Playing Favorites: Katy Thompson & Latchezar Boyadjiev

We’ve asked FWMoA staff the hardest question you can ask art museum people: so, what is your favorite artwork currently on display? As “art museum people”, we often get asked about our favorite artists, artworks, and the art we choose to hang on our own walls. Since not all of our staff are front-end, and not all of them write for the blog, this series gives everyone a chance to get to know them, too. Taking advantage of our rotating exhibitions of artworks, from painted portraits to sculpted bronzes, FWMoA staff from all departments are choosing artworks that enthrall and enchant them; or, in other words, playing favorites.

A picture of Katy smiling and looking at the camera in the art museum where she works.
Katy Thompson, Children’s Education Associate. Photo courtesy of FWMoA.

Katy Thompson, the Children’s Education Associate at FWMoA, came to Fort Wayne from St. Louis, Missouri five years ago following the completion of her master’s degree. Her current favorite? A glass sculpture by Latchezar Boyadjiev, on display in Movement: Glass Sculptures by Latchezar Boyadjiev, part of the Summer of Glass.

A blue glass sculpture stands in the exhibition in a gallery at FWMoA. The sculpture is abstract.
Latchezar Boyadjiev. American, b. Bulgaria, 1959. Embrace. Cast glass, 2019. Loan from Habatat Gallery. Photo courtesy of FWMoA.

Q: What is the first thing you noticed about this artwork? What drew you to this particular piece?

A: The size! Turning the corner after entering the gallery, I was struck by how large the sculpture was and questions immediately began churning through my head: how did the artist construct such a large mold? How did the artist find a furnace large enough? What made him want to work on such a monumental scale, particularly as the other pieces in the gallery are smaller in comparison? Who could fit this in their house?

Aside from its scale in relation to the other pieces, I was also initially drawn to it by the color. Blue is not only my favorite color but this shade, in particular, is the color of the first car I drove, a 2008 Honda Fit!

Finally, thanks to its monumental size, it doesn’t have to be placed under a vitrine and instead the viewer can walk around it and interact with the sculpture. I love when 3D works can be placed to be viewed from all sides, to see how the artist considered every angle and if there is a designated “front” and “back”. (I’ll let you decide for yourself with this one!).

Q: Would you hang this artwork in your home? Why or why not?

A: I wouldn’t hang it, since it isn’t framed, but I would love to have it in my house! Thanks to its size, my cat couldn’t knock it off a shelf and break it. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t fit through my front door, let alone in my low-ceilinged apartment.

Q: What does this artwork mean to you?

A: When it first caught my eye it was because I was in awe of it’s size; so much of our glass collection here at FWMoA is small, and consequently can be difficult to view as it is often placed under the safety of a vitrine. In the case of Embrace, however, I got to walk around it, and you can tell the artist wanted that. I love when the Museum gets to show a piece off from all sides and angles, and it reminds me that we exist to help our visitors experience art in all its shapes and forms, front and back.

The title is also poignant, as this past year has dictated fewer embraces as we masked up and social distanced. Boyadjiev has created two biomorphic forms meeting, delineated by the squiggly line bisecting the center of the sculpture. Despite their different shapes, they fit perfectly together.

Q: Why did you choose to work in an art museum?

A: I grew up going to the St. Louis Art Museum with my mom and sister and loved it. I was also fascinated by the faces of people who no longer lived. I have a history degree and had previously interned at history museums, but when the job application for an art museum popped up on a Facebook group I’m in, I went for it!

Q: What has been your favorite exhibition at FWMoA during your employment? What exhibition are you most looking forward to in the next year or two?

A: When I first started there was an exhibit of our Amish quilt collection that I loved! My favorite exhibit to lead tours through was Peter Bremer’s glass exhibit entitled Seven Bodies. Students were fascinated by how he created the works, and I loved watching students gravitate towards specific ones and explain why.

I’m most looking forward to Liz Whitney Quisgard’s upcoming solo exhibition.

Q: What kind of art (if any) do you have in your home?

A: I have a few pieces of art in my apartment, mostly prints I’ve ordered from artists on Instagram that I follow or things friends have made me over the years. My current favorite are two new works that my mom and sister purchased for me for my birthday from a local artist back home in St. Louis.

Come visit FWMoA to see more of Latchezar Boyadjiev’s work, as well as recent acquisitions in glass in FWMoA’s Summer of Glass exhibits, on display through October 3, 2021.

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