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.
Her current favorite is an untitled work by Robert Rauschenberg hanging in the John S. and James L. Knight Learning Center in the exhibition In Circles, curated by the FWMoA Teen Council!
Q: What is the first thing you noticed about this artwork? What drew you to this particular piece?
A: I love the bright reds and pinks, and the graphic polka-dot pattern is also eye-catching. From a bit of a distance, I remember being curious whether that red rectangle is actually a paper bag, and it is!
Q: Would you hang this artwork in your home? Why or why not?
A: Definitely! There’s no way I’d pass up the chance to hang a Rauschenberg in my house. It is fun and cheery, but also something that I can look at for a long time and not get tired of (I know because I have!).
Q: What does this artwork mean to you?
A: One of Rauschenberg’s most iconic works is Bed, an early “combine,” in which he used a well-worn sheet, quilt, and blanket as a canvas. Although I don’t know that it was his intention, I always see a bed when I view this work (the bag is the pillow!) and wonder if he decided to revisit the composition 20 years later. I also wonder if there is meaning in the specific images and their placement on the “bed.” The pediment reads “EQUAL JUSTICE UNDER LAW” and is from the Supreme Court building–is it sleeping under the covers or is it part of the blanket that would provide cover and comfort? I might be reading into it too much, but I enjoy that there is room for interpretation.
Rauschenberg later added text to the same image and used it as a poster for a 1981 Human Rights Dinner fundraiser.
Q: Why did you choose to work at an art museum?
A: I went to school for art education, but realized through my art history classes just how much I liked learning about the art rather than making it myself, and now I get to help others do that.
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: I always love when we have a big installation or mural and have an artist in the building! Aside from that, I really enjoyed our year-long Century of Making Meaning. It was great to learn more about our collection and share the “greatest hits” with our visitors!
Q: What kind of art do you have in your home?
A: I have some of my own paintings from college, plus some works by friends and family. I also like to buy art as souvenirs when I travel, and I’ve acquired some stuff through the museum–a Chuck Sperry print from his 2018 show, Heather Day’s Fort Wayne print, and a few others from the Paradigm Gallery!