Director’s Desk: Dispatch from Italy

Antony Gormley's human figures perched atop a tower

One of Antony Gormley’s human figures perched high atop a tower over the town of San Gimignano. Photos: Dorothy Kosinski

After fulfilling my teaching assignment with the Legatum Institute summer seminar, my husband Thomas and I spent a week in nearby Siena, a town that I love. Our final day in the area was devoted to a trip to the beautiful hilltop village of San Gimignano. I always make that pilgrimage to see the fabulous frescoes by Benozzo Gozzoli in the monastery church of Saint Augustine or the painting cycles in the main cathedral, the Collegiata, including the gory damnation scenes by Taddeo Bartoli. What a 21st-century treat, however, to see the absolutely vast and wonderful exhibition of works by Antony Gormley at Galleria Continua! They had also installed Antony’s powerful figures in the town, including high on one of the many towers. We were pampered by one of the gallery owners, Mario Cristiani, who offered us a beautiful Tuscan lunch al fresco out in the garden on a terrace overlooking the beautiful surrounding landscape (with a two-figured marble Gormley nearby). Of course I loved the tie back to our own Phillips Gormley installation.

Dorothy Kosinski, Director

Clockwise from top left: Thomas and Antony Gormley’s Another Time XV in the town of San Gimignano; moving among Gormley’s Two x Two II; Gormley’s Vessel on view inside Galleria Continua; Mario Cristiani and Gormley’s Drift I.

A Green Hat, Once in a Blue Moon

Pablo Picasso, Woman with Green Hat, 1939. Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 19 3/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of the Carey Walker Foundation, 1994.

Pablo Picasso, Woman with Green Hat, 1939. Oil on canvas, 25 5/8 x 19 3/4 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Gift of the Carey Walker Foundation, 1994.

It’s not always possible to accede to every visitor’s desires . . . but when we heard (almost on the way out the door for the holiday) that San Francisco visitors Lauren and Ken wanted desperately to see Picasso’s 1939 Woman with a Green Hat, we found a way to make that happen. The painting was not on view in the galleries at the moment, but thanks to some quick thinking and rare, serendipitous good luck, we were able to arrange a quick behind-the-scenes tour. The painting means a lot to Ken. He explained that it totally changed his understanding of Picasso and of modern art generally. He likes the tension between the distortions of the woman’s face and the tenderness in its depiction. Lauren and Ken seem to love the Phillips and have visited dozens of times over decades. We hope they’ll come back many times in the future.

Dorothy Kosinski, Director

Good Morning, Washington!

Photo of Phillips staff filming for Good Morning Washington

Director Dorothy Kosinski leads Phillips staff in a morning salute to Washington, cheered on by ABC7/WJLA-TV community relations director Abby Fenton. Photo: Sarah Osborne Bender

On Tuesday, my day began alongside dozens of our staff, beaming and dressed in their summer best, and Antony Gormley‘s personable Aperture XIII  (2010) in a shoot for ABC7, WJLA-TV‘s “Good Morning Washington” program. Watch for our greeting starting next week, mornings between 4:30 and 7:30 am!