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‘Retooled’ reinvents tools as artwork at the Bruce

September 20, 2018

GREENWICH — The whimsical new exhibit at the Bruce Museum will offer something to satsify art lovers and gearheads alike.

“ReTooled: Highlights from the Hechinger Collection,” which opens Saturday and runs through Dec. 30 in the Love Gallery, features more than 40 paintings, sculptures, photographs and sketches that celebrate the prevalence of tools in our lives — both as utilitarian objects and as imaginative flights of fancy.

“I think it’s going to be fun,” said museum Executive Director Peter Sutton. “It’s not only beautiful, but, in many ways, whimsical and satirical.”

It highlights works by several major artists, including Fernand Léger, Claes Oldenburg, Berenice Abbott, Jacob Lawrence and Walker Evans.

The collection was put together in the 1980s by John Hechinger, who owned a chain of hardware stores in the mid-Atlantic states and who is often credited with morphing the neighborhood hardware store into the do-it-yourself home improvement business of today.

He began collecting tool-inspired art to decorate his company headquarters.

A series of lectures and films will run throughout the fall to complement the program, including:

* Art Lecture: Tools as Art from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 4: Sarah Tanguy, former curator of Tools as Art: The Hechinger Collection, explores how she and John Hechinger Sr. developed this collection with a broad, intergenerational appeal into a unique time capsule that traces the use of tools as a hallmark of civilization and a source of artistic creativity. Registration required. Bruce members and students with ID free; nonmembers $15.

* Monday Morning Lecture Series from 10 to 11 a.m. Oct: Claes Oldenburg’s Pop Monuments to the Tool. Antonia Pocock, doctoral candidate at NYU’s Institute of Fine Arts, will explore the tool as a Pop motif, addressing its role in Oldenburg’s work in comparison to that of his peers. Registration required. Bruce members and students (with ID) free; nonmembers $10 (includes museum admission).

* Art Lecture from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 18: Workman’s Comp: Jim Dine and Hardware. Lecturer Susan Tallman is editor-in-chief of the journal Art in Print and author of The Contemporary Print: from Pre-Pop to Postmodern. Registration required. Bruce Museum members and students with ID, free; nonmembers $15.

* ReTooled Film Series from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Nov. 7: “Jacob Lawrence: The Glory of Expression.” A few years before his death in 2000, painter Jacob Lawrence opened his studio to documentary filmmaker Linda Freeman. Registration required. Films are free for all, but do not include museum admission.

* ReTooled Film Series from 10:30 a.m. to noon Nov. 14: “Paradise Garden.” Folk artist and preacher Howard Finster created paintings, mixed-media assemblages, and “environments” that merged his religious beliefs with pop-culture and personal imagery. Registration required. Films are free for all, but do not include museum admission.

* Art Lecture from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 28: ReTooled. David Furchgott, president and founder of International Arts & Artists, will discuss the acquisition and management of the Hechinger Collection. Registration required. Museum members and students with ID free; nonmembers $15.

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