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Bennington Museum opens for year with new exhibits and events


Staff report

BENNINGTON — The Bennington Museum will open for the new year on Thursday with a number of new exhibits and events.

Featured in the Works on Paper Gallery is “A Century of Caring,” on view through May 6. In celebration of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center’s centennial, this exhibit marks the opening of the institution as Putnam Memorial Hospital in 1918.

It includes images and objects from the early days of the hospital through the present. The retrospective offers a glimpse of the evolution of care alongside a history of a community hospital.

The museum also invites the public to Community Day on Saturday, Feb. 3, when admission will be free. Explore the newly installed Grandma Moses Gallery, with paintings like “Thunderstorm,” 1948, which has not been at the museum in over two decades.

On loan from a private collector, the iconic painting enhances the walls of the gallery along with “Old Oaken Bucket,” 1946, which has never been installed at the museum.

“We are thrilled to have such iconic works here at the museum,” said Jamie Franklin, curator. “These are joined by other masterworks from the museum’s collection, as well as “Deep Snow,” 1959, and “A Christmas Gift,” 1946, both from the private collection of the Zarnegin family, of Beverly Hills. Any person who admires Moses’ work and wants to get another perspective on what she created, must be sure to visit in 2018.”

Visitors can join artist Jessica Park on Saturday, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Regional Artists Gallery for a reception celebrating her exhibition “Enthusiasms: Personal Paintings by Jessica Park.”

This reception is free and open to the public.

The exhibit is on view through May 28 and focuses on a lesser-known aspect of Park’s work. It features work created during the first decade of her career, as well as paintings from the last decade that were created at the artist’s own initiative for herself or as gifts for family and friends.

Park is best known for her depictions of architecture, though early in her career she often painted whimsical images of electronic gadgets, signs, logos, and characters from popular culture, all of which still fascinate the artist to this day. She sees the world through high-definition rainbow-colored glasses.

A native of Williamstown, Mass., Park is an internationally acclaimed artist on the autism spectrum. One of the few things that Park connected with during her early childhood was art, and she has been a professional artist since the mid-1980s. Park’s work can be found in the Regional Artists Gallery.

Paintings by Gayleen Aiken are on view in the John T. Harrison Jr. Orientation Hall, where they are juxtaposed with photographs by Duane Michals in an installation entitled “Magic and Mystery.”

Visitors are invited to explore the permanent exhibitions, including one of the newest galleries Early Vermont. Opened in 2017, Early Vermont is a permanent installation with rotating textiles, and presents life in Vermont from the time when the earliest European settlers arrived in 1761 with only the bare necessities, to the early 1800s when Vermont craftsmen achieved a level of sophistication rivaling that of Boston and New York.

This gallery showcases more than 85 major pieces and smaller items from the museum’s historical collection of more than 30,000 objects.

“We hope that these objects will serve two distinct purposes,” said Robert Wolterstorff, the museum’s executive director. “First, to share with the public the deep, rich collection we maintain here at the museum; second, to tell fascinating stories of the early life in Vermont.”

Visitors also can explore Gilded Age Vermont, Bennington Modernism, Battle of Bennington, along with the Church Gallery, the original museum dating to 1855.

In the adjacent galleries through March 13 is the Annual Student Art Show, featuring artwork of the region’s elementary, middle and high school students. Ceramic work, paper sculptures, and more complement collage, pastels, and pen and ink drawings are included.

Presentations by the Bennington Historical Society, Music at the Museum on March 11, and other events like the Spring Party on April 13 and a Tattoo event on April 28, are planned.

Visit the museum’s website www.benningtonmuseum.org, or call 802-447-1571 for more information.

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