Currier Museum of Art

Earlier this week, I unexpectedly found myself with a few hours to kill in Manchester, NH.  A colleague suggested I visit the Currier Museum of Art. A $10 admission fee got me into this neat facility.

At first I was regretting my decision to visit.  The first gallery was mainly paperweights.  Paperweights!  The sheer mundanaity of the concept hurt my head. But I looked closer, and some of these glass weights were beautiful and impressively crafted, especially since they were so old.  In general, I found the glass on exhibit here to be more interesting than the exhibits at Tacoma's Museum of Glass. 

But the cool stuff was behind another door. The European wing featured paintings that were hundreds of years old.  The skill that it took to create these images is something I rarely think about.  Yet the detail in the paintings, the colors of the faces, the emotions that reach out from the canvas seem just as vivid now as they must have been hundreds or years ago.

While there is no touching of the art, you can still get close to it.  I found it a powerful experience to be staring  with my face inches away from these paintings hundreds of years old.  One even predated Columbus's journey to the new world. 

These fragile treasures survived wars, fires, the rise and fall of nations and civilizations, weather, being lost, stolen , or found, and they eventually made their way to this small corner of New Hampshire.

It makes my head spin.

The other really cool thing they had was an exhibit of photography of Brett Weston.  Most people can name Ansel Adams as a well-known American photography, but hoe many people can name others?  I was not familiar with Weston's striking and natural work, but I'm glad I got to see these images and learn a little about his story.

I know enough about photography, that I feel if I had the time and inclination, I could do work just like these masters.  But then I look at these collections of images -- these simple images, and know that I can't.

An artistic photograph isn't finalized in Photoshop, or the dark room, or the camera.  The shot is done before the artist presses the shutter.  It's done when the artist chooses the scene and chooses the frame.  The camera is just equipment.

But the point is, if you have the time to check our the Currier, do so.  I only highlighted a couple sections.  There is still plenty more to see the next time you are in New Hampshire.

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