Art of the Month Club: Sara Farrell Okamura

The Williams College Museum of Art is excited to introduce a new regular feature to our blog, the Art of the Month Club. Each month we invite someone special to write about a work from our collection. We look forward to engaging with a variety of people through this new feature. Find your own favorite WCMA artwork by searching our collection database. You never know, we may invite you to be the next Art of the Month Club member. Today, please welcome,  Sara Farrell Okamura, artist and school & teacher program manager at the Berkshire Museum.

Louise Bourgeois Eyes 

It has been 11 years since Louise Bourgeois’s Eyes, were installed as a gateway into the Williams College Museum of Art.  Its undulating magic carpet of verdant lawn and burnished bronze bobbing eyeballs with extended phallic pupils has served as a touchstone for discourse, both negative and positive, a playground, a landmark, and a memory.  In other words, it belongs to the entire Williams College community, students, alums, staff, visitors, and neighbors.

KidsTour at Front of WCMA, Eyes (nine elements), 2001, by Louise Bourgeois_Photo by ArthurEvans

Front of WCMA, featuring Eyes (nine elements), 2001, by Louise Bourgeois_Photo by A.BlakeGardner

At night, Eyes, some of which also serve as uncomfortable benches, shoot blue rays into the staid, sometimes austere small town that otherwise is void of neon or anything resembling it.  Bourgeois’s piece is an environmental work changing with each season whether it is golden and crimson leaves carpeting the camel humps of landscape or an ice blue alien-like terrain of snow.  It is also a statement by a woman who was never daunted by gender, subject or age.  Louise Bourgeois was in her early 90’s when she created this public art.

Front of WCMA in winter, featuring Eyes (nine elements), 2001, by Louise Bourgeois_Photo by A.BlakeGardner

Museums are civic institutions created for the common good.  In 2012 these institutions are overflowing vessels containing the raw and the refined residue of our evolution.  We who work in these institutions, in whatever capacity, can choose to take a path towards creating a living organism that is fed by a global creative community and an actively participatory audience or we can become wardens of buried treasures.

KidsTour at WCMA, Eyes (nine elements), 2001, by Louise Bourgeois_Photo by ElizabethLeitzell

WCMA, through Bourgeois’s Eyes, has thrown a welcome mat out onto its front lawn.  Thanks to Eyes, part of the Museum’s collection is available for all, 24/7.   This is a start to engaging and involving a larger community.  It is a step beyond stewardship to engagement; it is a step towards the future. It is truly public art.

Sara Farrell Okamura
School & Teacher Program Manager, Berkshire Museum


Above images:

Front of WCMA, featuring Eyes (nine elements), 2001, by Louise Bourgeois. Commissioned on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the museum with funds from the Museum Fellows, friends, and museum endowments © Williams College Museum of Art.

Photos by Arthur Evans, A. Blake Gardner, and Elizabeth Leitzell.




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