“Penelope Awaiting Her Chamberlain” rolls in to Auburn

Drivers of large trucks may know all too well that finding the right parking spot can sometimes be an adventure. Imagine positioning an antique truck measuring more than 11 feet high by 25 feet long, weighing in at an estimated 12, 000 pounds.

That is the task for the staff of Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, as they begin preparations this month for the upcoming exhibition, “John Himmelfarb: TRUCKS.”

Penelope Awaiting Her Chamberlain is an outdoor sculpture created from a 1946 Chevrolet farm truck and found objects. “This artwork is part of John Himmelfarb’s exhibition and reflects our ongoing interest in outdoor sculpture on the museum’s grounds,” said Marilyn Laufer, director.

This first piece of artwork arrived by tractor trailer at the museum. The driver unloaded his carry and drove the truck to the installation spot on the museum grounds.

In addition to sculpture, the Chicago-based artist depicts the truck in paintings, drawings, and prints. His artwork is found in the permanent collections of the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia, the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art in Washington, DC, and Auburn’s Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art.

When asked about his subject matter choice, Himmelfarb noted, “Does anyone ask the artist of still lifes, ‘Why apples?’ Now, I turn the ‘why trucks?’ question around and ask: What do you think about when you see these works?” The artist went on to say his aim in doing so was to encourage the personal discovery that comes from experiencing fine art.

The early installation of Penelope Awaiting Her Chamberlain on the museum grounds is a sneak preview of what you will see when the exhibition opens inside the museum on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015.  The exhibition will continue through Sunday, May 10, 2015.

Climbing the sculpture is strictly prohibited. Visitors to the museum are encouraged to take photographs with the piece and post on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook using the tag, #JCSMTruckStop.  

The museum is open to the public for regular hours through Sunday, Dec. 21. The holiday schedule during the university break is: Friday, Dec. 26 to Saturday, Dec. 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 28 from 1 to 4 p.m., and Friday, Jan. 2 to Saturday Jan. 3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, Jan. 4, from 1 to 4 p.m.

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