RICHARD POUSETTE-DART: PAINTING/LIGHT/SPACE
BOWDOIN COLLEGE MUSEUM OF ART
245 MAINE STREET
THROUGH SEPTEMBER 16
by Greg Morell
An idyllic and incredibly expensive prestigious liberal arts college, Maine’s Bowdoin College boasts a fabulous art museum. The campus and the museum reek of history, gorgeous architecture and a gleefully rich endowment.
The current direction of the museum is the hands of three refugees from Washington’s Smithsonian. Most uniquely, the titular heads of the institution, the co-directors, are actually a husband and wife team. The concept of co-direction is familiar to me in football and sports, but most surprising in the world of aesthetics and art.
I was able to interview co-director Anne Collins Goodyear on my recent visit, as her husband Frank was away at a photography caucus in Rochester, New York.
My efforts to glean the future vision of the museum were best summed up as “Developing the institution as a creative laboratory, a place to play with ideas and take risks.” Goodyear sees the museum as an incubator of creativity. The ambition is noble, the method remains a mystery.
At the curatorial helm of the museum is a German emigre who bikes to work despite the extreme challenges of Maine weather. Curator Joachim Homann has presented the remarkable work of Richard Pousette-Dart in a clever presentation of eight major paintings and an assortment of drawings and smaller ephemera. The effort was to capsule the man as well as the work.
Pousette-Dart was a prime mover in the wave of New York art practitioners who revolutionized the art world, re-inventing painting and moving the capital of the art world from Paris to New York City. In that wave of avant-garde abstract expressionism and wild experimentation that was the momentum of the 1960s, Pousette-Dart stands in stark comparison.