The Bruce Museum in Greenwich, CT, opens a second show this summer drawn from the collections of former Greenwich native Olga Hirshhorn entitled West African Gold from the Ivory Coast: The Olga Hirshhorn Collection, on view from Sat., Aug. 8, through Sun., Nov. 8. Mrs. Hirshhorn married famed art collector Joseph H. Hirshhorn, and together they founded the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C. in 1974. She started her gold collection in the 1970s, shortly after she met her future husband.
Mrs. Hirshhorn began acquiring gold necklaces to complement a Victorian necklace collection that she already had. She would purchase the objects during visits to England, France and New York, and soon focused on gold ornaments and pendants, many of which will be on view in the exhibition. Her collecting of gold objects spanned several years but as of today has stopped, simply because “I don’t have any room,” she commented.
Comprised of about 90 pieces, West African from the Ivory Coast: The Olga Hirshhorn Collection consists of finely wrought works of gold depicting human faces and animals. This viewing marks the second time that the Bruce Museum has exhibited the collection, which was last shown in 1989. A majority of the pieces on display were made by various Lagoons peoples from Côte d’Ivoire, formerly Ivory Coast, such as the Ebrie and Akye. Some were cast by the Baule peoples who live in the northwest part of Côte d’Ivoire. Today, gold ornaments are still worn by women as hair ornaments and by men as a display of wealth and social status.
Olga Hirshhorn, née Olga Zatorsky to working class Ukrainian immigrants, grew up in Greenwich and reminisces, “Bruce Park was my playground, and the Bruce Museum was my classroom.” A complementary exhibition of her collection of small-scale art works, The Mouse House: Art from the Collection of Olga Hirshhorn, is also on view at the Bruce Museum through Sunday, October 18, 2009. Both exhibitions are supported by a committee of honor led by Peter Malkin, Creighton Reed, Leah and Bob Rukeyser, and Brenda Thompson, and also by the Charles M. and Deborah G. Royce Exhibition Fund.
The Bruce Museum is presenting a number of public programs related to both exhibitions. These include an appearance by Olga Hirshhorn on Wed., Sept. 16, at 1:30 pm, entitled “A Peek Inside the Mouse House with Olga Hirshhorn,” in which Mrs. Hirshhorn explains how she built her extraordinary collection of decorative and fine art. On Wed., Sept. 30, 2009, at 1:30 pm, Dr. Susan Kart, Assistant Professor of African Art at Sarah Lawrence College, presents the lecture “African Gold from the Olga Hirshhorn Collection,” which provides an in-depth look at the cultural and historical significance of the objects featured in the exhibition. Both lectures are followed by a tea reception and docent-led tours of the exhibitions. Visit www.brucemuseum.org for information.
The Bruce Museum is located at 1 Museum Drive in Greenwich, CT. For more information call (203) 869-0376.
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The Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture will show Perfume: The Story of a Murder, on Sat., Aug. 8, 7 pm at the Meeting House, 4450 Fieldston Road.
Patrick Susskind’s unfilmable 1985 novel offered a unique challenge to director Tykwer: how do you visualize the sense of smell? Jean Baptiste Grenouille (Whishaw), orphaned in filthy, smelly 18th century Paris, has two unique characteristics: he ahs no natural body odor and he possesses an unparalleled sense of smell that leads to an apprenticeship with perfumer Baldini (Hoffman). Grenouille soon becomes obsessed with the natural scent of young women and turns to serial killing in order to preserve that smell and turn it into the perfect perfume. Ironically, the flick may be too faithful to the book and could have used some judicious editing; it also appeals more to the intellect than to the heart or any of the other senses.
The running time 145 minutes; adult situations
Movies begin with an introduction and are followed by discussion. A donation towards the Film Club of $3 to $5 per person will be accepted at the door. The society reserves the right to provide an alternative film if a video is unavailable.
For more information call (718) 548-4445.