This past Sunday afternoon I traveled up to Manchester, NH to see “Evolution of a Shared Vision: The David and Barbara Stahl Collection” at the Currier Museum of Art.This was my first visit to the Currier Museum. I was particularly impressed by the museum building itself, apparently the museum recently underwent a major expansion which included adding 33,000 square feet in 2007.
Being a part of an exhibition like this was a completely new experience for me that was very exciting. The majority of venues I’ve showed at have been at contemporary galleries, and all of the group exhibitions I’ve been in have been exclusively with other contemporary artists. This is the first time that I’ve been in a show where the majority of the works are historical ones. The exhibition included prints by Durer, Rembrandt, Beckmann, Heckel, Grosz, Nolde, Reginald Marsh, Picasso, and Edward Hopper to list just a few. I will say that it was quite an experience to see my print “Line” from the Digging Series in this context. My print was hung over a Juan Genoves print which featured a group of shadowy, ambiguous figures.
I first met David Stahl when I had a “New England Currents” solo exhibition at the Danforth Museum of Art in Framingham , MA. We met at the opening reception, and he’s purchased several of my prints since then. Walking through this exhibition, it was really interesting to see the Stahls’ unique taste and perspective, which is similar to my own sensibility and taste in art. Looking at all of the prints individually and as a collection, I felt that it could have easily been a collection that I assembled myself.
In the afternoon I attended a talk by David Stahl and Currier Museum Associate Curator Kurt Sundstrom. Stahl discussed his vision and experience as a collector, and the process of acquiring works for his collection. At one point in the conversation, Sandstrom noted the dark subject matter of many of the works in the collection: skeletons, war, clowns, etc. and asked Stahl about why he chose to collect works of this nature. Stahl’s answer was simple and direct: “It’s what made sense to us, because that’s the way the world is”. As someone who has been asked many times over why I tend towards the kind of subject matter that I work with, this is the best answer I’ve heard so far.