Have you seen the red bear? That is the first question I ask visitors when beginning a Then and Now tour. Grinning and nodding are the usual reactions. I then point to the Xavier Veilhan installation inside the museum, and say that it is by the same artist who created The Bear (2010). The grins flatten and eyes express puzzlement. These contrasting reactions offer the perfect segue into a discussion about what makes The Phillips Collection different. Museum founder Duncan Phillips felt this museum should be about experiencing art in new ways and making connections to the past and present in an intimate place. It is why we can choose to display a lipstick red (or Ferrari red, as the artist prefers) bear outside and indoors show paintings that the same artist made without using his hands. In the Pendule-Dripping series, Veilhan sets a pendulum vial filled with paint in motion to describe liquid circles. Voila–a painting untouched by the hand of the artist!–yet it reminds us of Foucault’s great pendulum, which dramatically described the earth’s rotation in 1851.
The exhibition is called (IN)balance. It is about interconnectivity and opposites such as: indoor and outdoor, representation of man and abstraction of woman, sculpture and painting, to name a few.
Lisa Leinberger, Volunteer Coordinator