8/30/2018 Peter Durantine

New Exhibits, New Look Opens Phillips Museum of Art

Even a gem can dull over time, so Franklin & Marshall’s Phillips Museum of Art was polished this summer with vibrant paint, updated lighting and refinished floors. The newly arranged space displays the fall exhibits, from never-before-seen collection items to pop-up books and from photography to etchings. 

“Nissley Gallery is undergoing a complete transformation as part of a two-phase process, thanks to the generosity of Thomas Nissley '55 and his wife, Emily Baldwin Nissley,” said Amy Moorefield, director of the Franklin & Marshall College museum. 

For this reinstallation of the Nissley, museum staff removed old cases, pedestals and outdated lighting and replaced them with custom pedestals, mounts and LED lighting. They covered the walls in a dark granite paint, against which 100 pieces from the permanent collection will show. 

  • Elliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928), Legs on a Wall, New York, U.S.A., 1978, gelatin silver on paper,
Gift of Howard L. Ganek P’86 Elliott Erwitt (American, b. 1928), Legs on a Wall, New York, U.S.A., 1978, gelatin silver on paper,
Gift of Howard L. Ganek P’86 Image Credit: Phillips Museum

The museum’s collection has more 8,000 objects, from pre-Columbian, African and Japanese objects, regionally created furniture, fiber arts and crafts, as well as paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and glass created from the 1800s to present day, Moorefield said. 

In the museum's stairwells, a bright white paint, "Chantilly Lace," was used to increased visibility.

“We also painted this color in the Dana Gallery as a good neutral to Colette Fu's colorful and large-scale pop-up books,” Moorefield said.

Fu’s one-of-a-kind pop-up artist books, displayed for the exhibit, “We Are Tiger Dragon People,”  are based on her ancestral explorations in China’s Yunnan Province, where 25 of the country’s 55 minority tribes reside. Fu said her books reflect “ideas on how our selves relate to society today.” 

Downstairs, in the museum’s Rothman Gallery, are photographs of Civil War soldiers developed on the flesh of leaves for “War Memoranda: Photography, Walt Whitman and Memorials.” The wall color that highlights the worksofBinh Danh and Robert Schultz is "Sharkskin.” 

  • A soldier's image imposed on a leaf, one of the "War Memoranda" exhibits. A soldier's image imposed on a leaf, one of the "War Memoranda" exhibits. Image Credit: Courtesy of the Artists

With their exhibit, artist Danh and poet Schultz examine the question, “How do Americans remember war?” The two men also will speak at the Oct. 18 Common Hour about their work.

In the Gibson Gallery, a shade darker than Sharkskin complements an exhibitof the works of 19th-20th century German artist KätheKollwitz. Her series of powerful etchings, “Bauernkrieg/Peasant War,” represent the brutal treatment of peasants in 16th-century Germany, their revolution and eventual demise. 

Kollwitz created the etchings between 1903 and 1908. They served as a vehicle to criticize and protest the anticipated violent events that started to unfold across Europe at the time. The works are on loan from Dickinson College’s Trout Gallery.

“The new exhibitions highlight our mission to present art and material culture being made globally and that ties broadly into other interdisciplinary areas such as history, science, and math among others. We look forward to welcoming all to the museum this fall season,” Moorefield said.  

For more information on the Phillips Museum’s exhibits and events, visit here.

The exhibits in the Nissley and Dana galleries run from Aug. 28 to Dec. 7; the exhibits in the Rothman and Gibson galleries run from Sept. 4 to Dec. 7. The museum is open Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m., and Thursdays, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

  • One of 19th-20th century German artist Käthe Kollwitz's etchings, "Uprising." One of 19th-20th century German artist Käthe Kollwitz's etchings, "Uprising."
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