Sunday, October 12, 2014 was a bittersweet day. Bitter because it was closing day for the exhibition and the end of this chapter of our journey with the life and art of Jame Spencer Russell. And sweet, because it was a day of sharing Jim’s life and art with our niece Allison Caplan and her friend and colleague, Jennifer Saracino, both doctoral students and professors at Tulane University.
It was an eight year-long journey from the first day this sentence was uttered, “this work is so good it should have a museum exhibit,” by one of four people, Dr. Steven Conant, MD, Dr. Thomas Kuebler, MD, Julie or me. Nobody can seem to remember who said it, but we all agreed. The four of us were determined to bring the life and art of James Spencer Russell to the public’s attention. Often, we think of our friend Thomas Kuebler who passed away during the research for the exhibition.
Julie and I see the exhibition at the Indiana State Museum as the foundation for what may happen in the future with Jim’s life story and his artwork. All through the process of doing research for the exhibition and our book, as well as writing and designing our book, we always endeavored to produce work to the level that would have pleased Jim. This was a high bar, but it was a good measuring stick to keep us on track and not compromise our work, or Jim’s story.
In the near future, we will have more thoughts about the years of work that we put in to ensure Jim’s place in art history.
As we went back into the exhibit for one last walk-through, after taking some photos by the entrance, Billie Holiday began to sing (on the exhibition soundtrack). Billie and Jim were born on the same day and year. Being his favorite jazz artist, he called her “his twin.” As we left the exhibition the song ended.
Here are a few photos from the last day of the exhibition.