Playing Favorites: Lauren Wolfer & Tim Tate and Michael Janis

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.

Lauren Wolfer, FWMoA Associate Curator of Special Collections & Archives. Photo courtesy of FWMoA.

Lauren Wolfer, Associate Curator of Special Collections & Archives, has made FMWoA her place of work for over 7 years. Her current favorite? A newly acquired glass piece on display in a Century of Making Meaning: 100 Years of Collecting by Tim Tate and Michael Janis, Traces of Memory.

Tim Tate and Michael Janis, American b. 1959; American, b. 1960. Traces of Memory. Cast glass in steel frame, 2020. Museum purchase with funds provided by the June E. Enoch Collection Fund, 2021.272.1-6. Image courtesy of FMWoA.

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

A: Its massive scale! It dominates the room with its presence, and then I notice all the cool details within each square. Every square is full of every day, mundane things, but isolating each brings an emotional connection to the artists.

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

A: I would if I could! Unfortunately, I don’t have any walls big enough!

Technical Director Brian Williamson installing the artwork, piece by piece. Photo courtesy of Lauren Wolfer.

Q: What does this artwork mean to you?

A: It’s so fun to see all the new glass being collected (this being one of the very newest!). Tim Tate and Michael Janis are top notch in the glass world; Tim Tate is currently on display next to Ai Weiwei at the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, and this is our first Michael Janis piece, which is a big deal for our collection.

I love when artists collaborate to create a new work! It always takes an interesting twist, and you can still see the individual hand of each artist in the creation of Traces of Memory: Janis’ in the “drawn” looking panels and Tate’s creation of relics.

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

A: I’ve always loved visiting art museums! They are the first thing I seek out when visiting another city, even before I started working at one. I’ve always loved drawing, and I found printmaking in college. When I graduated, I didn’t know where to go. I had shadowed an accountant in high school and knew the office setting was not for me (sorry, dad). I started out by volunteering at FWMoA as a docent, became an intern, then started showing up when I heard more help was needed, ranging from helping with events to installing exhibits. I’ve had a few different titles working at FWMoA, with every job helping me to become a more well-rounded museum professional!

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: Since we’re discussing glass, by far my favorite glass exhibit was Peter Bremer’s solo show Inward Journey, it was stunning. Each piece, no matter how big or small, seemed monumental and important. Not to mention, when the pieces were lit, they changed colors and came to life! I think Liz Quisgard’s solo exhibit this December, curated by Suzanne Slick, will be so much fun. Her patterning and color will be a bright pop to our dreary, winter season!

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

A: Recently, I’ve been trying to swap out some of my store bought household items for some (reasonably priced) art pieces. I’ve been getting a lot of fun ceramics lately!

To get a peek at Lauren’s collection, check out a blog post she wrote last year about her collection of artwork that celebrates her cats: Treasures from Home.

Come visit FWMoA to see Lauren Wolfer’s favorite artwork in this rotation of A Century of Making Meaning, open through January 2nd, 2022.

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