Boston-based collector donating hundreds of photos to Fitchburg Art Museum (VIDEO)November 20, 2017ORIGINAL ARTICLE AND VIDEO
By Alana Melanson, firstname.lastname@example.org
FITCHBURG -- A child bathed in soft light is fascinated by a butterfly perched on his forefinger. Adolescents dance awkwardly at a 1991 Bat Mitzvah in Chicago. A little girl in a blue dress emerges from a dark, swirling forest into a desert-like clearing and bright blue sky above.
These images are only a small sample of the 500 photography prints Dr. Anthony Terrana, a prominent Boston-area art collector and periodontist, has promised to donate to the Fitchburg Art Museum over the next few years.
It marks the largest donation of artwork from a single donor since the museum's founding in 1925.
"People and Places: Contemporary Photographs from the Collection of Dr. Anthony Terrana," an exhibition featuring 24 of the first 96 prints, opened Wednesday.
Director Nick Capasso called it an "immensely generous gift" that will "be transformative for both our permanent collection and our exhibition program."
Terrana said he chose the Fitchburg Art Museum as the recipient of his collection because of its commitment to photography and his desire for the photographs "to be seen, not locked away in a vault."
"I have been impressed by the museum's frequent and creative uses of its collection," he said in a statement. "And, I want the gift to have the greatest impact possible."
When Consulting Curator of Photography Stephen Jareckie came to the museum in 1996, FAM had only two photographs in its entire collection, both from 20th-century American artist Charles Sheeler.
Over the past 21 years, he and museum leadership built the photography collection to nearly 1,000 prints, mainly 19th and 20th-century work from American artists.
"Dr. Terrana puts us into the 21st century," Jareckie said, as well as an "international stamp" on the collection.
Terrana's donation increases the photography collection by 50 percent, and marks a 10 percent increase to the museum's total collection of 5,000 works of art.
Jareckie, who organized "People and Places," said the work shows how drawn Terrana is to people. Terrana put pictures in his office to engage patients, especially children, to get their minds off of their medical care, Jareckie said.
The work featured is from artists near and far, Massachusetts-based and international. Some represent both, such as Cuban-born Abelardo Morell and Lebanese-born Rania Matar, both based in Boston, said museum Curator Lisa Crossman.
A 1989 black and white image of Morell's son, Brady, shows the artist's exploration of the domestic space and how his child saw the world, Crossman said.
"So what does it mean when you're crawling around on the floor and what is that perspective like? How is it both terrifying and fantastical at the same time?" she said.
Matar's work focuses on the experiences of women and girls and negotiating her shift from one culture to another, Crossman said. A 2006 black and white gelatin silver print depicts a young girl in a hijab resting on a sofa in Southern Lebanon, a broken wall behind her. In a 2010 color photo, a woman stares out from a golden-colored room in Jamaica Plain.
A large-scale color print from Japanese photographer Yasumasa Morimura explores reflections on gender, appropriation and different negotiations of culture, Crossman said. The kabuki-inspired self-portrait features Morimura imagined as celebrated Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, his face ringed by flowers and tears of pearls under his eyes.
"People and Places" will be open in the museum's Ronald M. Ansin Gallery until the spring.
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