We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
We visited the New Britain Museum of American Art this weekend, known as one of America’s most welcoming, distinguished, dynamic, and educationally ambitious art museums. They have a current exhibit (through April 11, 2010) entitled Inspired Innovations: A Celebration of Shaker Ingenuity.
The exhibition, organized into 12 Zones of Innovation and with three rooms resembling traditional Shaker quarters, will showcase some 350 objects spanning over 200 years from 1800 to 2000. A testament to the durability, practicality, and simplicity of Shaker ingenuity, with a focus on functionality, each piece is gracefully formed with a genuine devotion to ones craft that reflects the words of Shaker founder, Mother Ann: "labor to make the way of God your own; let it be your inheritance, your treasure, your occupation, your daily calling."
Maggie's readers will like this quote from Shaker Martha J. Anderson of Mt. Lebanon, NY: "The lamp of genius burns as it is supplied by the oil of enthusiasm."
The New Britain Museum of American Art's founding in 1903 entitles the institution to be designated the first museum of strictly American art in the country. That year, a $20,000 gift of gold bonds to the museum's former parent, the New Britain Institute, from industrialist John Butler Talcott, created funds to purchase "modern oil paintings." Subsequent purchases, with advice from New York museums and galleries, further defined "modern" to mean American works of art, now numbering more than 10,236. With particular strengths in colonial portraiture, the Hudson River School, American Impressionism, and the Ash Can School, not to mention the important mural series The Arts of Life in America by Thomas Hart Benton, the museum relies heavily on its permanent collection for exhibitions and programming, yet also displays a significant number of borrowed shows and work by emerging artists. The singular focus on American art and its panoramic view of American artistic achievement make the New Britain Museum of American Art a significant teaching resource available to the local, regional, and national public.
As the Guide Michelin might say, "worth a detour".