Before Joslyn Art Museum Chief Curator Toby Jurovics started there, he knew he wanted to rearrange art in the galleries before the end of summer. The project reflected a conversation with Director Jack Becker.
How did Jurovics address the challenge of reinterpreting what is already seen as a good collection?
Jurovics reintroduced a consistent narrative with the artwork. “The way the Museum was previously arranged, you would pass through two galleries of European art and you’re suddenly in the American Colonial period and then you went back to 19th Century Europe,” Becker said. “So we wanted to introduce this historic narrative that would make sense and flow from gallery to gallery.” Galleries are now arranged so visitors move from the Colonial Period through the dawn of Modernism and into the WWII period. The Contemporary collection then shifts to the Scott Pavilion.
Jurovics also noticed American Indian collections and Western paintings by Anglo-Europeans were in separate locations. Why present them together?
Because they have simultaneous and intertwined histories. “Instead of looking at the American West as the historical past, my goal was to use these galleries as a springboard or foundation for a conversation that moves forward from that period,” he said. Consequently, 19th century Plains Indian material hangs alongside artwork by Karl Bodmer and Alfred Jacob Miller.
Jurovics said the reinstallation took about two months. Visitors have responded positively. Jurovics wanted the galleries to feel more spacious and allow individuals to focus on specific pieces. Was it a success?
“The reinstallation really shows off the building and the spaces highlight the really remarkable group of paintings and sculpture that we are so fortunate to have here. I think the reinstallation allows visitors to rediscover their favorite pieces in a new way.”
Details on Joslyn Art Museum’s reinstallation are available online at joslyn.org.