Winter Antiques Show To Host "Simply Shaker" Lecture Series
Furniture World Magazine
The Winter Antiques Show announced that The Shaker Museum and Library in Old Chatham, New York, home to the largest and best documented collection of Shaker material in the world, will offer “Simply Shaker: A Lecture Series” coordinated with the Museum’s loan exhibition, An Eye Toward Perfection, at the 54th annual Winter Antiques Show at the Park Avenue Armory, January 18-27. The lectures, which are included with show admission, include presentations on Shaker oval boxes, a press conference detailing plans for the Mount Lebanon Shaker Village, and an in-depth tour of the loan exhibition An Eye Toward Perfection: The Shaker Museum and Library is the first major exhibition of a Shaker collection in New York City in more than a decade and includes some of the best extant objects that demonstrate the Shaker principles of faith, community, industry and design. Images from the exhibition are available. The exhibition was designed by Stephen Saitas and is sponsored by Chubb Personal Insurance for a twelfth consecutive year.
Shaker designs are widely admired for their simplicity, innovative joinery, quality, and functionality – embodying the “form follows function” principle long before it was associated with modern architecture and industrial design of the 20th century. Whether sacred or temporal, everything created by Shakers was done with the understanding that it reflected a commitment to earthly perfection. Shakers made furniture for their own use, as well as for sale to the general public.
The Shaker Museum and Library’s collection was amassed by John S. Williams, Sr., who began collecting in the 1940s by traveling to America’s remaining Shaker communities in New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine and acquiring examples of their arts, industries, domestic life, spiritual artifacts and manuscripts. His goal was to preserve the breadth and depth of the Shaker story, which is one of the most compelling religious and social movements in America. Shakers were members of a Protestant monastic sect who lived together in communal villages. They carefully documented their domestic, economic and spiritual life in community journals, account books, and personal diaries that commented freely on their relationships with “the World.” John Williams turned his private collection into a public museum in 1950.
The collection has been featured in major exhibitions across the country, including at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1986), Paine Webber Art Gallery (1999) and the Seattle Art Museum (2000).
Simply Shaker: A Lecture Series
All lectures are held in the Tiffany Room at the Park Avenue Armory, and are complimentary with show admission.
Monday, January 21
Points and Swallowtails: Anatomy of the Shaker Oval Boxes
Boxes were made in a half-dozen Shaker villages since the late eighteenth century. While the Shakers’ desire for uniformity in all things dictated that all Shaker boxes be similar in appearance, the boxes have many subtle differences that reveal where, when, and by whom they were made. Good, better, and best examples will be discussed for the collector and connoisseur. Presenter: Jerry V. Grant, Director of Research, Shaker Museum and Library
Tuesday, January 22, 2:30 p.m.
Mount Lebanon Shaker Village: An Expanded Vision for the Shaker Museum and Library
Mount Lebanon Shaker Village is the most historically significant of all Shaker villages. The Shaker Museum and Library will restore, rebuild, and re-use part of the site as its new museum, research, and teaching center. The press conference will present a history and future plans for the site and the Museum.
All members of the press and public are invited to attend.
Wednesday, January 23, 2:30 p.m.
Intimate Tour of the Loan Exhibition
Visitors on this tour will have a rare opportunity to examine at close range pieces of classic Shaker. We will focus on design elements and construction features that epitomize and define what we have come to know as the “Shaker Style.”
Presenter: Winter Antiques Show exhibitor, Robert W. Wilkins of Suzanne Courcier • Robert W. Wilkins, Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts
Friday, January 25, 2:30 p.m.
‘I Am Holy Wisdom ...’ Gift Drawings as Unique Expressions of Shaker Faith: Some of the most atypical Shaker objects are drawings produced during the height of the Shakers’ mid-19th century religious revival. Shaker mediums, or instruments, recorded visions and dreams that included words of encouragement, praise, and admonition. These works on paper are precious reminders of the powerful tension between the Shakers’ spiritual and temporal worlds.
Presenter: Sharon Duane Koomler, Director of the Museum, Shaker Museum and Library
About the Winter Antiques Show
The Winter Antiques Show celebrates its 54th year as America’s most prestigious antiques show, featuring 75 renowned experts in American, English, European and Asian fine and decorative arts in a fully vetted Show. The Show was established in 1955 by East Side House Settlement, a social services institution located in the South Bronx. All net proceeds from the Show benefit East Side House Settlement. The Winter Antiques Show will run from January 18-27 at the Park Avenue Armory, 67th Street and Park Avenue, New York City. Show hours are from 12 Noon to 8 p.m. daily, except Sundays and Thursday, 12 Noon to 6 p.m. To purchase tickets for the Opening Night Party on Thursday, January 17th or the Young Collectors’ Night on Thursday, January 24th, please call (718) 292-7392 or visit the Show’s website at www.winterantiquesshow.com. General admission to the Show is $20, which includes the Show’s award-winning catalogue.
About East Side House Settlement: East Side House Settlement was founded in 1891 to help immigrants and lower income families on the East Side of Manhattan. In 1962, it moved to the South Bronx where it serves 8,000 residents annually within one of America’s poorest congressional districts, the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx. Focusing on educational attainment as the gateway out of poverty, East Side House’s initiatives include the innovative and highly acclaimed Mott Haven Village Preparatory School, a national model profiled in Business Week. For more information, please visit www.eastsidehouse.org.
About The Shaker Museum and Library: The Shaker Museum and Library in Old Chatham, New York, founded in 1950 by John S. Williams, Sr., was originally developed as a privately owned museum dedicated to preserving “life, work, art and religion” of the Shakers, the largest communal sect in America during its peak in the mid to late 19th Century. Shaker leaders personally aided this effort, and the Museum’s collection includes materials from nearly every Shaker community and from all Shaker time periods, most notably from the principal Shaker community at nearby Mount Lebanon, N.Y. The collection includes more than 75,000 objects and artifacts, including original furniture, textiles, tools and manufactured goods produced by the Shakers, as well as Shaker manuscripts and printed works, photographs and artwork. The American Association of Museums has accredited the Museum and Library since 1972. In 2002, the Shaker Museum and Library launched the Mount Lebanon Project to restore the North Family Site of Mount Lebanon Shaker Village as the institution’s new home. For more information, visit www.shakermuseumandlibrary.org.