Sneak Peek: Colby College Art Museum

chuck close ansel adams

{That’s Chuck Close in tapestry form. Yes, tapestry! And also a lovely Ansel Adams}

Yesterday, Michael and I got to tag along on a media preview of the new Colby College art museum. Michael and I both went to Colby (actually, my parents met there too, so our Colby blood runs deep!), and it’s even where we got married nearly five years ago.

I’ve been calling it the new art museum, but there was a great museum there before. What we got to see yesterday is actually an enormous addition built to accommodate 500 new works that were donated by Peter and Paula Lunder, also Colby alums. The new addition makes the Colby art museum the largest exhibition space in the state.

colby museum lobby

The lobby is filled with modern furniture and contemporary artwork like this flashing light stick and a mirrored work that’s great for taking selfies (although I am sure the artist did not intend on that as a use!).

colby museum 2 We got a wonderful tour of the new space from art director Sharon Corwin, who shared a little about the process of curating a collection that ranges from Georgia O’Keefe to Mary Cassatt to Sol Lewitt and James McNeill Whistler, with a little of everything in between. Instead of organizing the pieces chronologically, they’ve chosen to arrange the works thematically, which I absolutely loved. I think it’s a much nicer way to experience the art, when you can recognize similarities between different pieces or different time periods and learn about the varying treatment and representation of themes.

colby museum I’ve been thinking about this piece since we left yesterday. It’s an installation designed by Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam War Memorial. Lin designed a template, which was sent to Colby along with all of those pins, and museum interns spent three weeks hammering the pins in to create this river. What struck me is how temporary that artwork is – when the pins are removed, the art goes too. Similarly, the museum has a Sol Lewitt painted wall that the museum has the rights to for ten years. After ten years, either they renew the lease or paint over it. I just find the idea of leasing the rights to art, and sending a template and a box of pins, so fascinating.

my boys at colby museum

Taking photos of a museum while you’re on a tour is a little difficult (too many people in the way!), so I took a few of these two dudes to liven up my pictures. Michael was fairly preoccupied with his tattoo, which he had finished the night before. And that’s my dad, who also happens to be the excellent editor of the Colby alumni magazine, and wrote about the Lunders’ decision to send their artwork to Colby. You can read more about it here.

All in all, if you ever find yourself in lovely central Maine, you’ll definitely have to make a pitstop at the Colby Museum of Art on the way to have an ice cream in China Village! And if you’re around Colby this weekend, there’s a public opening on Saturday with lots of activities for the whole family!

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One comment on Sneak Peek: Colby College Art Museum

  1. Christine says:

    I’ve vacationed in Maine all 43 years of my life and think it would be great if one or all of my kids went to college there. (They are only middle schoolers now.) Two years ago, my husband and I took our three kids to see Bowdoin and its art museum was having a great Hopper exhibit. We planned to bring them to Colby when we are in Maine later this month and am thrilled that we will find great art there too!

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