Old and New
What is old is new again. The recently opened exhibit at the Allen Memorial Art Museum is a retrospective of the artist Sol LeWitt, a friend of the gallery’s namesake Ellen Johnson. Among the pieces is a series of geometric metal constructions called 49 Three-Part Variations on a Three-Part Cube. In the spring of 1978, the Johnson Gallery was the museum’s newest wing and LeWitt’s piece was standing exactly where it does now, although it has since been refurbished.
—The News Team
For a school of Oberlin’s size, it is surprising that its art museum has gained national prominence, sometimes overshadowing the college itself. In fact, one map of Ohio shows the Allen Art Museum without listing the college at all…
Assembling that collection has been an ongoing process for more than 60 years. Most of the artwork was acquired in conventional ways — through donations and purchases.
But there have been other, unique means of acquiring money — for example, the New York auction that took place in 1975, which provided both the initial capital for the new wing, and a good portion of the collection. A group of well-known contemporary artists (many of them friends of Ellen Johnson, former professor of art history) donated their pieces for sale in the auction. If the piece was sold, the money was to go to the building fund. If not, the work itself was to join the new collection…
Oberlin’s interest in art goes back a long way. In 1860, students allocated funds from a commencement concert to a future picture gallery. Fifty-five years later, the Allen Memorial Art Museum was established, in memory of Dudley Peter Allen (1853-1915), an Oberlin Graduate, trustee and fundraiser…