"Museum Hack" Hacks the Digital Wing: Part 3

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"Museum Hack" Hacks the Digital Wing: Part 3

part 3 in a 3-part blog series (Read Part 1 and Part 2)

Your Museum Hack tour concludes with these three works from the American art collection. Enjoy the scoop behind some of the picks in the Museum Hack gallery, in their own words.


International Teady BearAlan J. Shields

Alan J. Shields was a total weirdo. In his obituary, the New York Times said “Mr. Shields simultaneously resembled a harpooner out of Melville and a hippie from central casting.” He went from sewing and “tinkering” on his family farm, to studying engineering, to studying theater, to studying art, to bartending at Max’s Kansas City Bar (yep, the one Andy Warhol, David Bowie and the Velvet Underground had reserved spots, and launched the careers of Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, and Tom Waits, among others. Oh and Debbie Harry was a waitress), to being a big shot artist.

Also, this piece reminds us of those potholders you’d make in elementary school on the little square looms, with loops of elastic. Remember those?

--Kate and Jen for Museum Hack

Jared Sparks, Thomas Sully

Look at this guy. He’s got the “Oh, Me?” face.

“No big deal, I got this book, I’m a scholar, you can paint my face. Let me just stick my finger in this book to keep my place for the HOURS AND HOURS of modeling I’m about to do.”

We’re very pro-selfie at Museum Hack too; maybe this was the first #museumselfie??!  

He looks like he’s having some really dreamy, romantic thoughts, but actually his big claim to fame was a giant book called “the Diplomatic Correspondence of the American Revolution”, so he probably wasn’t prone to flights of whimsy. Despite having a perky name worthy of a Disney child star, he was a very serious scholar and was both a pastor who helped develop Unitarianism,  and a president of Harvard University. The way he’s painted in this portrait though, I kind of have a crush on him.

 --- Kate and Jen for Museum Hack (Kate’s the one with the crush, just to be clear)


Jesse JamesThomas Hart Benton

The model used for the lithograph was an actual descendant of Jesse James! (though the artist chose to face him away from the viewer)

From the site:  According to legend, James was an American outlaw, a western Robin Hood, who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. Yet his actual character and the deeds attributed to him remain hazy. Writing James’s biography in 1931, R.F. Dribble explains: “It was his fortune to be transformed beyond recognition into the rogue-superman, the demon-god, of his time, and to be endowed with fantastic and chimerical qualities—to be a myth and a legend while he still lived in the flesh.”

 --- Kate for Museum Hack

Image Credits:

Thomas Sully, Jared Sparks, 1831. Reynolda House Museum of American Art, Gift of Barbara B. Millhouse, 1984.2.11.

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