Renaissance to the Present, Reclaimed: Paintings from the Collection of Jacques Goudstikker and Love Letters: Dutch Genre Paintings in the Age of Vermeer. This show was quickly referred to as the “Vermeer Show” since it brought to the Bruce the first Vermeer painting ever shown in Connecticut.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FUTURE EXHIBITIONS AT THE BRUCE THAT YOU ANTICIPATE IN THE NEXT YEAR OR TWO AHEAD?

The Bruce has a rich and varied roster of exhibitions planned for the next two years, starting with Revised and Restored: The Art of Kathleen Gilje opening in May, an overview of Gilje’s satirically pointed and technically adroit reincarnations of iconic Old Master and nineteenth century paintings. Gilje’s contemporary paintings are complemented by a simultaneous exhibition of prints from Durer to Whistler from the collection of Dr. Dorrance Kelly.

The summer season will feature Flags Across America: The Photographs of Robert Carley, a Darien native and artist who, following the September 11 attacks, made it his avocation to capture the American spirit by taking photographs of Old Glory in many different forms – including a chain-link fence, a pick-up truck, a surfboard and a farm silo. Dr. Kelly’s American Realism prints will be exhibited at the same time as the Closer: The Graphic Art of Chuck Close, an exhibition that features a dazzling selection of Close’s portraits on paper.

The just opened science exhibition Eggs-hibition: Unscrambling their History runs until November when it is replaced by an exhibition on the history and science of Oysters and then another in our series of exhibitions on

 Extreme Habitats entitled Into the Deep Sea. This is just a sampling of the many art and science offerings planned at the Bruce where 12-16 changing exhibitions are mounted each year.

IT IS SUCH AN IMPRESSIVE ROSTER OF EXHIBITS, WIDE-RANGING AND INTRIGUING.  I KNOW HOW MUCH WORK IS INVOLVED IN ORGANIZING A SINGLE EXHIBITION, THE CURATORIAL DECISIONS, THE LOAN REQUESTS,  AND THE ENORMOUS PRACTICAL CONSIDERATIONS SUCH AS  INSURANCE, SHIPPING, AND CATALOGUING.  WHAT AN EXTRAORDINARY CONTRIBUTION THE CURATORIAL DEPARTMENT MAKES  TO KEEP THE BRUCE AN ACTIVE AND WELL-ATTENDED MUSEUM.

YOU ARE SO ACTIVELY INVOLVED IN THE FUND-RAISING ACTIVITIES OF THE BRUCE. SINCE WE BEGAN WORKING TOGETHER, I HAVE BECOME MUCH MORE FAMILIAR WITH THE EXTRAORDINARY RANGE OF ACTIVITIES THAT THE BRUCE SPONSORS AND SUSTAINS. WHAT EVENTS DO YOU FIND MOST EFFECTIVE? WHICH ONES ARE THE MOST FUN?

There are multiple ways to measure the effectiveness of an event: Financial, cultivation and general outreach to the community.The Bruce hosts many events over the course of each year. From exhibition-related lectures and Family Days to fundraisers such as the Renaissance Ball, there is always something happening at the Bruce and there is truly something for everyone. The Family Benefit can be credited with being the most successful in terms of cultivation and community outreach.

The Renaissance Ball is the most successful in terms of fundraising. The most fun? … they’re all fun, in their own way.

THE THREE BENEFITS HELD EACH YEAR TO SUPPORT THE EXHIBITION AND EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS INCLUDE THE CELEBRATED RENAISSANCE BALL, THE ICON AWARDS IN THE ARTS, AND THE FAMILY BENEFIT. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CHARACTER OF EACH OF THESE EVENTS?

ehhUvxkbJX-zrxq3hKzeoxITX1BMIScfXbVDt84S-sgThe Renaissance Ball is an opportunity to dress up, catch up with friends and have a great time, all while supporting the Bruce.The Icon Awards in the Arts is a celebration of those who contribute to the arts; artists, patrons, collectors, historians, critics and dealers.The Family Benefit is all about the kids. Watching them enjoy the Bruce and seeing the Museum through their eyes… it’s a great feeling and a wonderful experience.

THE MUSEUM IS LOCATED ON A BEAUTIFUL HILL TOP PROPERTY AND SPONSORS SEVERAL OUTDOOR FESTIVALS EACH YEAR AS WELL. WHAT ARE THEY AND WHEN DO THEY TAKE PLACE?

The Bruce holds two outdoor festivals each year: the contemporary crafts show in May, typically one week before Memorial Day, and the fine art show, typically on Columbus Day weekend.

Each show features approximately 80 strictly juried artists from around the country who sell their handmade jewelry, wearables, furniture, pottery, leather goods etc. in the former, and paintings, drawings, graphic work, mixed media, sculpture and photography in the latter during these two-day events. The artists are always present in their booths and enjoy explaining their work and techniques to the visitors. Live music, children’s hands-on activities and a variety of delicious foods contribute to the festive and fun atmosphere.

IN OUR NEXT BLOG, AUNDREA DESCRIBES THE PRIVILEGES THAT MEMBERS AND PATRONS OF THE MUSEUM CAN ENJOY. IN MY EXPERIENCE, THE OPPORTUNITY TO VISIT  INDIVIDUAL PRIVATE  COLLECTIONS, ARTIST STUDIOS AND PRIVATE  MUSEUM  EXHIBITIONS  LEAD BY A CURATOR  IS ONE OF THE GREATEST AND MOST ENJOYABLE PERKS FOR ME AND MY CLIENTS.

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS FOR AUNDREA OR THE STAFF AT THE BRUCE OF WAYS TO ENRICH YOUR LOCAL MUSEUM, FIRE AWAY!

UNTIL NEXT TIME…