The splendid Civil War-era Victoria Mansion is a paragon of gilded glamour. The opulent interiors are embellished with the finest craftsmanship of the time period, evoking a feeling of romance and nostalgia. Those painted walls and lavish rooms served as the inspiration for five artists, who created site-specific works to be displayed throughout the mansion as part of the special exhibition, “Mansion as Muse: Contemporary Art at Victoria Mansion.” Opening April 3 and on view until May 21, “Mansion as Muse” is a wonderful opportunity to experience the Victoria Mansion as never before, and see how the different artists interpret and re-imagine the motifs and atmosphere of the museum through their work.
Photo courtesy of Victoria Mansion
“Victoria Mansion is a historical gem, which is why giving contemporary artists the opportunity to respond to its riches is a wholly unique opportunity. Given that the artists chosen all have deep connections to history and the decorative arts, it will be fascinating to see how they will intervene and reinterpret the objects and stories found within the Mansion,” said Denise Markonish, curator of MASSMoCA, and member of the mansion’s Art Advisory Committee. “I have no doubt this exhibition will not only give visitors to Victoria Mansion the opportunity to see the space anew but will also provide these artists with much material for future works and ideas.”
The participating artists are Andrew Mowbray, Justin Richel, Amy Yoes, and collaborative team Mark Dion and Dana Sherwood.
The mansion, built 1858-1860, is a National Historic Landmark renowned for its original interiors crafted by master cabinetmaker Gustave Herter. It also boasts original wall and ceiling paintings, and furnishings from 1860. One of my favorite painted ceilings is that of the dining room, which is made to look like intricate inlaid wood.
I am so excited to see the results of these artists’ efforts!