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The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum’s Artist-In-Residence Program is one of the oldest in the country, arguably beginning in the early days of the Museum when Gardner’s friend John Singer Sargent stayed in an apartment on the ground floor, using a room on the third floor as a studio. In 1992, the Museum began inviting artists to once again stay on the premises and respond to the collection, offering fresh perspectives on Gardner’s creation. This book reflects on the AIR Program from its inception until today, revealing the surprising insights and discoveries that arise when contemporary artists are given space and time to research and develop new work in an extraordinary setting.
For this project it was important to bring the deep history of the Museum as well as give voice to the contemporary artists who have spent their Artist-In-Residence Program at the museum over the past 25 years.
This book is designed throughout to give a voice to the contemporary artists who have spent time in the Museum, as well as give light to Isabella Stewart Gardner's incredibly modern vision for her time. This book combines the history of the past and clarity of the contemporary. Every aspect of this dense book has been designed with these contrasts in mind from the weight and texture of the paper, the typography, the bold colors, the layout of the images, and the cut size. We wanted to create a history of the artists who have spent time and discovered in this special place, which is for the most part hidden form the public.