Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A True Art Enthusiast


Back in September of 2006, a breath of fresh air blew through the Birmingham Museum of Art. Graham Boettcher arrived from the Yale University Art Gallery , and the place hasn't been the same since! A graduate of Yale, he also earned his Ph.D. in art history there as well. Since 2008 he has been the museum's William C. Hulsey Curator of American Art.

I first met Graham last year when he did the training for Museum Ambassadors for the upcoming exhibit " Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness". When introduced, I took one look at him and said, "You're too young to be a curator!" Young he might be but he knows his art. A fountain of knowledge he certainly is, but what I love best about Graham is that his passion for art is infectious. You can't be around him without feeling his enthusiasm for it. I heard him give tours through that exhibit many, many times as a volunteer and every single time I heard him, I was mesmerized. He makes art come to life, makes it fun. He's the only guy I know that can make everyone laugh out loud over Trumbull's portrait of George Washington!

Now back to the reason I'm featuring Graham today. He's curated another exhibit close to my heart. A wonderful selection of photographs by Prentice H. Polk, from the Paul R. Jones Collection, are now on display in the African-American Art Gallery. Polk is considered to be one of the most important photographers of the 20th century through his role as the official photographer of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). I especially enjoyed the series of photographs of George Washington Carver, but his other portraits are equally as stunning. Graham has done a fine job with this exhibit, and it was my pleasure to be able to photograph him by a portrait that I actually painted years ago in a watercolor class. If you wish to see this exhibit, it will run through May 23. And if you are really lucky, you might just get to join a Graham Boettcher tour!


I regret that I could not find more information on P.H. Polk online. If any of you readers find a better link than this, please share! Merci Dystopos for this link here.

17 comments:

Rather Be Flying said...

What a great combo - a smart, entertaining, talented curator (he's so young!) and a grand photo exhibit too. He looks like a very happy person - nicely captured there. I met a few Tuskegee airmen a couple of years ago. Charming old men, now.

Tash said...

Sorry, V. that was me up there...The google challenged, Tash

Bibi said...

Your photo is a fitting portrait of this young man and his apparent gregariousness. I am about to Google Prentice H. Polk.

Love your banner; when, oh when will I see flowers here?

Louis la Vache said...

His enthusiasm shows in his smile.
;-)

Thérèse said...

The picture matches the description. I am going to google Mr Polk like Bibi...

brattcat said...

wonderful post, V. that photograph behind Graham makes me want to rush down to see the entire exhibit.

Virginia said...

I have now included a link but it's not a very good one. If any of you found better information, please share with me. Thanks!

Birdman said...

Thanks for sharing this information. Lots of stuff included.

altadenahiker said...

Oh, between you and Julie, I'm now suffering from exhibit envy. Would love to see this one.

Jacob said...

You're very fortunate to have such a knowledgeable young man heading up your museum. Doesn't resemble the fusty ol' fuss budgets often associated with museums.

Daryl said...

Like Bibi I am yearning to see some spring flowers . and find this young man fascinating .. its clear he has a mischievious bend ... and a taste for fun ties

Dystopos said...

Check back with Bhamwiki in a couple of days. I've got a P. H. Polk article on top of my to-do list.

Virginia said...

Dystopos,
I knew you'd come through for us. If I'd known the information was so limited online, I'd have asked GB for some more.

Daryl,
Oh yes there's a twinkle and he is a snappy dresser. I love the tie/shirt combo!

Jacob,
There's just nothing worse than fusty ole fuss budget curators! HA And we are VERY fortunate to have Graham here.

TheChieftess said...

The portrait's all fine and good (and I too like the tie and shirt combo) but where's the painting you painted you talented girl, V???

Ditto on the exhibit envy, AH!!!

Virginia said...

Chieftess,
That painting is long gone. Probably sold it to a friend for $10!
V

Bob Crowe said...

He's gotta be interesting - just look at the shirt and tie! I checked the web site on Polk and I'd love to see the exhibit. Can Scotty set up the transporter beam to move art lovers from St. Louis to Birmingham?

Dystopos said...

Here you are, Virginia:

http://www.bhamwiki.com/w/P._H._Polk