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Phoenix Art Museum

The collections at the Phoenix Art Museum are modest, but still quite nice for a small museum.  The "Constructing New Berlin" exhibit is quite excellent -- a fascinating range of photography, painting, sculpture, film, & installations.  Most of the stuff was done in the past five years, and it's designed to make the case for post-wall Berlin's rise as a major center for the arts.  They do a good job of making a compelling case.

Not surprising, given where we are, is the strength of the Western collection.  Along with representative works from some of the "big" names that one would associate with Western US painting (e.g., Remington, Moran, Beirstadt, etc.) there were quite a number of contemporary works that extend the themes & thoughts & ideas of those artists into the 21st century.

The most delightful part of my visit, however, was coming upon the "Ullman Center -- the Art of Philip Curtis" which has just opened.  Curtis was a local artist and one of the founders of the museum.  He died in 2000, and this space just opened to give a permanent home for some of his stuff, which I liked very much.  Somewhat surreal, but wonderfully playful.  I was completely unfamiliar with his work, but I would definitely like to run across more.

All in all, a great way to spend an hour before having lunch and getting back to the hotel for the first Board of Directors session.  MJ thinks that that we're going to get through the rest of the agenda by noon, and if that happens it gives me a few extra hours that I didn't expect to have.  With a little luck, I'll be able to get over to the Heard Museum.

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