Upcoming Awesomeness

8 10 2009

We’re a little starstruck here in the Public Programs office, not only because Ben Affleck was filming his newest movie right outside our door last week, but also because DJ Rekha is going to be spinning from the Gardner Museum Courtyard! Suffice it to say, we’re pretty pumped that she’ll be at After Hours next week. If you don’t get enough of her at the Gardner, you can always head over to the Middle East Upstairs in Cambridge where she’ll be spinning post AH. To hear a little more about her work, check out this interview from NPR.

October 15, Remix:

We’re going to remix tonight with the museum’s galleries as inspiration. Ever notice how Gardner layered unusual things together? Chinese sculptures with early Italian paintings or Venetian lace against Spanish and French leather wall upholstery – total remix!

  • Courtyard Music: DJ Rekha joins us straight from Brooklyn to spin Bhangra-style! From 5:30-7pm and then again from 8:15-9pm.
  • Gallery Talk @ 7pm: Gallery Talk @ 7pm: Join Jane Farver, Director of the Vera List Center at MIT, for a talk about Floating Memories
  • Viewfinder Conversations: Join a discussion about John S. Sargent’s famous portrait of Isabella Gardner (every half-hour), plus other impromptu gallery discussions (6 to 8:30PM)
  • Sketching in the Galleries: Drop by the Titian Room and sketch for a while, from 6-9pm.

And whatever else lies in store!


After Hours Tickets
Members: FREE | Adults: $12 | Seniors: $10 | College Students: $5

Buy After Hours Tickets

Order by Phone
Box Office: 617 278 5156
Tickets also on sale at the door, subject to availability.

DIY project: Spice Mix from Ana Sortun

15 09 2009

AH0910 LOGOOkay, so we know our website (and Facebook) pages said that there was going to be a super awesome spice-mix making activity at After Hours this week. (Chef Ana Sortun of Oleana Restaurant and Sofra Bakery and Cafe graciously sent us a recipe for a spice and seed mix she uses at her restaurant. It’s like secrets from a restaurant chef, right?) Well, don’t get too excited,  because we had to cancel it.

Have you seen some of the construction happening at the Museum? Well, its not making the Monk’s Garden the most spacious or peaceful place to hang right now. We thought about having it inside, but who knew that even the tiniest bit of cumin seeds  spilled on the stone floors on the first floor could leave a permanent stain?  Bummer, yes. Sad but true. So we’re just plain out of spaces to do this activity.

So for any of you who were really looking forward to getting your spice on we’re posting the recipe for Dukkah here on the blog for all you intrepid foodies out there! Julie & I were just discussing that we might have to make this mix ourselves, if we do, we’ll post photos here!

Try it and be sure to let us know how it turns out!

Hint: If you don’t have a spice grinder, use your coffee grinder. Or if you don’t have a coffee grinder just chop the heck out of everything until you have a nice fine blend.

Thanks again to Chef Sortun!


Egyptian seed, nut & spice mix

Serves 8

2 tbsp sesame seeds

3 tbsp coriander seeds

½ cup blanched almonds or hazelnuts

1/4 cup unsweetened, untreated coconut

2 tbsp cumin seed

½  tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

(Simple instructions: Toast each separately and coarsely grind in blender or coffee grinder.  Combine.)

Detailed Instructions:

1. In a skillet over medium heat, toast the almonds until golden, about 4 minutes. Transfer the almonds to a work surface to cool and then finely chop.

2. Put the coriander and cumin seeds in the same skillet and toast, stirring until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer seeds to a spice grinder and allow them to cool completely before grinding.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the almonds with the ground spices.

4.  Put the sesame seeds in the skillet and toast them over medium heat, stirring until golden, about 2 minutes. Transfer to spice grinder.

5.  Toast the coconut in the skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly until golden, about 2 minutes. Add the toasted coconut to the grinder and let it cool completely.

6. Grind the sesame seeds and coconut to a coarse powder. Combine with the almond and spice mixture and season with salt and pepper.

7. Serve the dukkah with bread and olive oil or on scallops, duck, in a salad or sliced tomatoes.
Eat well, have fun, & we’ll see you at Gardner After Hours!

~ Lilly

Pics from August’s “Summer Night”

8 09 2009

Before the next Gardner After Hours is upon us in just one short week- we wanted to give a little shout out to everyone who came in August and there are pics too! Thanks for coming!

Check it here online at Stuff Magazine – all photos by the talented Erica Magliaro, Stuff Magazine


Niko Hafkenscheid performing in the musuem's courtyard. Photo by Erica Magliaro.

Gardner After Hours-ites. Photo by Erica

Gardner After Hours-ites. Photo by Erica Magliaro.

Cheers, cheers and see you soon!

