The Curator Vanishes!
On March 27, 1954, Barton Kestle, first curator of modern art at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, boarded a train for Washington, D.C., and was never seen again.
A shy specialist in the Soviet Avant-Garde, Dada, and Surrealism, Kestle had usually worked late into the night at the museum’s grand McKim, Mead, & White building, his office placed near the front entrance so he wouldn’t trip up alarms. This explains how staff came to accidentally seal and paint over his door during a rushed construction job some time in the ’50s.
Two year ago, employees found his door and stepped into Kestle’s world.
Curator Elizabeth Armstrong surveyed the vintage habitat of the forgotten Modernist scholar—his art and books; his high-tech-at-the-time Underwood Model 150 Typewriter, Polaroid Land Camera, and Graflex filmstrip projector; his clock radio and the other streamlined, mass-produced objects wearing their Deco heritage proudly; his ashtray overflowing with cigarette butts. She saw not just a time capsule, but an opportunity.
And that’s how the Minneapolis Institute got its newest period room.
Or was it? Read more at ARTnews.com
Mark Dion, Curator’s Office, 2013, site-specific installation. Photo courtesy the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.