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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Hit and Miss in Hartford

Yesterday while I was in Connecticut I tried to pay a quick visit to the controversial Charged Image exhibition at the University of Hartford.

The show officially closed on Sunday. I knew its run was over, but I figured I would be able to sweet talk my way in to see it while the works were coming down. As nicely as I asked, though, and as many names as I dropped, the staff wouldn't let me in to take even a quick peek at what was still hanging on the walls. Saying the work was too controversial to let anyone (even moi) in without oversight, a gallery staffer sent me packing without so much as an exhibition brochure.

No great loss. All the good stuff came down weeks ago, anyway. A Google search found me an image of the notorious Damien Loeb painting that got pulled from the show after it opened, as well as the 1990 Tina Barney photo that Loeb appropriated. Rumor is that two of the three brothers in the painting's foreground are now students at the University of Hartford where their father is a big donor. Oops. I'll bet that's the last show the gallery's director gets to install without sign-off from the development office.

Although I missed with the gallery, I did have another chance to see the Wilde Building that I referenced in a post last week. It's a shame to see it surrounded now by a golf course instead of the landscape it was designed to nestle in, but each viewing I have of the building convinces me more strongly of its value as an architectural treasure.

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