Avant Gardner, say what?

1 09 2009

We  gearing up for this month’s GAH (that’s Gardner After Hours, thank you very much!) on September 17.  So put it in your calendars, people! We’re thinking lots about our theme of “Global Muse,” and making final plans for what’s going to be a really fun event.

This is also the kick-off of our new concert series, AVANT GARDNER. We’ve teamed up with Boston’s own Callithumpian Consort to bring you three cutting edge classical concerts throughout the year from some very cool and very modern composers. This season will even include world premieres of three new pieces!

The Callithumpian Consort

The Callithumpian Consort

The evening’s program, entitled NEW JAPAN, will feature innovative works from 20th and 21st century Japanese composers including Kondo’s Aquarelle (1990), and Standing (1973), Hosokawa’s Vertical Time Study I (1992) and Takemitsu’s Toward the Sea (1981). Composer Jo Kondo will be in attendance too if you want to brush shoulders with brilliance!

There’s been a lot of buzz about the series this past week – and who doesn’t like a little buzz? Read more from Art Daily and from The Boston Globe.

Getting After Hours tickets:

Box Office: 617 278 5156
You can also purchase tickets online through the Gardner Museum website.

Tickets on sale at the door, subject to availability.

Do you remember us?

25 06 2009

While Before & After has always reflected the intriguing, unique and general awesome happenings at After Hours, we admit that we don’t always update it. Our bad,  BUT we’ve gone back to the drawing board and we’re coming at you with new-found commitment and resolve, devoted to making this blog a one-stop shop for all things AH related, plus some. That being said, we are happy to announce that After Hours will be continuing through the summer! We aren’t quite sure why we stopped in June last year (something about people being away on vacation?) Anyway, we’ll be here all summer and hope you’ll join us on those nights!

A look at what’s in store:

July 16: “Legends”

Get groovy as Soul Clap spins from the Courtyard all night long–summer-style. http://www.soulclap.us/

AND, join us for game time with True or False: See how well you know the Gardner, what’s myth, what’s reality? Did Gardner really walk lions down the street?

August 20: “Summer Night”

We’re celebrating summer and our new exhibition Su-Mei Tse: Floating Memories tonight! Courtyard Music, gallery talks on the exhibition, sketching and more.

And, if all of that isn’t enough to entice you, the outside gardens will be open as well (weather dependent). Take your drink outside and chill, Gardner style.

Lilly O’Flaherty is the fabulous After Hours Social Director (um yes, that’s her official job title!) at the Gardner Museum. A quirky brainiac style-maven , Lilly is editor-in-chief of Lux magazine (produced by UMASS Boston) and just started Dearborne – a clothing design studio that explores the psychology and transformative power of fashion. Not sure what to wear to the next After Hours? You can reach her at loflaherty@isgm.org

The circus comes to the Gardner

6 02 2009

Peter Bufano, far right, with members of Cirkestra

Peter Bufano, far right, with members of Cirkestra

Venice is our inspiration for Gardner After Hours this month and it’s time to celebrate Carnevale di Venezia! In that spirit, we’re bringing you a performance by CIRKESTRA, an ensemble made up of the best circus musicians in America that plays an eclectic mix of gypsy, jazz, tango, klezmer, and the ultimately creepy circus waltz.

The Gardner’s Brittany Duncan sat down with Peter Bufano, former circus clown/bandleader/accordionist, to talk about Cirkestra, circus music, and more!

Brittany Duncan: A lot of kids dream of running away to join the circus, but you actually did. How did you get started in the circus?

Peter Bufano: I was born in Bridgeport, CT, the home of P.T. Barnum and the Barnum Museum. My parents took me to the Ringling Brothers circus each year, but they were not circus people or performers of any sort.

My parents really just thought of me as another one of those kids who dreamed about running away with the circus. For my part, no one ever told me that I had to face reality at some point and find something “realistic” to do.

In 1986 I was accepted to Clown College. I was 17 years old.

BD: When and why did you decide to form Cirkestra?

PB: After a performance with the Bindlestiff Family Cirkus in late 2004, Jeff Jenkins, a classmate from Clown College, asked me, “Do you want to do a score for a small European Style bigtop tour this summer?”

That’s when I formed Cirkestra. I told my girlfriend at the time that I wanted to name the band something that could convey a “Circus Orchestra.” She said: “Cirkestra.”

BD: What do you think it is about circus music that people respond to?

PB: In the circus the emotion comes from the music. It works on the audience subconsciously. A circus bandleader is like OZ: “Pay no mind to the man behind the screen.”

BD: How do you think audiences experience your music differently without the visual element of the circus performance?

