By Michael Darcy —
Oftentimes, some of the most exciting finds are in the strangest of places. This is no exception when it comes to finding great art in Fitchburg, which can be found at the Fitchburg Art Museum, the city’s hidden gem.
On March 18, an exhibit showcasing some of the best work from the museum’s large photography collection went on display and is one you won’t want to miss. I had the chance to talk with the curator of the exhibit, Stephen Jareckie, and learn about the work that went into putting this exhibit together.
According to Jareckie, it was not an easy task to whittle down the museum’s 450 piece collection to just three rooms. He wanted to give each room a certain meaning, and the exhibit a whole direction.
Upon seeing the exhibit, there is no question that every picture was positioned for a reason.
The first room of the exhibit showcases early photography, including a few P. H. Emerson prints, which are a rare treat. The last image in the room is by Alfred Stieglitz titled “The Steerage,” a very famous photograph. Jareckie placed this image purposefully because, to him, “modern photography hinges on this picture.”
The next two rooms of the gallery show what is considered to be the resulting modern photography, following Stieglitz’s example split between pre and post World War II rooms.
There are several other wonderful photographs from many photographers, including Ansel Adams, Minor White, Berenice Abbott, and Kenro Izu.
It is thanks to collectors and people interested in art that the museum is able to hold such great exhibits. Jareckie pointed out that it would have not been possible without the help of others, especially Jude Peterson, who donated a large part of his collection to the museum.
The exhibit not only gives a slice of the history of photography, but also a history of the museum itself and how it came to own such a large collection, showing prints from past exhibits and pieces from local collectors.
The Fitchburg Art Museum is located at 25 Merriam Parkway and provides free admission to Fitchburg State students who bring their OneCard.
On June 9 at 3 p.m., Jareckie will be giving a gallery talk about the exhibit. For those interested in learning more about the history of photography, he will also be teaching a three class crash course on Wednesdays May 8, 15, and 22 from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.