From vaudeville-inspired magic to prohibition punch and board games from the 1930s, visitors had a blast at our Suppress the Depression Phillips after 5. For those feeling a bit overwhelmed by the lively atmosphere Valeksa Soares’s Fainitng Couch (2011) offered the perfect place for a moment of rest and restoration.
See our other Start the Art profiles.
While the Made in the USA exhibition occupies most of the museum’s galleries, the original Phillips house is devoted to new treasures and old favorites. We are so excited to display an especially unique recent acquisition, Valeksa Soares’s Fainitng Couch (2011). This multisensory work invites visitors to repose on a stainless steel chaise as they take in the heady olfactory notes of real stargazer lilies—60 to 80 blooms in all—which are stored in drawers built underneath the metal seating.
In order to maintain the pleasant aroma, the lilies must be replaced on a weekly basis, a task that has fallen to none other than the Phillips’s Chief of Security and Operations Dan Datlow! Working directly with the collection wasn’t something Dan ever thought would be part of his daily activities, but he readily admits that he enjoys the responsibility. “The couch demonstrates that the Phillips isn’t a static building, but an active, modern institution. It really makes me appreciate what we do here,” Dan says. “I don’t really look at replacing the lilies as work, it’s actually very therapeutic. I jump at any opportunity to work with the collection like this.”
Soares’s Fainting Couch is on display through the end of April, so make sure you come by and take in the “scent-sational” experience for yourself!
The Finance Department took a day away from their offices to do what? Why, to visit other museums, of course!
Every year as a treat for completing our annual financial audit, The Phillips Collection finance staff retreat on a post-audit outing. This year we decided as a group to travel to Baltimore and visit the fabulous American Visionary Art Museum before heading to the Baltimore Museum of Art for lunch at Gertrude’s and a preview peek at the newly returned Renoir painting On the Shore of the Seine (c. 1879).
I couldn’t resist running away with the Renoir, and the cameras caught me in my enthusiasm!
Despite the busman’s holiday, we returned to the Phillips refreshed and ready to face another fiscal year!
Lydia O’Connor, Finance Assistant