PB: When started presenting our circus music without the circus, I thought, “This will be cool, because we’ll be able to showcase what we do without being upstaged by the giraffes and acrobats.” Ironically people always come up to me after the show and say, “I can see the giraffes and acrobats in my imagination.”

BD: How do you go about writing a piece of music for a particular circus act?

PB: I watch the act during rehearsal and try to imagine what my music can add to it that’s not already there. I try to get the character or the performer in there so that the music will sound like the person who is performing.

BD: Do you still perform with circuses?

PB: This spring we’re working with Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Dobson, the drummer, is playing with The Big Apple Circus this. I don’t know when the next time I’ll go out on the road for a few years at a time, if ever, but I guess people will always call me a circus musician.

BD: Tell me a little more about the other four performers who will be joining you for the concert on the 19th.

PB: Käthe Hostetter is the violinist. I have a note I wrote to myself about 4 years ago of “5 year goals” and number one was “play as good as Käthe”. Two years ago, we were on tour with Circus Smirkus, and Käthe found a barber chair in the trash and dragged it from town to town for the rest of the tour. In each town, in the back lot, near the trailers, you could see this out-of-place barber chair out in the field, sometimes with her sitting in it reading a book.

Mike Dobson is the drummer. The thing that really sets him apart is how sensitive he is to melody and phrasing. He is the antithesis of a drum machine. He joined us on Circus Smirkus in 2005. He turned me on to Kanye West.

Sammy Lett (Saxophone, clarinet, flute) was introduced to me by his wife who used to play saxophone in the band. He’s very creative at improvising. Sammy never runs out of ideas, I’m trying to learn how he does it.

Mike Milnarik is a tuba player who just started with Cirkestra. We found him on the internet and he’s never played with a circus, but he’s going to this spring for the first time.

BD: What Cirkestra is up to next?

PB: Keep an eye out for the documentary “Circus Dreams.” We created the soundtrack and we’re releasing it on CD as soon as the movie is released on cable TV.

Cirkestra plays at 7PM on Thursday, February 19th in the Gardner’s Tapestry Room. Intrigued? Buy tickets here! <link to: http://www.museumtix.com/ticket/ord_eventcat.asp?pvt=isgm&vid=759&pid=2521679&eid=2899813&otd=&evd=02-19-2009&evt=0700PM&gt;

Some Kind of Blue — from the museum archives

14 01 2009

bardini-blue-paint-sample-sm2By 1900, as Fenway Court slowly emerged along the Emerald Necklace, Isabella Gardner obtained a charter to form a museum corporation “for the purpose of art education, especially by the public exhibition of works of art.” She thought carefully about the placement of her collection from the very beginning of the construction process, marking the galleries on the architectural plans with the names of paintings and specific architectural elements. Arrangement of the galleries had to include a suitable backdrop on which to display her works of art and Gardner had very specific ideas for wall color. In March 1900 she wrote to art dealer Bernard Berenson, asking “…will you please some day, get on a piece of paper the blue colour that Bardini has on his walls. I want the exact tint. Perhaps some little person can paint it on a piece of paper.”

Stefano Bardini was a popular 19th century art dealer based in Florence, Italy, offering furniture, paintings and sculpture to buyers such as architect Stanford White and the Louvre Museum. Gardner purchased objects and furniture from Bardini and seems to have admired his own particular approach for displaying his collection which included sculptures by the della Robbia brothers and 15th century polychrome stuccoes. Bardini chose several shades of blue for his rooms, which inspired visitors to call his house – now a museum – the “Blue Museum.”*

Gardner wrote again to Berenson later in the year, “…When you get there (you are there) please do get me a piece of paper painted with the blue of Bardini’s walls. You know you promised me before. I am working hard over my new house.” Berenson writes back right away:

“I was most sincerely pleased to hear from you , after so long a silence – even tho’ you mildly scolded me for not having gotten you a sample of Bardini’s blue. The truth is that when you wrote about it last year, I saw Bardini about it directly. He solemnly assured me he would send it [to] you in a day or two….This time I went down and approached him. He was profuse in apologies, and to make sure that now you really got it, I told him to give it to me. I enclose it, the sample, and with it, the receipt for preparing it…” Here you see the original recipe and paint sample received by Gardner.

She was unrelenting in her pursuit of the right color, wondering if the paint chip was the correct color. “Did you compare them [the paint chip and wall]? In case you have not, will you kindly do so. I enclose a piece. The important [thing] is to get the tint exactly…”
Berenson assured Gardner that the color was the exact shade on Bardini’s walls and, to this day, the museum has continued to follow a similar formula (with the help of Benjamin Moore), in keeping with Gardner’s intent. Take a look at the wall treatments as you pass through the galleries…how do they suit the works of art displayed within each room?

*The Bardini Museum will reopen in March after being closed for a decade.