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The Director

October Director’s Message

Dear Friends,
Thank you for joining us for the opening of Morgan: Mind of the Collector. This centennial of J. Pierpont Morgan’s re-foundational gift has brought to our galleries rare and fine things of every variety: a William Blake watercolor, a Byzantine gold necklace, an early Christian (Coptic) Gospel, and the photographs of Edward Curtis. Come visit, plan to attend the Symposium November 10-11, bring your friends and family. It is a marvelous exhibition and an in-depth look at America’s greatest connoisseur.   

In just a few days we welcome New York artist Sam Messer to the Wadsworth Atheneum for MATRIX 178. The centerpiece of the installation is an 11-minute film titled Denis the Pirate–shot in stop-motion from more than 1,700 of Messer’s etchings–which recounts poet Denis Johnson’s tale of the eponymous pirate’s epic adventures. Actor Liev Schreiber narrates the story, which is set to a score contributed by musicians Sarah Neufeld (from the band Arcade Fire) and Colin Stetson, and was edited by Russell Yaffe. Related sculptures and paintings, as well as 140 of the etchings and copper plates used in the film complement the animated piece. Messer will open the exhibition with a gallery talk at Art After Dark on October 5
A multitude of evening lectures follow this month, all free and open to the public. Topics include Piero di Cosimo’s spellbinding painting The Finding of Vulcan on the Island of Lemnos (c. 1490), the politics of nation building through the lens of Norwegian landscape painting (thanks to our exhibition Sublime North), and more. These programs are a way to engage more deeply with the museum’s special exhibitions and permanent collection–I hope you will join us! 
Finally, this month we welcome a newly published book of highlights of the Atheneum’s rich history of art and collecting. Uncommon Legacy illuminates the museum’s holdings and their connections to the tradition of art collecting in America through more than 130 highlights of sculpture, painting, textiles, and decorative arts. We look forward to sharing this long-awaited, colorful, and informative catalogue with you when it arrives in the Museum Shop. 

All the best,

Thomas J. Loughman
Director and CEO