If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I am inspired by anything associated with the National Gallery of Art. If I could decamp there overnight or longer, I would in a heartbeat.
I received what I’d like to think was a nice birthday present a few weeks ago, when I woke up to read this article about Mark Leithauser, Chief of Design at the NGA, my former boss and exceptionally talented painter and exhibition designer. Fortunately, we’ve stayed in touch over the years. I can really relate to how Mark describes his work at the NGA:
“I think what you want to do as an exhibit designer is to make the work feel at home. Some of the modern art, if you put them on a white wall they look old. Some Picassos are almost 100 years old, and if they only have white walls, they look like they are in a laboratory.”
The Washington Post calls him, “The Invisible Museum Artist” who “spends a lot of time focused on the background.” There is definitely a talent to making all aspects of the exhibition work together in order to give the viewer an intimate experience with the art. As an artist and academic, Mark can bridge all these components seamlessly together, sometimes without much notice but that’s the magic and the illusion of not showing what goes on behind the scenes that makes it work.
I guess since I couldn’t stay in Exhibition Design, I’m finding ways to execute what I love with painting, Art History and Design with Casart coverings:
“This is what we are trying to do with the types of wallcovering designs that we offer for Casart coverings. They are supposed to make one’s furnishing feel at home. We don’t want to compete but complement with what someone already has in their home. Therein the reason for some of our subtle decorative finishes like faux-linen and colorwash. As a decorative painter, I typically do not do finishes that are over-the-top but rather enhance a client’s decor. The patterns that we offer give some figurative styling to a background but unlike traditional or more busy patterns that appear as definite manufactured repeats, ours are meant to look hand-painted or illustrated and randomly placed, as if they were painted directly on the wall.”